Absa group FD Jason Quinn: We are putting an important chapter of our history behind us

Absa has completed its separation from Barclays and emerges an independent African bank.

Absa has announced the substantial completion of its separation programme from Barclays

“We are putting an important chapter in the group’s history behind us, in a safe and successful manner,” says Absa group FD and 2020 CFO Awards nominee Jason Quinn

He adds that Absa will be capital and cashflow neutral with regards to its separation programme. “We consider this a significant achievement given the scale and complexity of the programme.” 

The separation follows Barclays’ 2016 decision to reduce its shareholding in the African group to a minority position. 

“We emerge from this chapter as a proudly independent African bank, strengthened and enriched your experience as part of the UK group,” says Absa group CEO Daniel Mminele. “We have a great foundation to build on and full control to make the decisions that are in the best interest of our customers and other stakeholders across all the African markets we operate in.”

In 2017, Barclays contributed R12.5 billion towards the three-year separation programme, which comprised mainly IT and brand projects, and which commenced on 6 June 2017. 

According to a statement by the bank, as part of the separation programme, 270 projects have been delivered and all technical solutions have been built. Six projects will be concluded in the next few months, including three minor ‘mop-up’ activity projects. 

The separation required the replacement or rebranching of millions of assets in 12 countries, including technology solutions. The programme involved, among others, the largest single data and system migration in Africa as customers in nine countries were switched to a new online banking platform, improving customer experience through greater stability and upgraded user interfaces in several countries.

More than 1,000 branches, 10,000 ATMs, close to 16,000 email addresses, several million customer cards, as well as thousands of uniforms, signage, forms, buildings and stationery were rebranded. At its peak, nearly 1,300 employees and contractors were dedicated to the separation programme.

“The initiatives undertaken have fundamentally improved Absa’s resilience, systems and capabilities, benefitting both employees and customers alike,” says Daniel. “I have been extremely impressed with how diligently and disciplined the colleagues have carried out this mammoth of a project, unparalleled on the continent in terms of size and complexity. We take great pride in having substantially completed the separation from Barclays within budget and inside agreed timelines.”