Absa bleeds 750,000 customers in SA

Absa Bank (Barclays Africa) reduced its customer numbers in South Africa by almost 750,000 in the interim reporting period ended June 2014.

Customers in SA declined to 9.235 million, from 9.983 million at the same period in 2013, and down from 9.44 million in December 2013.

The bank had 12.1 million customers in 2011.

The bank closed 60 outlets over the past year in SA, to 804, and from 829 in December, with ATMs down to 9,588, from 9,630 in the prior year.

The bank grew employee numbers during the period, to 31,922, from 31,724 in June 2013.

Absa said that excluding Sekulula account closures, customer numbers started to stabilise, with 8% growth in the affluent segment and the middle market flat during the first half.

The Sekulula account was created for the purpose of accessing grants benefits, however, Absa said its AllPay business continues to be wound down subsequent to the loss of the social grant payment contract in early 2012.

Absa customer numbers
Absa customer numbers

Business banking

For business banking in SA, Absa said that the overall number of customers decreased by 2.3% to 384,078 (30 June 2013: 392,979) mainly in the Enterprise segment.

“Although the number of customers declined in the current year, the rate of decline from January 2014 to June 2014 has significantly reduced to 0.8% compared with July 2013
to December 2013 of 1.5%.

Information technology costs rose 8% to R1 billion, as efficiency gains offset the impact of rand depreciation, Absa said.

Overall, the bank said that headline earnings grew 2% to R4 billion, while pre-provision profit increased 0.4% to R9.4 billion.

The bank declared an interim and special dividend of 1 231,7 cents.

Revenue grew 5% to R21.4 billion, as net interest income rose 7% to R12.3 billion.

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Absa bleeds 750,000 customers in SA