On February 10 last year, Barclays Bank successfully transitioned to Absa. With this transition came great plans for the future of the business, as well as strategies within which to operate for the continued success of the bank. Yesterday Absa celebrated its first anniversary at its Queensway Branch while at the same time unveiling the new look Queensway Branch.
Covid-19 hit very soon after the rebrand and like every other Government, business, organization, and individual, Absa was caught unawares. To be hit with a crisis of such magnitude immediately after rebranding with an outlook of great possibilities ahead was not easy. So, this first year of operations has not been quite like the plan was. What the bank envisioned as a great year ahead turned out to be a period of challenges. And these challenges were not only for the bank, but for local and global economies as well.
But Absa took the challenge and continued to strive to offer the best possible for its customers.
In Jeremy Awori’s words, “When we embarked on the brand transition, we set out to fully transform our business into a truly customer-obsessed organisation; one that puts the customer right at the centre of all decisions, propositions and initiatives. In order to get it right, we spent a lot of time speaking to our customers across all segments to better understand, not just their needs but also tastes and preferences. We spoke with individuals and spent time with businesses trying to understand exactly what they would like to see from us as their financial partner”
This commitment faced quite a number of challenges from the pandemic but Absa was able to switch gears, face the changing reality head on and live up to its promises to various stakeholders. The bank also played a huge role in the fight against the virus by being at the forefront of PPE distribution to both children and adults.
The bank also channeled time, effort and funds to helping in the fight against the virus. This was through initiatives like financial relief for customers to help them navigate the effects of the pandemic. Absa also worked with SMEs and offered them specific programs to help them weather the storm. And Absa kept operations going. By proactively managing its business continuity processes, a 100% of the bank’s branches remained open and fully operational while digital platforms had a 99.8% uptime, even with numerous scheduled system upgrades.
One case that can stand as an example of community development is the APDK workshop in Bombolulu. APDK is a charitable organization whose objective is to improve the quality of life for Persons living with Disabilities in the country. At the heart of the pandemic, the facility was staring at a bleak future and almost closed down. That was before Absa came in with orders for PPEs and APDK was able to have all their sewing machines back in operation. That is just one community and there are many more that have been empowered.
No business or organization can succeed if the communities around them are failing. It is for this reason that Absa has a great commitment to community and has numerous initiatives towards this. Through its shared growth policy, the bank has always gone out there to help communities to tackle pressing problems in society.
Yesterday during the celebrations, Absa launched the Wall of Possibilities. This is a community empowerment project whereby Kenyans are encouraged to share with the bank ideas that they would like to see actualized. The ideas must be of impact to communities. The Wall of Possibilities will also be conducted online. The best ideas that promise big impact could get funding and support from the bank. This is a great opportunity for Kenyans to communicate their pain points directly to a business that can help sort them out.