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Barclays seeks to net Sh65m from sale of branch property

Jeremy Awori
Barclays CEO Jeremy Awori. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Barclays Bank of Kenya #ticker:BBK is eyeing Sh65 million from sale of assets from the lender's three closed branches, which it hopes to make by this year.

Information contained in the annual report for the period ended December 2018 shows that property and equipment from the closed branches — Bamburi, Maragua and Supplies — are now up for sale, resonating with the lender’s strategy of deepening digital channels to complement its branch network.

“A sale of the items had not been completed at the balance sheet date but the Bank expects a sale to be completed in the following year, 2019,” Barclays says in the report.

As at end of the period under review, the group recognised the named branches in its financial statements as non-current assets held for sale.

The lender closed the year with 85 branches, down from 91 in the previous year, marking another reduction in branch network.

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The bank says it believes a combination of strong relationships for affluent banking, optimised physical branch network and improved digital offerings will help enhance customer experience.

“We continued to optimise and reform the physical branch network to reflect evolving customer preference,” Barclays says.

In 2017, the bank had closed Moi Avenue, Haile Selassie, Waiyaki Way, Kawangware, Rahimtulla, Nakummatt Meru and Wundanyi branches. This cut branch network from 96 to 89.

The bank says its digital channel capabilities were enhanced during the year leading to 70 per cent of transactions being processed outside the branch, up from 65 per cent the previous year.

The banking sector has being undergoing structural changes mainly triggered by technological waves and the capping of interest rates. Bank of Africa, National Bank of Kenya, Sidian Bank, Housing Finance, Family Bank, First Community Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Ecobank are among lenders that have announced staff cuts and other cost-cutting measures in recent past.

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