Barclays Bank Managing Director, Reinette Ven Der Merwe said they see a significant opportunity to grow the retail banking business despite depressed consumer demand.
In a recent annual report, the BSE listed lender told shareholders that they have managed to significantly improve business in the second half of the year. According to the report, within the retail banking sector, which includes agriculture, tourism and franchising, assets grew to 50 percent largely driven by loans to the agriculture, retail and tourism sectors.
“The retail business registered strong growth in primary customers’ number of accounts and customer loans, while deposits were relatively flat,” said the report. Meanwhile, the bank, which boasts a market capitalisation of nearly P4 billion, noted that retail unit was not without problems.
Some of the scheme loans under-performed due to depressed economic activity in the mining sector. These impairments did not deter the bank to continue lending to deserving customers. The bank, which has unleashed multi-million Pula advertising campaign for its various products and services continues, invests in digital technology and innovation to improve customer experience. The bank is confident that its improved operational tactics will see them sail through this year. Like most commercial banks, Barclays is emerging from a liquidity squeeze, which nearly brought the whole sector to its knees in the past two years.
According to the annual report, Barclays is well funded. It has a balance sheet of P14.6 billion. During the year under review, the bank rolled out intelligent ATMs (iATMs) to improve retail banking business. The iATMS enable customers to deposit cash and to send cash. In the same annual report, Barclays Chairman, Rizwan Desai said in order to combat challenges affecting the banking sector, they have identified a number of initiatives that are tailor-made for the market.” We have identified diamond beneficiation, mining tourism, and premium property investments as some of the areas we want to focus on,” said Disai.
He said the basis of being selective in the market is to stay ahead of the curve given emerging constraints in the market. “We believe that our corporate and investment Banking offering is what will drive us to be the bank of choice,”