Absa Group Limited
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Absa Group Limited, formerly Barclays Africa Group Limited, and originally Amalgamated Banks of South Africa, is an African based financial services group, offering personal and business banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking, wealth and investment management as well as bancassurance. It is the majority shareholder of 11 banks spanning Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania (two entities), Uganda and Zambia, with a further two representative offices in Namibia and Nigeria. It also has an international office in London, which opened in September 2018.
|Barclays Africa Group Limited, Amalgamated Banks of South Africa (ABSA)|
|Traded as||JSE: ABG|
|Industry||Banking, Financial services, Investment services, Insurance services|
|Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia|
René van Wyk
|Products||Commercial banking, Financial services, Retail banking, Credit cards, Private equity, Investment management, Investment banking|
|Revenue||R75.7 billion (2018)|
|R21.5 billion (2018)|
|R14.14 billion (2018)|
|Total assets||R1.288 trillion (2018)|
|Total equity||R121.6 billion (2018)|
Number of employees
|39,988 (permanent) (2017)|
|Subsidiaries||Absa Bank Limited (100%)|
Absa Financial Services Limited (100%)
Barclays Bank of Botswana Limited (67.8%)
Barclays Bank of Ghana Limited (100%)
Barclays Bank of Kenya Limited (68.5%)
Barclays Bank of Mauritius Limited (100%)
Barclays Bank of Mozambique Limited (98.1%)
Absa Bank Seychelles Limited (99.8%)
Absa Bank Uganda Limited (100%)
Barclays Bank Zambia plc (100%)
National Bank of Commerce Limited (55%)
Barclays Bank Tanzania Limited (100%)
Absa was founded in 1991 through the merger of financial service providers United Bank (South Africa), the Allied Bank (South Africa), the Volkskas Bank Group and certain interests of the Sage Group. The following year, Absa acquired the entire shareholding of the Bankorp Group which included Trustbank, Senbank and Bankfin. In the early years of this union, each bank operated under its own name. In 1998, they were fused into one single brand. A year later, Absa adopted a new corporate identity and the name was changed into Absa Group Limited.
In May 2005, Barclays Bank of the United Kingdom purchased 56.4% stake in Absa.
In early 2007, the Barclays Bank acquisition of Absa was criticised by governor of the South African Reserve Bank, Tito Mboweni who said he "had yet to see the benefits of Barclays' management of Absa".
In 2013, the group acquired the entire issued share capital of Barclays Africa Limited and issued 129,540,636 Consideration Shares to Barclays Africa Group Holdings Limited (a wholly owned subsidiary of Barclays) thus increasing the shareholding of Barclays plc to 62,3%. The Consideration Shares were listed on the JSE from the commencement of trading on 31 July 2013. The name change from “ABSA Group Limited” to “Barclays Africa Group Limited” was announced on 22 July 2013, and became effective 2 August 2013.
In 2017, the South African Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, found that the bailout of R1.125 billion that Absa's predecessor Bankorp Group had received between 1985 and 1992 from the Reserve Bank was illegal, and recommended that Absa be forced to pay back R2.25 billion, the current equivalent of the amount. The report was set aside by the Pretoria High Court, finding that "The public protector did not conduct herself in a manner which would be expected from a person occupying the office of the public protector." The court assessed some costs of the case personally against Mkhwebane due to her conduct., an order upheld by the Constitutional Court of South Africa in July 2019.
In March 2018, Barclays Africa announced the group's name would revert to Absa Group Limited, effective 30 May 2018. The company underwent re-branding in 2018, inclusive of a new logo and slogans.
Barclays Bank Plc. owns 14.9 percent of Absa Group Limited, whose shares are listed on the JSE Limited. Barclays Bank of Kenya and Barclays Bank of Botswana continue to be listed on their respective stock exchanges.
Below is the Absa Group’s 10 largest shareholders as at 15 January 2019:
|Current Majority shareholders||1 May 2018 (%)|
|Barclays plc (UK)||14.88|
|Public Investment Corporation (SA)||6.53|
|Old Mutual Asset Managers (SA)||3.56|
|BlackRock, Inc. (USA, UK)||3.48|
|FIL Limited (UK)||3.18|
|Prudential Investment (SA)||3.18|
|Citigroup Global Markets||3.01|
|The Vanguard Group (US, AU)||3.00|
|Geographical holding (by owner)||31 Dec 2018 (%)|
|United States and Canada||17.64|
The 2012, Finweek Bank Charges Report ranked Absa's Gold Value Bundle as the cheapest package option amongst the four banks that were compared. The report has also shown Absa's PAYT pricing structure to have reduced by 25%, leaving it third cheapest in the overall ranking.
Mortgage loans misconductEdit
In 2014, South African courts made a number of rulings against Absa's mortgage loan division in a number of summary judgements against clients who had taken out loans with the bank and who the bank had accused of defaulting on their loans. In August 2014, Absa brought a case against James Grobbelaar and Kevin Jenzen for allegedly defaulting on their home loans. However, Absa was unable to provide proof of the loan agreements, claiming that they had been destroyed in a fire in 2009 and instead presented an unsigned blank loan agreement. In November 2014, Absa withdrew a case it brought in the North Gauteng High Court against Emmarentia and Monica Liebenberg for allegedly defaulting on loans taken out in 2007, with the bank being unable to provide an electronic copy of the documents.
The Liebenberg's accused the bank of trying to bully them "into submission, by threatening legal costs and expenses and by pursuing a wrongful summary judgement application knowing full well the massive disputes involved." The Liebenbergs also stated in their affidavit that the bank inflated the interest rate of the loan and charged additional fees that were never agreed to.
In South Africa, banks have to secure consent from the borrower if the bank wishes to securitise the loan. This allows the bank to bundle in the loan with other loans and sell it to new owners.
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- Niselow, Tehillah (22 July 2019). "ConCourt upholds cost order against Mkhwebane, rules she was 'not honest' in Absa investigation". News24.
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- Wyk, Pauli Van. "MKHWEBANE JUDGMENT: Bad faith, dishonest, biased, reprehensible behaviour, not up to standard, falsehoods — the storm that broke over Mkhwebane". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
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- "Smack down for Absa in Joburg High Court". ACTS. 4 August 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
- "Absa gets snot-klapped in Pretoria High Court by women's army". ACTS. 30 November 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
- "Securitisation: a conspiracy of silence" (PDF). New Economic Rights Alliance. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 September 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014.