Barclays CEO reassures depositors over Africa exit

Barclays Bank Monday moved to assure customers that its Kenyan operations will not be affected by the planned Africa exit of UK-based holding company Barclays PLC.

Monday February 29 2016

By BRIAN NGUGI
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Barclays Bank on Monday moved to assure customers that its Kenyan operations will not be affected by the planned Africa exit of UK-based holding company Barclays PLC.

Barclays PLC's plan to offload its 62.3 per cent stake in Barclays Africa, which in-turn has a controlling stake in Barclays Kenya, has raised confusion and fears of a possible run on the bank’s deposits.

“The first and most important is that Barclays Bank of Kenya is not shutting down. I reiterate Barclays Bank of Kenya is not shutting down,” said Barclays Kenya chief executive Jeremy Awori in a move to iron out customer jitters over the future of the bank.

READ: End of an era as Barclays plc plans Africa exit

Also read: Barclays to increase its business with focus on SMEs

“Secondly your accounts are and continue to be safe and are not impacted in any way by these speculations. I assure you that your money is safe with us and you should not be concerned about the operation of your account. We remain, as always, at your service,” the CEO said in a statement.

The exit is based on Africa’s lower than expected contribution to the bank's return on equity, the Financial Times reported. The sale is also seen as bolstering Barclays’s core capital and calming regulatory fears even as the bank seeks to focus on the UK and US markets.

The move is, however, not immediate given the lack of ready buyers and the difficulty of offloading the huge Africa operations in a single deal.

“In doing so, we put the future of this organisation firmly in our own hands,” Ms Maria Ramos Barclays Africa CEO said.

Barclays Africa is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

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