Absa Group reports growth in earnings; makes progress in digital offerings

Maria Ramos

Absa Group Limited, Barclays Bank Ghana’s parent company, has reported an increase in earnings and income for the first half of 2018 and underscored its commitment to growth in Africa.

Absa Group, previously known as Barclays Africa Group, said headline earnings rose 3% to R8 billion (about US$608 million) in the first half of the year compared with the same period in 2017. Income increased by 3% to R37 billion (about US$2.8 billion).

Absa Group Chief Executive Officer, Maria Ramos, reiterated the group’s ambition to double its share of banking revenues in Africa to 12% and said Absa is making progress on its innovation journey and in becoming a digitally-led bank.

In Kenya, Absa’s local subsidiary (Barclays Bank Kenya) launched Timiza – an app-based personal loans platform – in March this year. Timiza’s customer base has grown to more than two million by 25 July.

Absa launched ChatBanking on WhatsApp banking and Samsung Pay as new propositions for its South Africa retail business this year. Uptake particularly in WhatsApp banking has exceeded expectation with more than 10 000 customers registering for ChatBanking on WhatsApp within the first 20 days of launching in July.

“Our group’s performance reflects our financial strength and commitment to build a forward-looking business group with global scalability that Ghana and the whole of Africa will be proud of” said Mr. Charles Cofie, Board Chairman of Barclays Bank Ghana Limited.

Barclays Bank Ghana is one of the first banks to meet the Central Bank’s new minimum capital requirement without external capital injection. It continues to demonstrate a strong liquidity position and a high capital adequacy ratio of 23.93%, well above the regulatory threshold of 10%. The bank remains a dependable financial partner with a strong financial base, robust governance structure and clear risk management framework.

Barclays Separation

Reporting on its separation from the international Barclays PLC group, Absa said the programme is on track and within budget. As part of the separation, the group will rename its Barclays subsidiaries before mid-2020, as agreed with the international Barclays PLC group, subject to regulatory approvals.

Barclays continues to be an important stakeholder as it continues to own 14.9% of Absa Group.

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