Barclays Bank of Kenya #ticker:BBK has hired an additional 463 staff on permanent contracts as it rebrands to Absa, the name of its South Africa-based parent company.
This marks a reversal of years of cutting its workforce, including in 2018 when it spent Sh479 million to let go of 78 employees.
It signals that the company is seeking to fast-track its growth in the market where the recent removal of rate caps is expected to encourage banks to increase their lending.
Besides the 463 new permanent jobs, Barclays has also hired an additional 700 workers on contract and they will be retained in the lender’s 85 branches after June 2020 when the firm expects to have completed transition to Absa brand.
Speaking during the unveiling of the Absa-branded flagship branch at Sarit Centre, the transition programme director Anthony Mulisa said the bank has seen business growth that necessitated the increased hiring.
“Our three-year journey involved relocation of 166 technology-based systems from UK to Africa (South Africa where Absa is domiciled) that was done successfully without hurting any of our operations. We are well ahead of schedule at 85 percent complete,” he said. Barclays has rebranded 15 branches so far.
Marketing and corporate relations director Carolyne Ndung’u said the lender has spent Sh910 million in the transition process with further investments planned to build the ABSA brand via promotion of home-grown banking services.
Barclays is planning additional investments to improve its digital offerings to include robotics where one can open an account virtually and apply for a loan without visiting a physical branch. The bank’s net profit for the nine months ended September grew 2.3 percent to Sh5.56 billion, weighed down by rebranding costs and flat interest income.
The lender said the Sh910 million spent on the transition was recognised as an exceptional item on its bottom line in the period.
Without the one-off rebranding cost, Barclays said it would have reported a 14 percent growth in after-tax profit to Sh6.2 billion, adding that it will use this normalised profit as the basis of calculating dividend for its shareholders at the end of the year.
This is designed to help the bank maintain a fair dividend payout to minority shareholders over the transition period.