Barclays – The times they are a-changin’

Barclays Bank Zimbabwe will be renamed First Capital Bank in October following its takeover by FMB Capital of Malawi EPA/AARON UFUMELI

BARCLAYS Bank Zimbabwe becomes First Capital Bank in October, shedding its century-old brand, but the bank has already abandoned its former conservatism, gorging on government securities in a manner it never did under its previous owners.

FMB Capital of Malawi is now the majority shareholder in the bank, after a transaction sealed last October.

Although the bank will be co-branded after the October re-branding, it has already seen some significant changes to both board and management. Former chairman Anthony Mandiwanza and board member Canaan Dube bowed out, and Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe managing director Sydney Mtsambiwa now chairs the board.

FMB Capital representatives Dheeraj Dikshit and Hitesh Anadkat also joined the board, along with independent director Pat Devenish and Mike Twigger, a Barclays Plc representative who is managing the British bank’s divestment from Africa.

George Guvamatanga was replaced as managing director by Samuel Matsekete, while Ciaran McSharry, formerly head of cost decision support at Barclays Investment Bank has joined as chief finance officer.

But nothing demonstrates the change of guard at Barclays better than the bank’s shift, over the last six months, in its policy towards lending, especially to government.

Barclays took up just under $150 million worth of Treasury bills in the first half of 2018, in contrast to $925,000 it held at the close of the same period last year. Apart from these TBs held for the bank’s liquidity management, it also held $158 million worth of the government paper for investment purposes.

Lending to customers also reached a post-dollarisation high, for six months, of $143 million in the first half of 2018.

The aggressive lending approach drove Barclays to a 45% jump in net profit, on the back of an 88% increase in interest income.

Non funded income was 14% lower, at $21.68 million.

The change in the bank’s ownership has not dented customer confidence, with deposits rising 4% since December to $462 million, driven by growth in the corporate and investment banking and retail banking segments.