Guvamatanga retires

HARARE - Barclays Bank Zimbabwe managing director George Guvamatanga has retired from the financial institution he served for nearly 30 years.

He has since been replaced by Samuel Masekete in an acting capacity. Masekete is the bank’s chief finance officer.

“The bank is deeply indebted to George for his 28 years of dedicated service, 10 of which he was the managing director of Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe,” the bank’s chairman Anthony Mandiwanza said yesterday.

He added that Guvamatanga steered the business through difficult times while managing to lead the bank’s growth in scale and profitability over the period.

“George played a catalytic role in progressing the engagement process between Zimbabwe, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund at Lima,” Mandiwanza said.

Guvamatanga’s fate was sealed when Malawi’s First Merchant Bank (FMB) recently acquired Barclays Plc stake in Barclays Bank Zimbabwe, paving way for the establishment of new management.

Although FMB in October indicated that there would not be any management shakeup in the coming 12 months, Guvamatanga – who is believed to be among the employees who had expressed interest to buy shares from the British lender and lost the bid to FMB – has become its first casualty.

George Guvamatanga

George Guvamatanga

Under the deal, FMB bought an effective 42 percent in the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange listed bank.

Barclays Plc retains a 10 percent stake, Barclays Bank Zimbabwe workers 15 percent through an Employee Share Ownership Trust and the balance of 33 percent is free float listed on the ZSE.

Mandiwanza said the completion of the transaction marks an important juncture in the history of Barclays Bank Zimbabwe.

“It is testament to the successful franchise that the institution has become, particularly since dollarisation and in the current challenging macroeconomic environment, as evidenced by our 2017 half year results,” he said in October.

The transaction followed FMB’s recent acquisition of Opportunity International Group’s Malawi operations, Opportunity International Bank Malawi (OIBM).

FMB is listed on the Malawi Stock Exchange and has two wholly owned subsidiaries incorporated in Malawi: The Leasing and Finance Company of Malawi, a licensed financial institution engaged in deposit taking and asset finance, and FMB Capital Markets Limited, a licensed portfolio manager.

The group also has interests in Capital Bank in Mozambique and Botswana, and First Capital Bank in Zambia with total assets (at the end of June 2017) of $496 million.

The banking group’s liquidity position and capital adequacy has consistently remained above 55 percent and 20 percent for the past five years and its non-performing loans were at 2,7 percent as at 31 Dec 2016 despite adverse market conditions.

Barclays Bank Zimbabwe, alongside the Egyptian business, was not part of the 2013 deal that saw Barclays Africa, formerly Absa, acquiring eight African operations from its parent company due to high local political risk.