Absa chief executive Maria Ramos. 
Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA)

JOHANNESBURG - Absa Group on Monday reiterated its goal to double its share of banking revenues in Africa to 12 percent as it continues to deliver on the new corporate strategy it launched in March 2018. 

The banking group on Monday reported a three percent increase in earnings to R8 billion for six months ending 30 June compared with the first half of 2017, while revenue also grew three percent to R37 billion, as the bank separates from the international Barclays PLC group. 

Maria Ramos, Absa group chief executive, said an important milestone in positioning for delivery against their strategy was achieving full regulatory deconsolidation earlier this year, meaning that UK regulators no longer regard Absa and Barclays PLC as a single entity.

"In practical terms, it means that we no longer operate under any policy frameworks set by Barclays PLC. For example we are now free to set our own risk appetite," Ramos said.

"In our retail and business banking unit in South Africa, we now have an operating model which has reduced management layers, enables faster decision making and brings the leadership team closer to customers and colleagues."

Absa Group announced a new operating model in April, empowering business unit leadership teams to have end-to-end accountability for delivery. The reorganisation process started with retail and business banking SA (RBB SA), which accounts for more than half of Absa Group’s total income.

Another separation milestone was reached in July when the group name was changed from Barclays Africa Group to Absa Group and a refreshed brand was launched as an expression of the group's new identity and its digital ambition. 

Absa's subsidiaries outside South Africa will begin the change to Absa from mid-2019 – subject to securing all relevant approvals. 

Ramos said the group has also made progress in its aspiration to build an entrepreneurial, digitally-led bank with the launch of an app-based personal loans platform in Kenya, as well as WhatsApp banking and Samsung Pay as new propositions for its South Africa retail business. 

"We have made it clear that our ambition is to be a digitally-led organisation, digitally capable and scalable," Ramos said.

Looking ahead, Ramosa said Absa will continue to drive the growth momentum recorded in retail and business banking, and address opportunities in the wealth and investment management and insurance business unit, and in the corporate and investment banking portfolios.  

- African News Agency (ANA)