Access Works To Become Africa’s Largest Bank

Olumide Olatunji

Access Bank Plc, parent company of Access Bank Ghana, will become the largest bank in Africa in terms of customer size when it completes its merger and integration processes with Diamond Bank in Nigeria.

The newly merged entity will together have an overwhelming customer base of more than 29 million customers – the largest in Nigeria, which is Africa’s largest market.

The deal was finally approved on March 5, 2019 when shareholders of Access Bank and Diamond Bank endorsed the merger scheme at the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) held separately by both banks.

Shareholders of both entities have given the regulators up to April 2019 to complete the merger.

The business combination between the two banks began in December 2018 when Access Bank expressed its intention to acquire Diamond Bank through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).

Access Bank emerged the preferred bidder after a competitive process undertaken by the Board of Diamond Bank.

The merger would involve Access Bank acquiring the entire issued share capital of Diamond Bank in exchange for a combination of cash and shares in Access Bank via a Scheme of Merger.

Speaking at Access Bank shareholders meeting, Herbert Wigwe – Group Managing Director, Access Bank Plc,explained that the merger transaction presents a unique opportunity to accelerate its retail franchise and prospects of becoming the leading retail bank in Nigeria and Africa.

He noted: “Access Bank is working to ensure that shareholder value is maximized and with existing capital and the retentions it has with the tier-2 supporting, the bank has enough capital to consummate the transaction.”

Uzoma Dozie, Diamond Bank’s Chief Executive Officersaid: “I’m happy that the shareholders of Diamond Bank have supported this merger. The merger will bring together the complementary retail and corporate banking capabilities of two of Nigeria’s leading banks; creating Africa’s largest retail bank by customer base and gateway to the world.”

Commenting on the new development and its implication for Ghana, Olumide Olatunji, Managing Director for Access Bank Ghana,noted that these are exciting times ahead for the bank, its shareholders, customers and employees.

He revealed that the merger was creating new opportunities from international partners, boosting the bank’s trade finance business, as well as enhancing its payments and digital solutions to deliver innovative and customer friendly products.