Barclays bank to close Africa operations
After registering an annual loss of a staggering $550 m, Barclays bank has confirmed its three-year plan to sell its Africa shares shedding about 4000 jobs across the continent.
The development means the bank’s more than a century presence in Africa is finally coming to a “very difficult” end, according to Barclays CEO, Jes Staley.
“The reality is, in this new regulatory environment, we carry 100% of the liabilities, but we only own 62% of Barclays Africa,” Mr. Staley told the BBC Tuesday.
He added that despite the bank’s tremendous success in some countries, Barclay’s losses overall and had forced management to revamp the bank’s way of doing business.
“You go to places like Uganda and Kenya and the brand of Barclays is as strong there as it is in the UK,” Barclay’s head said adding “But we have to make some very difficult decisions if we are going to get Barclays into focused, clear, compelling business model that generates returns for our shareholders.”
Potential restructuring notwithstanding, Barclays Africa Group has assured its clientele not to panic.
“With an independent board and a separate listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange we are deeply rooted in Africa and remain firmly in control of our future,” Maria Ramos, the group’s CEO said Monday.
The bank’s branch in Kenya has also moved to calm customers, “Barclays Bank of Kenya is not shutting down. I reiterate, Barclays Bank of Kenya is not shutting down and there are no plans at Local, Regional or Group level to shut down our operations here any decisions concerning the operations of Barclays Kenya can only be made by Barclays Africa Group Limited in consultation with other investors who are shareholders in this business,” Barclays Kenya head, Jeremy Awori said.
Barclays PLC has a 62.3 percent stake in Barclays Africa.
Barclays’ withdrawal from Africa is designed to enable to focus on its two main profitable branches; UK and the US.
In the last few years, the bank has faced legal challenges and scandals at the management level, and its hiring practices in Asia are being investigated by US authorities.