There have been media reports in recent days about the future of Barclays Bank, word on the streets and on social media being that the bank is folding its operations in Kenya. First off, that is factually untrue. Barclays is not closing its doors and would like to assure clients that their relationships with the bank, their monies and their other financial dealings are safe. There is speculation concerning Barclays Africa Group Ltd shareholding alright but that neither affect the day to day running and operations, nor the presence of the bank in Kenya. Most importantly, it does not affect customer accounts and deposits and this is an assurance that the bank would like to give to its customers.
In a statement released today, Barclays Bank Kenya MD Jeremy Awori reiterated that Barclays Bank of Kenya is not shutting down and there are no plans at local, regional or group level to shut down operations here.
It is easy to see where fear and possible panic would come from as regards rumours of a folding bank. Bank stories have been quite unsavoury in the last few years and in one particularly nasty case, a lot of people and companies had their hard earned cash put at risk. In the wake of such cases, there is obviously more vigilance and people are hawk eyed for any rumours when it comes to banking safety. They want a clear word that their financials and investments are in safe hands and Barclays is saying that yes, they’re not closing Kenya operations and customer monies are safe.
From the horse’s mouth, and even from what is evident to the lay man, Barclays Bank of Kenya is well capitalized and liquid in the country. In the 100 years that it has been operating here, it has established deep and solid roots and those roots not only remain intact, but there is a solid strategy for business in Kenya, and a signed pledge to further galvanize operations in the country for the next 100 years. This pledge was signed just the other day, February 12th to be precise, in a ceremony presided over by the Central Bank Governor Dr. Patrick Njoroge. The 100-year pledge outlines future operations in youth programs, gender agendas and SMEs as areas to receive special focus in the next century in Kenya.
As a sign of continued operations and intended plan of things to come for example, Barclays Bank Kenya has unveiled a mobile point-of-sale payment solution. This will make it possible for people to pay for goods and services from the comfort of their homes or on the go. In the coming week the bank will be launching agency banking in a bid to make itself more accessible to customers.
In October last year, Barclays Kenya launched the ready to work program, an online finishing school that seeks to equip college and university graduates with people skills, work skills, entrepreneurship skills and quite importantly, money skills. Still late last year, the bank launched the Agribusiness unit in line with improvements and empowerment in the agriculture sector in Kenya.
There’s a lot more in the pipeline especially in the very youth oriented innovation field. Investing in youth is not a sign of a closing entity.