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Barclays bank holds reception for top ranking Absa officials | 03 October 2019

Barclays bank holds reception for top ranking Absa officials

Mr Van Wyk addressing guests at the reception

Barclays Bank Seychelles, which is part of the Absa group, has received a visit from its top ranking bosses who are based in South Africa.

These are the interim chief executive of Absa, René Van Wyk, deputy chief executive of Absa, Peter Matlare and the regional managing director, Saviour Chibiya.

Barclays Bank consequently hosted a reception on Monday evening at the Eden Bleu hotel to allow their corporate customers and various stakeholders to meet and engage with the Absa trio.

The Absa group, which was previously known as the Barclays Africa Group, presently operates as Barclays in nine countries across the African continent but as Absa Bank in South Africa.

Due to Barclays PLC reducing its majority shares in the group in 2017, the group has had to rebrand as Absa and its subsidiaries like Barclays Bank Seychelles are posed to rebrand gradually.

The group however remains one of the largest banking groups in Africa with a market capitalisation of over US $12 billion and a balance sheet of more than US $97 billion.

Chairman of Barclays Bank Seychelles, Jean Weeling-Lee, explained that Mr Van Wyk’s visit to the Seychelles is a historical once since “we have never been able to get a group CEO to come down and see how we do things”.

He described Mr Van Wyk as a “people-centric leader” who strongly believes in serving the community and then local Barclays branch is lucky to have the three high ranking leaders in visiting.

“We have had visit from Peter and Saviour before but never the CEO of the group,” Mr Weeling-Lee stated.

“His visit shows that he cares as a leader, that he is focused on the customers as well as his colleagues. If we have colleagues that are happy and know their purpose and who understand that they are recognised, then that would be reflected in the people they serve.”

“I believe that if you want to understand the nuances of a community, that’s how you see, feel and hear in terms of our challenges and what we have been able to roll out successfully,” Mr Weeling-Lee added.

“We have a small team that is being stressed to its limit as the bank transitions from Barclays to Absa. It is not just a change of name and colour, it is a change of platform. We have to shift our platforms away from Barclays PLC London to South Africa and this impacts all our businesses here.”

Mr Weeling-Lee nonetheless remarked that the small Barclays team in Seychelles has the capability to deliver despite all of the challenges.

In his speech for the evening, Mr Van Wyk expressed that the Absa group’s strategy is to move away from being “a massive bureaucracy” as it previously was as the Barclays group since that started affecting their customers.

The reception on Monday evening was one of the strategies being undertaken to get back to their customers and put their customers first.

“Tonight is to thank you and your business and to introduce you to the Absa brand,” Mr Van Wyk said while addressing the audience.

“We can blow all the whistles and make it sound like the biggest thing that ever happened but the brand and the colour is but nothing. It’s the quality of our people and their interaction with you that will make a difference.”

Mr Van Wyk and his delegation also visited and held meetings with the minister for finance, Governor of the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS), its stakeholders and the local Barclays team and staff.

Barclays Seychelles expects to move away from its iconic blue colour by next month and will completely rebrand as Absa in Seychelles before June 2020.

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