Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe Ltd
Barclays Bank (Dominion, Colonial and Overseas) was incorporated as Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe Ltd in June, 1981 and at the time had more than 50 branches. By 1986 the bank employed some 1,800 staff, and a new training centre with seven permanent instructors was established above Manica Road branch in Harare, replacing the original centre in Msasa.
Barclaycard was launched in 1991 and 30% of Barclays Zimbabwe shares were floated; the offer was oversubscribed five times. In 1997, Premier banking services were launched. 1997 saw another new venture with the opening of ‘Money$hop’, a fast-cash retail office allowing customers to do their banking out of hours, with bulk cash deposit and withdrawal facilities, a night safe, cash machines and travellers cheque and foreign currency desks.
Expansion of the business, despite difficult economic conditions, was symbolised by the relocation of Chinhoyi branch to new premises in 1997. Situated in an important farming area, the new building, opened by visiting Barclays chairman Andrew Buxton, and named Buxton House, offered a specialised agricultural finance service, and housed Fincor, the hire purchase subsidiary. Automation and modernisation proceeded apace, as in the other African businesses.By 1998 there were nearly 50 cash machines.
On 1st May 2004 Charity Chiratidzo became managing director of BBZ, the second woman to head one of Barclays’ African businesses. Barclays’ acquisition of South African bank ABSA in 2005 further strengthened its position in Zimbabwe, as ABSA held a substantial stake in Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe. The mid-2000s saw the opening of new branches, and by June 2007 there were 30 in the country.
In 2007 Barclays Zimbabwe won the Harare Chamber of Commerce award for the best HIV/AIDS programme, for its Wellness Programme which covers employees and their immediately family, including free HIV testing, antri-retroviral treatment, immunity boosting vitamins and counselling. In 2010 Barclays Zimbabwe became the first bank in country to enable its ATMs to accept MasterCard-branded cards. In 2011 Barclays’ Spaces for Sports programme was extended to Zimbabawe.
In 2013 it was announced that Barclays’ African businesses would be incorporated in a new business grouping, Barclays Africa Group, with Barclays holding a 62.3% stake in the new company. In 2016 Barclays announced plans for a progressive reduction of its shareholding in Barclays Africa Group Ltd. In 2017 Barclays announced the sale of its majority holding in Barclays Bank Zimbabwe to FMB Capital Holdings.