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South Africa

Entered market 1854

De National Bank de Zuid-Afrikaansche Republik Beperkt was incorporated in the Transvaal in 1890, changing its name to National Bank of South Africa in 1902. It went on to amalgamate with several other banks, before becoming part of Barclays Bank (Dominion, Colonial and Overseas) in 1925. By 1926, DCO had 110 offices in Cape Province, 40 in Natal, 62 in the Orange Free State, 109 in the Transvaal, and 29 outside the Union. The Cape Local Board was established the year after, controlled by chief agents (later district managers) in Bloemfontein and Pitermaritzburg. Local boards were established in Natal and the Orange Free State in 1953, and in 1959 the Head Office moved to Johannesburg, whilst a local head office was established in Pretoria. In 1968, Barclaycard was introduced. Political protests against the apartheid regime in South Africa occured within the UK during the 1960s, and were partially directed at companies who had a presence or commercial interest in the country, of which Barclays was one. At this time, the Bank argued for a policy of opposing apartheid from within, asserting that maintaining a presence within the country was an influential means of supporting change. In 1971, Barclays National Bank was incorporated in Johannesburg to take over the business of DCO in South and South West Africa. It became a wholly owned subsidiary of Barclays Bank International, and had 856 offices. Barclays then began a gradual process of reducing its shareholding in Barclays National Bank: from 100% in 1971; 84% in 1975; and 50.4% in 1984. By 1985, Barclays had reduced its share to 40.4%, and Barclays National Bank became an associate, as opposed to subsidiary, of Barclays Bank PLC. In 1986, Barclays announced the sale of its remaining 40.4% stake in Barclays National Bank. A substantial proportion of these shares were sold to the Anglo-American Corporation and its affiliates De Beers and Southern Life. The name of the bank was changed to First National Bank of Southern Africa on 30 September 1987. Barclays Chairman John Quinton later stated that "the lack of progress towards fairness and freedom in South Africa...brought the bank to the conclusion that it [was] no longer in the interests of Barclays and its shareholders to stay" within the country. In 2005, President Thabo Mbeki stated that Barclays' decision to withdraw contributed to "the defeat of the apartheid system." In 1995, Barclays reopened in the country as a fully licensed subsidiary, Barclays Bank of South Africa Limited, under AFCARME. By 2000, there were bank and Barclays Capital offices in Johannesburg, a branch at Barclays House, and offshore offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban. In May 2005, Barclays purchased a majority stake in ABSA, one of the country's leading banks, the largest overseas acquisition by a UK listed company. President Mbeki commented at the time that this decision to return to business within South Africa demonstrated the bank's "contribution to the successful development of a new and free South Africa that belongs to all who live in it." In 2006, ABSA Capital, an affiliate of Barclays Capital was launched, and in the same year, ABSA became the first bank in South Africa to publish a customer charter. Barclaycard products, in partnership with ABSA, were launched in 2007, as well as Cash Passport, a pre-loaded currency card. Gill Marcus became the first female chairperson of ABSA in 2007. ABSA increased its ownership of Meeg Bank (Eastern Cape) from 73.4% to 100% in 2008. ABSA has continued its tradition of innovation with the launch of contactless payment in 2010; Payment Pebble, a portable payment acceptance unit to be used by small businesses in 2012; a mobile phone banking application in 2013; and the launch of a concept branch in Clearwater Mall in 2012 to test pioneering technologies. ABSA was combined with Barclays' African businesses in 2013, to make Barclays Africa Group Limited, of which Barclays owns 62.3%. Barclays Africa Group made its debut onto the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 2013. In 2016 Barclays announced plans for a progressive reduction of its shareholding in Barclays Africa Group Ltd.

Traded as

Natal Bank

South Africa