Barclays Bank Ghana will officially and legally change its name to Absa Bank Ghana on 10 February 2020. This is in line with the parent company, Absa Group Limited’s decision to rebrand all its operations to Absa, as announced in July 2018.
Here is what Barclays Bank Ghana customers and indeed the general public need to know about the name change.
- Who is Absa?
Absa Group Limited is Barclays Bank Ghana’s parent company, one of Africa’s top three largest banks and top 40 companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. With a strong balance sheet of more than 91 billion dollars (as June 2019), we are one of Africa’s largest diversified financial services groups, offering an integrated set of products and services across personal and business banking, corporate and investment banking, wealth and investment management and insurance. The Group has a presence in 12 African countries and an international representative office in London and soon to open one in New York. We have approximately 40,000 employees, more than 1,000 branches, and nearly 10,000 ATMs.
The Group’s registered head office is in Johannesburg, and it owns majority stakes in banks in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa (Absa Bank), Tanzania (Barclays Bank Tanzania and National Bank of Commerce), Uganda and Zambia. Apart from offices in London and New York, the Group also has representative offices in Namibia and Nigeria, as well as insurance operations in Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia.
The new Absa brand (which Barclays Bank Ghana will adopt on 10 February 2020 represents a uniquely diverse African banking group whose purpose is to bring possibility to life.
- Is this the same as Barclays?
We are still called Barclays for now, but will officially change our name to Absa Bank Ghana in February 2020. All our services and products work as they always have throughout this process, and our dedication to you remains the same.
- What does Absa stand for?
Absa is a proudly African banking group with operations in 12 countries and an international office in London. We have approximately 40,000 employees, more than 1,000 branches and almost 10,000 ATMs across the continent, and offer an integrated set of banking, investment and insurance operations.
- What does the Absa acronym stand for?
The word Absa is not an acronym but rather a brand name that signifies a proudly diverse African backing group with operations in 12 countries, plus an international office in London and soon to also have one in New York. We have approximately 40,000 employees, more than 1,000 branches, and nearly 10,000 ATMs.
The original ABSA began as the amalgamation of several banks and was first registered as the Amalgamated Banks of South Africa, abbreviated as ABSA, back in 1991. The abbreviation was dropped and the company registered simply as Absa more than ten years ago. Today, the News Absa is proudly diverse African banking brand, reflective of the diversity of all our operations.
Each of our banks is rooted in local culture and indelibly committed to serving the needs of our local customers and communities. Together we represent a proudly independent African banking group with global reach.
Journey to Absa
- Why are you changing?
While Barclays plc continues to have a significant stake of 14.9% in our parent company, Absa Group, it’s no longer our majority shareholder and we’ve begun to separate our operations in Africa from those of Barclays plc. This change gave us the opportunity to roll out a new brand that reflects our uniquely African identity and unite the business in Africa behind a single brand and purpose. We are on our way to embracing our ambition of becoming an independent pan African bank, under a new name: Absa.
- Why the colour change?
We are rolling out a new brand that reflects our uniquely African identity, and our new shades of colours has been inspired by the continent. We chose vibrant colours to represent Absa because they are passionate and proud, and inspired by those colours woven through our African land and skies.
- Why did you decide on this look?
Our transition has given us the opportunity to roll out a new brand that reflects our uniquely African identity, and unite all Absa-owned companies across the continent behind a single brand and purpose. We chose a vibrant red colours to represent the brand because it’s passionate and proud, and inspired by the colour woven through our African land and skies.
- Is Barclays PLC still involved in any way?
Although Barclays PLC is no longer a majority shareholder, they continue to have a significant shareholding in our parent company, Absa Group Limited.
- Is there a chance that Absa Bank Ghana will be listed on our stock exchange in the future?
At the moment, our company’s priority is to successfully complete our name change to Absa Bank. We’re currently not considering a local listing. However we will continue to remain a systemically significant bank contributing to the economic growth of Ghana as we have always done.
- What is Absa Group’s shareholding percent following Barclay’s PLC’s shares sell-down?
Barclays plc remains the largest shareholder with a 14.9% stake in our parent company, Absa Group, although it is not our controlling shareholder. The remaining is held by many other institutional investors across the globe. If you’d like to know more about our shareholders, please visit: www.absa.africa/absaafrica/investor-relations/shareholders
- Why did Barclays leave Ghana?
Barclays plc remains the largest shareholder with a 14.9% stake in our parent company, Absa Group, although it is not our controlling shareholder.
After the 2008 global financial crisis, UK regulators introduced new rules that had far-reaching effects on the banks. One of the consequences was that it became less attractive for global banks such as Barclays plc to own majority stakes in banks abroad. As a controlling shareholder, Barclays plc carried 100 per cent of the financial responsibility and risk, but received only 62 per cent of the benefits (as per its sharing holding percentage).
- Is this a merger or a takeover?
This is a change of name for our company. Following the reduction in shares by Barclays PLC (UK) in Barclays Africa Group, our parent company officially changed its name to Absa Group Limited. We are officially adopting our parent company Absa Group’s name and brand. We are officially changing our name to Absa Bank Ghana and under our new name, we have entered a new era as forward looking African bank with global reach.
- Will the Barclays branding be completely gone after the name change to Absa?
Given the operational complexity of our name change, there will be a short period of time where the blue of Barclays and the red of Absa will co-exist. We have until mid-2020 to fully transition to the Absa brand, but we expect to accomplish this long before this deadline.
- Why did you decide on Absa as the new brand?
We know how important a decision like this is, and, before coming to any conclusions, we consulted widely with over 130,000 employees, customers, regulators and other stakeholders across the continent. The outcome of these discussions was that we needed one brand to unite all our operations across Africa. The Absa brand was already part of our Group. It was well-established and well-known in parts of Africa, and has strong African and international banking credentials.
- Is this a South African bank taking over a formerly British bank?
This is an African bank with deep roots and presence in Africa. We have been part of this family since 2013 when the Group was created. This is just a name change due to change in shareholding of our Group. We have taken on a new name: Absa, and we have entered a new era as forward looking African bank with global reach to serve both our local and international clients.
- Can I have the same confidence in this new brand as I had in Barclays?
As we evolve into Absa Bank, we are not only building on a heritage of over 100 years of banking in Ghana, but we are also joining one of Africa’s top three largest banks, with a strong balance sheet of more than 91 billion dollars.
Absa Group Limited is committed to building on Barclays’ heritage in Africa and the strengths that we already have on the continent. We have a deep history and local knowledge in Ghana. Our main products, services and commitment to you haven’t changed. You can look forward to even more from us. Our customers can bank with us as confidently as they always have.
- Will my money be safe with this bank?
You can bank with us as safely as you always have. Absa Group Limited is one of the largest banking groups in Africa, with a balance sheet size of more than USD 91 billion (as at 30 June 2019). In Ghana, we were one of the first banks to meet the Central Bank’s new capital requirement, through internally generated funds. We have also been the most profitable bank for the past 3 years and our strong performance as well as contribution to the economy and banking sector has been recognised both locally and internationally.
Journey to Absa – Product and Service related changes
- What will change after the name change?
|What will change||What will not change|
|Product names that reference Barclays will change. These will be replaced by Absa (e.g. Barclays Direct Loan will change to Absa Direct Loan).
|No change to customer account details.|
|Customers’ underlying information will remain unchanged, but their account statements may look a little different (e.g. Barclays references will be replaced with Absa references).
|No fee changes associated with the name change.|
|Frontline branch colleagues will wear our new Absa uniform.||No need to re-contract on existing agreements, terms and conditions.
|No impact on the privacy of customer information.
|Our branches will operate as usual during our normal banking hours.|
|Our country SWIFT code – BARCGHAC, address, telephone and fax numbers will remain the same.|
|All new cards issued from 10 February 2020 will be under the Absa brand.
|Barclays cards will continue to work as normal until their date of expiry.|
|We encourage customers to visit our branches and pick up their new Absa Debit & Credit Cards from the 10th of February.||Both Barclays and Absa cards will continue to work in ATMs, point-of-sale (POS) terminals and online, as usual.|
|All new chequebooks from 10 February 2020 will be issued under the Absa brand.
Customers can use their Barclays cheque book until 10 August 2020. After that, only cheques drawn on us with an Absa cheque book will be accepted
We encourage customers to visit our branches and pick up to request for their new Absa Cheque book from the 10th of February.
|Barclays Cheque books will be valid for 6 months after our official name change in February. Customers can therefore continue to use their Barclays cheque book until 10 August 2020. After that, only cheques drawn on us with an Absa cheque book will be accepted.
|The look and feel of ATMs, internet banking, mobile apps will change, but they will continue to work as normal. Your online banking credentials will remain the same.
|You will have the opportunity to download our new apps in due course.|
|Your online banking credentials will remain the same.|
|For more information, go to gh.barclaysafrica/journeytoAbsa.|
|Employee email addresses have changed to ………@absa.africa (e.g. Kwesi.Adotey@absa.africa)
|All phone numbers remain unchanged|
- What do these changes mean for me as a customer? Do I need to do anything?
You do not need to do anything as a result of the changes you’re seeing. Your products and services will not be impacted by our name change. You can look forward to a new, refreshed banking experience with us once we’ve changed to the Absa name.
- Will you be issuing new chequebooks?
All chequebooks issued after our name change will have the Absa brand identity.
You can use your Barclays cheque book until August 2020, after which only cheques drawn on from an Absa cheque book will be accepted.
- Will you be issuing new cards?
All new cards issued from 10 February 2020 onwards will bear the Absa brand. Barclays-branded cards will continue to be valid until they expire, at which point we will replace this card with an Absa-branded card.
We encourage customers to visit our branches and pick up their new Absa Debit & Credit Cards from the 10th of February.
- Will there be staff changes? Will I be dealing with the same tellers/branch manager?
Our people are our strength and they will continue to serve with a greater focus you the customer. Nothing will change in how we serve you on a daily basis, so you can bank with us as confidently as you always have.
- You will need to invest significant resources in the rebranding exercise. Will I be paying for this?
The cost of implementing and communicating this rebranding has been carefully planned. The cost will be paid by our company, and will not be passed on to you now or in the future.
- Will these changes affect products and services?
No, our name change will not directly affect your existing products or services. In fact, you can look forward to new and innovative products and services.
- Will my card/account, etc. still work?
Your account and cards will continue to work as they always have. The process of changing Barclays Bank Ghana to Absa does not affect the functionality of products or services.
- Will my banking app still work?
Your Barclays branded banking app will work until the name change date after which you will need to download our new Absa branded banking app from your Google Play store or Apple App store.
- Can I still use my Barclays-branded card in the ATM and at branches and points-of-sale?
Yes, you can continue to use all your Barclays products and services in the same way as you have in the past.
Once we change our name, all new cards issued from that day onwards will bear the Absa brand. Barclays-branded cards will continue to be valid until they expire, at which point we will replace this card with an Absa-branded card.
We encourage customers to visit our branches and pick up their new Absa Debit & Credit Cards from the 10th of February.
- Will there be any additional transactional charges for using a Barclays-branded card in an Absa ATM or point-of-sale (POS) machine, and vice versa?
There will be no additional bank fees or charges on any of these transactions locally.
- Will I be able to access all my banking services without interruption?
Our transition period is being carefully managed and will align with stakeholder and regulatory requirements to ensure that the changes are as seamless as possible. We are working hard to ensure a smooth transition of all our systems from Barclays to Absa, with minimal interruption to our customers. We apologise in advance should there be any inconvenience to you whatsoever.
- Will I be required to change my account details?
No, you will not be required to change your banking details at any point during our name change. We urge you to be particularly vigilant during this time, as fraudsters are always looking for opportunities to obtain important personal information by masquerading as your bank. They may use any opportunity to ask you to change your details. Such messages do not come from us – your bank account details (including account number and branch code) will not change.
- Is the SWIFT code going to change?
Our SWIFT code [BARCGHAC], address, telephone and fax numbers remain unchanged. From our name change date, all references will be to Absa. You will not be required to do anything as a result of this change.
- Will my bank charges/rates be changing?
Bank charges and rate changes happen from time to time in most banks. Any changes to bank charges or rates will not be a result of our brand transition or change, but will happen as part of our normal course of business.
- Will this affect the current loan agreement I have with Barclays?
There will be no change to your current loan agreement with Barclays. The contracts will not require change now or in the future.
- If I suspect my account has been compromised, who should I call?
If you suspect that your account has been compromised or If your card is lost, stolen, retained or jammed while using a Barclays or Absa ATM, call our Contact Centre on 0302429150 or Toll free: 0800 222 333.
- What must I do if I receive an email or link asking me to provide my account details/information?
We will not be asking customers for any information nor will we need you to update any of your personal account information or details as a result of this change.
Report all such incidents to our Contact Centre on 0302429150 or Toll free: 0800 222 333 or nearest branch.
- Who can I contact for more information?
If you have a specific query or have a question that has not been answered, you can contact our Customer Contact Centre on 0302429150 or Toll free: 0800 222 333, speak to any of our branch staff, or visit gh.barclaysafrica/journeytoAbsa.
- What measures are being put in place to protect customers from fraudulent activities?
We are proactively notifying our customers to be vigilant and careful with their personal information.
We urge customers to be particularly vigilant during this time, as fraudsters are always looking for opportunities to obtain important personal information. We will not be asking customers for any information nor will we need them to update any of their personal account information or details as a result of this change. We have made a concerted effort to ensure that safety and anti-fraud messaging is included in all our communications around our name change
- General Issues – Xenophobic issues
- Questions related to xenophobia
Diversity is a strength that is at the heart of our business. Absa has colleagues and customers from different African countries in all our operations, something of which we are very proud.
As business with a strong diversity and inclusion policies, we will continue to embrace and server people from all nation with respect and in dignity.