In its first outing back as an independent, Absa must be wondering if the 14 years under Barclays’ rule was worth it. But at the least it did help the bank transform from an Afrikaans-dominated former building society into a more rounded bank. Current CEO and Barclays favourite Maria Ramos certainly has a more cosmopolitan image and background than her predecessor Steve Booysen, though she is no career banker. Not everyone would have guessed it but the new Absa logo inside a circle is meant to symbolise the bank’s ambitions to be seen as digitally led and digitally capable, Ramos says. With Absa’s notorious turnover of top management, Ramos must be longing for the day when she only has to keep the bots happy. Rather than the basics of banking she likes to focus on initiatives such as the launch of Whats-App banking and Samsung Pay. Not that these initiatives are all gimmicks. Its app-based personal loan platform in Kenya, called Timiza, has 2 million clients. It would have been nice...

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