Barclays Opens 3 new Branches
By Staff Reporter
BARCLAYS Bank Zambia officially opened three more branches in Lusaka on Tuesday evening, with the bank’s managing director Mizinga Melu emphasising that it is time to follow clients where they are.
And Bank of Zambia deputy governor in charge of operations Dr Bwalya Ng’andu says the move by Barclays Bank Zambia to expand its branch network is momentous as it is in line with the central bank’s strategic objective of enhancing financial inclusion.
Speaking at a joint opening cocktail of three Barclays Bank Zambia branches at Centro Mall in Kabulonga in Lusaka, Melu recalled that last year the bank embarked on a journey where: “we thought it was important for us rationalise our branch network.”
The three new branches are at Centro, Levy and Garden City Shopping Malls.
“There were some branch networks that we re-positioned and in doing that, we thought it was important for us to follow the customers – to go where the customers want us to be. Gone are the days where we would keep all the branches, all of them in Cairo road. If you wanted to have a Barclays branch, then you needed to be in Cairo road. But those are old days! If you look at the branches that we have opened, they are all in the neighbourhood; Garden City Mall branch, all the clients from Chongwe can get there, if you look at the Levy Mall branch… and even this particular branch here at Centro Mall. So, I’m extremely proud of all these branches,” Melu said.
She disclosed that Barclays Bank Zambia had invested K3 million to put up the three branches.
“So, it’s a huge investment and it is showing the commitment that we have to the country. We have also continued to invest in our digital platforms and if you look at the branch that we are opening here today, it really caters for everyone. It is what we will be calling a universal branch….” noted Melu.
“As Barclays, we continue to invest in the digital agenda and having been in the country now for a 100 years, we have truly continued to invest in the digital agenda and so far we have invested over K25 million. We have 3, 200 teller machines and I think we have the biggest ATM network in the country.”
And Dr Ng’andu reminded Barclays Bank Zambia that the opening of new branches ought to be an opportunity for the bank to improve its quality of service it delivers to clients.
“It’s not just a question of bringing banks close to people. But it’s also a question of delivering an efficient service and one way in which you can look at this service is the length of time it takes you to transact in a bank – what you don’t want to do is to enter a bank and spend 40 minutes just to cash a cheque, 20 minutes to deposit money. So, I hope that you will achieve those efforts of bringing the service closer to the people and also at the same time providing a more efficient service,” Dr Ng’andu said.
He added that the opening of the three branches came at “a very opportune time” because the Bank of Zambia currently focuses on achieving financial inclusion as one of its strategic objectives.
“We have about five key strategic objectives that we have set for ourselves in the next three years and one of them is to achieve enhanced financial inclusion through efforts like what we are witnessing tonight,” indicated Dr Ng’andu.
Meanwhile, Barclays Bank Zambia board chairperson Chishala Kateka said: We hope that by opening these new branches within the malls, more of our customers from surrounding areas will access our services as we continue to provide unmatched innovative products and services on the market.”