Absa Bank Kenya PLC has today marked the official change of its stock ticker to Absa from BBK, marking the successful conclusion of the transition from Barclays Bank of Kenya to Absa Bank Kenya PLC.
The milestone also follows the lifting of suspension on trading in the bank’s shares at the NSE last week to allow for the change of name.
The change of name follows a 2018 decision by the parent company, Absa Group Limited, to rebrand all its operations across the continent to Absa. This followed a decision by Barclays Plc to reduce its majority shareholding in Barclays Africa Group (the former parent company) to 14.9% and the subsequent renaming of Barclays Africa Group to Absa Group Limited.
Speaking during the bell-ringing event at the NSE, Absa Bank Kenya chairman of the board Mr. Charles Muchene reassured minority shareholders that the shareholding structure will not be affected in any way even with the change of name. “I would like to assure all our shareholders that their investment in our business is sound and they can look forward to even better returns as we continue to execute our strategy. We are excited about what the future holds and the chance to continue working work with the people of Kenya to achieve shared success and bring new possibilities to life.”
The event was also graced by the Absa Group Chief Executive Officer Mr. Daniel Mminele as well as the Group’s Deputy CEO Mr. Peter Matlare and various representatives from the NSE, the Capital Markets Authority, the Central Depository, and Settlement Corporation and a host of other capital markets stakeholders.
On his part, Mr. Mminele reassured the group’s long-term commitment to Kenya noting that the group will continue to invest and to grow in this market.
“I want to convey my thanks to the Kenyan people and to our customers and clients for the warm reception we have continued to experience since the brand name change was announced early in 2018. It was after extensive consultations across the continent that the Absa Board took a decision to operate under the Absa brand across the continent,” he explained.
Absa Bank Kenya PLC Managing Director Jeremy Awori said the organization has a solid strategy in place which is designed to deliver growth for the business by growing with its customers.
“As I look into the future, I am filled with excitement and optimism. We will continue to execute this strategy in order to deliver great returns for our shareholders and play our rightful role in the Kenyan economy,” said Mr. Awori.
Reiterating their remarks, the Nairobi Securities Exchange Chief Executive, Mr. Geoffrey Odundo exuded confidence in the growth prospects and potential for enhanced returns for Absa Bank Kenya PLC following the transition. “ I am delighted that the change offers investors an opportunity to be part of a leading financial services Group with a deep understanding of the continents’ financial needs, an extensive reach and a wide country footprint.”
“The NSE is delighted to have ABSA Kenya Plc as one of our actively traded listed companies, and look forward to being part of their growth journey as they use the capital markets to deliver on their strategy,” Mr. Odundo said.
Absa Bank Kenya PLC new strategy is driven by four strategic priorities that include: Building a customer-obsessed digitally-enabled bank, strongly growing, diversifying and transforming retail and business banking, becoming a Force for Good in society and transforming into an inspirational, fun and vibrant place to work and lastly, building a powerhouse institutional Bank
Mr. Awori further reaffirmed that the bank would remain a significant player in the banking and financial services sector in Kenya and a contributor to Kenya’s economy.
“As Absa, our ambition is to become a digitally-led bank that is centered around the ever-changing needs of customers. We believe we have a role to play and intend to leverage digital technology to expand reach and access of financial services but also provide affordable services,” Mr. Awori said.
As part of this change, the bank has upgraded some of its technology infrastructures and will be rolling out various exciting propositions under the Absa brand. Two weeks ago, the bank introduced the first-ever vertical cards in Kenya which come with additional security features and enhanced rewards for our customers.
Also planned for launch is the Absa ChatBot, a virtual assistant that allows customers to get answers to frequently asked banking questions via WhatsApp. For the SME sector, the bank will launch the MySMETool that enables business owners to perform important functions like planning and cashflow management online.
Additionally, the bank has introduced a revamped Absa Mobile Banking app which, apart from permitting customers to pay bills, transact and buy airtime, will enable them to use their fingerprint or facial recognition to unlock and gain access.
Under the Absa brand, the bank has also reviewed and repositioned its product offerings to give customers more value. For instance, the bank has:
“As we enter a new era, you can expect to see the energy and the vibrancy of the new Absa brand taking us to new levels. Our customers can expect to experience a more forward-looking, digitally-led bank that is committed to offering world-class service,” Mr. Awori added.