I don’t know if you have heard the rumours on the gravevine or seen conversations on social media about Barclays Kenya shutting down its operations in Kenya. In the Daily Nation today there was also a story about the end of an era as Barclays plans to leave Africa after 100 years. My mum was asking what will happen to her shares now that BBK is leaving Kenya. Well shareholders and clients of the bank can relax as Barclays has said that it is not leaving the Kenyan market.
Barclays Bank Kenya has come out to say that the rumours are not true. In a statement, Barclays Bank MD Jeremy Awori said the bank has a clear strategy for the Kenyan business and the bank is not planning to leave the country. Barclays states that it has a strong capital base and liquidity position which means they are able to service the market and deliver value for stakeholders. Barclays Bank of Kenya is part of the Barclays Africa Group that was formed in 2013.
Barclays Bank assures customers that their accounts are and continue to be safe. Their accounts will not be affected in any way. The statement says that the speculation concerns shareholding of Barclays Africa Group and that the shareholding issue does not impact the day to day running of BBK.
Barclays was established in 1916 and has been part of Kenya’s financial landscape for 100 years. They provide personal banking, enterprise banking, credit cards, corporate and banassurance. Barclays Bank is this year is celebrating its centennial celebrations. Just last week they launched the first market Mobile Point of Sale Payment solution which enables customers to pay for their products and services using their debit or credit card on the go. They are also planning to launch their agency banking product next week. This will enable customers’ easier access to their services.
Earlier this month Barclays Bank launched its centennial celebrations. The Bank has had significant impact on the Kenyan economy over the last 100 years. The youth, SME, Innovation and Gender Agenda are its core areas of focus as it goes into its next century. Barclays has had many firsts in the Kenyan market including the following:
- In 1955, Barclays saw a need for Kenyans to be trained on financial matters and became the first bank in Kenya to set up a training school. This school played an important role in capacity development in the financial sector.
- Barclays was the first bank to promote an African to the position of Branch Manager in 1963. This was Mr Peter Nyakiamo.
- Barclays Kenya was also the first bank to promote a woman to the position of supervisor in 1972. This was Agatha Obare.
- In 1977 Barclays promoted Mary Okello to the position of a Branch Manager. Mrs. Okello who went on to start the Makini Schools was the first African woman to become a branch manager.
- Barclays was the first bank to list on the NSE in 1980. This gave 40,000 Kenyans an opportunity to invest in the financial sector. The IPO was oversubscribed and saw the bank sell a stake of 30% to Kenyans.
- Barclays was the first bank to automate its operations in 1990 and introduce ATMS. They also had that interesting ad for the Barclays ATM robot that was our joy to watch as children.
- In 2005, Barclays became the first Conventional bank to launch a Shariah Banking Window with the launch of La Riba.
- In 2014, Barclays became the first listed company to achieve 50-50 gender representation at the board level.
- Barclays got its Bancassurance license in 2015 and launched Barclays Life Assurance Kenya Limited before acquiring First Assurance Limited through Barclays Africa Group Limited.