Absa group deputy chief executive officer Peter Matlare says the bank has no plans to list on the Lusaka Stock Exchange (LuSE) as they want everyone to feel part of a regionally listed bank.

And Matlare, who is also Absa regional operations CEO, says the company will continue to have a risk appetite for Zambia, but will not resort to engaging in “risky business”.

“That’s not in our plans at the moment. When you think about it, we have so much to do in building, when you are still building, there is lots of stuff that you want to do, so realistically for us, we are hoping everybody feels part of a regional listed as opposed to having individual listings,” Matlare said in an interview in Lusaka following the unveiling of its first branch at Centro Mall.

Matlare, however, said that the company would continue to have a risk appetite for Zambia.

“But why, why would you be skeptical, you are not an old cynical old man, right? And why do I say that, if we claim as Africans to know our continent, we are more likely to be able to understand those risks, so when you look at Kongola (mobile money credit facility) etc. if you are sitting in Europe or in Norway, do you truly understand what the lady in the market, who needs to sell her goods really needs to do? How she is going to trade-off the cash flow between what happens in the morning and what happens in the evening? We need to understand, I think so. I know we work very hard at it, so that risk appetite is very definite, it’s there. It doesn’t mean we are going to run risky business because then you are going to say we are stupid,” he said.

And the SA-based Absa boss hailed Zambia as a country with great possibilities.

“We have been part of Barclays for more than 12 years, and in 2013, Barclays decided to sell its operations outside South Africa to Absa and we became the Barclays Africa group. So, we have been involved in running these businesses with the teams in countries since 2013, but as Barclays. So, it was a no-brainier that when Plc said, for good reasons, they need to pull, we said we are definitely continuing to run and grow these businesses so it’s been something that is second nature to us; this is a very good business! Zambia is a country with great possibilities, and I am an African boy, right, I believe it is us, we have got to take our destiny into our own hands and should be looking to deliver that,” said Matlare.

Currently, only two commercial banks are listed on the LuSE – Investrust Bank Plc and Standard Chartered Bank Zambia.

Absa Group Limited is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

New Absa bank branches are being rolled out across Zambia ahead of the completion of Barclays Bank Zambia Plc’s full transition process to rebrand as Absa by June, 2020.