BY PORTIA NKANI
While South African media reports are awash with reports that atleast 827 jobs are potentially at risk at the neighbouring country’s Absa Group Limited, the same cannot be said about its local unit ÔÇô Barclays Bank Botswana.
According to Absa regional operations Chief Executive – Peter Matlare the bank is not anticipating to cut any jobs in Botswana as a result of recent corporate structure changes at group level.
Absa Group is said to be restructuring its South African retail and business banking unit within months of reducing the division’s management team and rolling out a new strategy.
“We do not anticipate any job losses in Botswana as a direct result of the Group’s on-going strategy, we remain a solid and a liquid business”, Matlare said from the bank’s head office in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Matlare said that the group is pleased generally with the contribution of its African operations, including Barclays Bank of Botswana, to its overall performance.
He however admitted that globally the banking sector is becoming more and more competitive particularly in innovation and technology. With such development, Matlare indicated that Botswana as part of the Group will leverage on the product offering at Group level and “you can also expect WatsApp banking in the not so distant future.”
Regarded as one of Africa’s largest financial services providers – Absa Group Limited reported an increase in revenue and earnings for 2018.
The results released this week had shown that, normalised headline earnings increased 3 percent to R16.1 billion compared with 2017 and revenue increased 4 percent to R75.7 billion.
Shareholders have something to smile about in their savings as they will receive a final dividend of R11.10 per share, a 4 percent increase from the final 2017 dividend. These earnings are considered the best measure of underlying group performance as it strips out the distorting effect of items related to the separation from Barclays Plc.
Absa Group Financial Director, Jason Quinn over a teleconference call with the regional media including Botswana media this week, said, “Despite a challenging backdrop, we are particularly pleased with our improved momentum as we embark on our new growth strategy. This was evident in our gross loans to customers which increased by 13 percent.”
It also came to light this week that, the Group has regained some market share in SA’s retail banking segment, helping the group to lift both revenues and profits in the year ended December.
South African retail being its largest business- lending momentum outpaced the market showing good new business growth across home loans, vehicle and asset finance and personal loans.
The Group also gained market share in deposits which grew by 11 percent with strong growth in fixed and notice deposits.