Barclays Bank Africa Group Limited has officially changed its name to Absa Africa Group Limited, but the Barclays brand will continue operating under its current name at country-level for the next two years to allow a smooth transitional process.

Barclays Bank Zambia chief executive officer Mizinga Melu told journalists at a press briefing in Lusaka, Wednesday, that the group would let other subsidiaries in nine countries across Africa to finalize the process before effecting the change.

“Today, just to emphasize, we change our band at group level. However, in Zambia we continue with Barclays up to 2020. But it’s not just about Zambia; it’s about the rest of Africa. We are represented in 10 countries outside South Africa. So, we have to make sure that when we change, we do that right across Africa as opposed to Zambia. So, the regulators here in Zambia have been extremely supportive. However, we just need to make sure that other regulators in other countries as well finalize the process that we are talking about. So, in fact most regulators on the continent have been supportive, but it is a process that we are having to go through,” Melu said at the bank’s head office in Lusaka.

She explained that the name change signalled the start of a new era for the Barclays brand.

“The name change signals the start of a new era for the group as a standalone African banking group with deep roots on the continent and more than 100 years of experience in Africa’s banking sector. Absa Group, which plans to open offices in the UK and US, today also launched a new brand design as an expression of its new identity, as a forward-looking bank in a digital era. The group’s new business purpose statement is helping to ‘bring your possibility to life.’ In Zambia, the change means a continuation of the products and services that customers currently use and the opportunity for us to do better for our customers and clients in the future,” Melu added.

“Barclays Bank Zambia will be renamed at a later stage, subject to regulatory and other approvals in Zambia. Right now, we will continue to trade and operate under the Barclays brand in Zambia even though our parent name has changed to Absa Group Limited. We are excited about the opportunity that this change brings as part of our journey towards becoming a truly transformative bank that is modern, fast-thinking and relevant for future. While our parent name has changed today, our clients and customers can continue to bank with us as confidently as they always have. We are here to stay, working with all our stakeholders to grow a better Zambia. We remain committed to delivering mutual benefits to our shareholders, customers, communities and our country. Absa Group started trading under its new name and new share code (ABG) on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) today as it continues the process of separating from Barclays PLC. The group name and brand change sets in motion one of Africa’s largest rebranding programmes as eventually all Absa and Barclays ATMs, forms, branches, stationery, platforms and other assets across 12 countries will be updated with the new Absa brand design.”

Melu said the familiar product and service functionality associated with Barclays Bank Zambia would equally remain unchanged.

“Product and service functionality will not be affected by the rebranding programme. Absa was chosen as the future brand after wide consultation with employees and stakeholders across the group’s operations over a period of about a year. Existing brand value in the group, the risk of introducing a new name and cost were among the elements considered in deciding the future brand,” said Melu, adding that the bank would carry out sensitization campaigns to educate the public on the changes associated with the name change.

“At group level the change is there, but in Zambia it has not changed. So, we continue to be Barclays, but our customers have to understand,” said Melu.