The recent revelation that Access Bank Plc is among the list of financial institutions from Africa and the Middle East that have expressed interest in the acquisition of Union Bank Plc and other African assets of Atlas Mara Group, a Pan-African banking group, is a cheering news.
Atlas Mara Limited, the London Stock Exchange-listed pan-African banking group started by Mr. Bob Diamond, it was gathered has received a number of approaches for its 49.97 per cent holding in Union Bank of Nigeria.
Indeed, listing Access Bank Plc among the suitors is a clear reflection of the resolve of the financial institution headed by Herbert Wigwe, its chief executive officer, not to relent in its aggressive expansion drive.
From a tiny bank in 2002, Wigwe who took over from his close friend and business partner, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, in 2014, has completely transformed the bank which then was ranked 65th among 89 banks operating in the country.
Over the years, Access Bank has evolved from an obscure bank into a world-class African financial institution. Today, it is one of the five largest banks in Nigeria in terms of assets, loans, deposits and branch network; a feat which has been achieved through a robust long-term approach to client solutions – providing committed and innovative advice.
Access Bank has built its strength and success in corporate banking and is now applying that expertise to the personal and business banking platforms it acquired from Nigeria’s International Commercial bank in 2012.
As part of its continued growth strategy, Access Bank has continued to focus on mainstreaming sustainable business practices into its operations. The bank strives to deliver sustainable economic growth that is profitable, environmentally responsible, and socially relevant.
Wigwe has helped to develop some of Africa’s biggest companies in the construction, telecommunications, energy, oil and gas sectors through Access Bank.
Clearly, the news about Access Bank’s interest in Union Bank which came exactly a day after the former announced its completion of all regulatory procedures that led to the renaming of Grobank Limited as Access Bank South Africa Limited, showed that the Lagos-based financial institution is not ready to rest on its laurels.
The deal was finalised after Access Bank’s acquisition of controlling shares in the former Grobank Limited, South Africa. With this acquisition, Access Bank South Africa Limited is positioned to deliver a robust banking operation that connects key African markets.
During the official closing ceremony in Sandton recently, top executives of the two banks were upbeat about new opportunities for clients, noting that the bank will continue to support all its stakeholders, while opening doors to growth opportunities both in the short and long term.
To Wigwe, the acquisition in South Africa sealed Access Bank’s commitment to delivering its strategic aspirations of becoming Africa’s Gateway to the World, in line with its vision to be the ‘World’s Most Respected African Bank.’
“We look forward to the many opportunities our collective experience and deep understanding of the African market brings to our valued clients, and the journey ahead being one of great promise for our institution and the continent,” he added.
On his part, the CEO of Grobank Bennie van Rooy said, “This is an extremely exciting day for the South African banking industry. Our corporate customers will now have increased access to trade finance, treasury, international payments and loans through the wider distribution network offered by Access Bank’s presence in the key trade corridors that connect Africa to the rest of the world.
“Banking with Access Bank South Africa means greater security as well as access to more products and services through a best-in-class digital platform, and a full retail banking suite will soon be on offer.”
Last month, Access Bank Plc also entered into a definitive and binding agreement with ABC Holdings Limited to acquire 78.15 per cent shareholding in African Banking Corporation of Botswana Limited (BancABC Botswana). The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals and customary conditions precedent, is expected to close before the end of this quarter.
ABC Holdings is a subsidiary of London Stock Exchange listed group – Atlas Mara Limited.
The South African country is renowned for its quality sovereign credit rating and stability.
Access Bank’s market entry in the country as well as the sub-region, is expected to further solidify its strategy as, “a strong banking partner in key verticals across retail and corporate banking, including especially supporting trade in payments across southern Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa more broadly.”
Also commenting on the deal, Wigwe, said: “We remain committed to a disciplined and thoughtful expansion strategy in Africa, which we believe will create strong, sustainable returns for our shareholders and stakeholders at large, over the medium and long-term.
“The establishment of Access Bank through this acquisition in the Republic of Botswana will position the bank to deliver a more complete set of banking solutions to its clients active in and across the SADC and COMESA regions.
“This transaction complements our recent strategic growth acquisitions in South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique. We are building a bank of the future that Africans across Africa and the world would be proud of and look forward to welcoming the employees, customers and other stakeholders of BancABC Bostawana to Access Bank.”
In the string of expansion across the African continent – including Cameroon (operating license), Kenya (Transnational Bank), Zambia (Cavmont Bank), among others, the bank has said it intends to leverage the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA) to expand its footprint to 20 countries across the continent.
According to Wigwe, across Africa, there is an opportunity for the bank to expand to high-potential markets, leveraging the benefits of AfCFTA.
He said AfCFTA, among other benefits, would expand intra-Africa trade and provide real opportunities for Africa.
Wigwe said the bank would use its office in London to expand representative offices in India, Lebanon and China.
He stated that the plan is for the bank to establish its presence in 22 African countries so as to diversify its earnings and take advantage of growth opportunities in Africa.
According to him, Africa has enormous potential and there are opportunities for an African bank that is well run, that understands compliance and has the capacity to support trade and the right technology infrastructure to support payments and remittances, without taking incremental risks.
“We believe that we are best positioned to basically do all of that. Our focus is to become an aggregator in Africa and we are building a global payment gateway and providing trade finance support and correspondent banking across the continent. We are focusing on the key markets.
“The approach would always be that in the country we wish to go to, that we have the right skills. We would not just be a drop in the country in which we are present, we would make sure that we have an impactful presence in each of the major countries in which we are present.
“In doing this, we are also mindful of the country we are going to so as to make sure that it is of benefit to the bank. As we do this, we are working with our friends and partners.
“We are diversifying our earnings away from volatile markets as well and we are orchestrating our operations from the global payments gateway and ensuring that using Access Bank UK, providing corresponding services from digital platforms, the overall profitability of our franchise,” he explained.
Commenting further, on AfCFTA, he said the bank would use its digital framework to benefit from the deal.
“Coming to Nigeria, we think we need to continue to entrench ourselves in the local market because there is still so much work to be done.
“So, we are doing everything possible to satisfy our customers and also to ensure that our channels are adequately secured. We are also ensuring that our staff are very efficient,” the CEO said.
In view of the opportunities that exist in the market, Access Bank recently disclosed plan to transit to a holding company (HoldCo) structure. The bank has received the Approval-In-Principle from the Central Bank of Nigeria for the restructuring and the HoldCo will consist of four subsidiaries in order to tap into the market opportunities that are available in the consumer lending market, electronic payments industry and retail insurance market.
Access Bank Group will consist of Nigeria, Africa and international subsidiaries, while the payments subsidiary will leverage the strong suite of the bank’s assets, Wigwe said.
“Going into the fourth year of our 5-year cyclical strategy, our focus remains on consolidating our retail momentum and expanding our African footprint in a sustainable manner,” Wigwe said.
Also, in terms of its financial performance, despite the challenging operating environment, Access Bank delivered strong results in the first quarter (Q1) ended March 31, 2021 with the gross earnings printing at N222.1 billion was recorded, up by six per cent above the figures posted in the corresponding period of 2020. PBT rose by 30 per cent to N60.1 billion, from N46.2 billion, while Profit After Tax (PAT) grew by 28 per cent to N52.6 billion compared with N40.9 billion in 2020 on the back of a 13 per cent growth in operating Income and a 16 per cent reduction in interest expense.
According to Wigwe, the performance showed the strong capacity of their business to generate sustainable earnings on the strength of their balance sheet, diverse revenue streams and their dedicated people.
“As a result of effective implementation of our cost reduction strategy, operating expenses remained flat, despite the inflationary environment and increased regulatory cost. Our retail banking business also showed steady growth with a 112 per cent increase in revenue to N57.5 billion and a 941,631 new customer sign-on via our financial inclusion drive during the quarter. This improvement is evidenced by the consistent and robust savings account growth to N1.3 trillion , leading to a significant reduction in our cost of funds,” he said.
He said the increased adoption of digital channels and the growing customer base, the bank recorded a 29 per cent growth in USSD transaction value and 40 per cent increase in mobile and internet banking transaction value.
“In line with our risk appetite and efficient risk management, our asset quality continued to improve as guided with NPL Ratio of4.0 per cent (Dec. 2020 4.3 per cent), as we intensified our recovery efforts.
“Likewise, we expanded our loan portfolio cautiously as reflected by the marginal growth in our net loans and advances to N3.65 trillion year-to-date (Dec 2020: N3.61trillion).
“Furthermore, we maintained robust capital and liquidity positions, well above regulatory levels with a Capital Adequacy Ratio of 22.2 per cent and a liquidity ratio of 48.3 per cent, positioning us to support our customers across various markets and adequately execute our expansion strategy.”
Therefore, it is expected that the bank’s aggressive expansion drive will see it contribute positively in rebuilding economies in Africa that have been ravaged by the pandemic through its support to micro, small and medium scale enterprises, corporates as well as households.
QUOTE: As a result of effective implementation of our cost reduction strategy, operating expenses remained flat, despite the inflationary environment and increased regulatory cost. Our retail banking business also showed steady growth with a 112 per cent increase in revenue to N57.5 billion and a 941,631 new customer sign-on via our financial inclusion drive during the quarter. This improvement is evidenced by the consistent and robust savings account growth to N1.3 trillion , leading to a significant reduction in our cost of funds.
717 total views, 3 views today
UBA’s Leo Clocks Four, Set To Further Transform Digital Banking In Nigeria, Africa
The United Bank for Africa has announced that it has concluded plan to commemorate the fourth anniversary of its flagship artificial intelligence Chabot, with new offerings set to further change the face of digital banking in Nigeria
To further extend its reach, UBA said it has concluded plans to commence Leo services on Instagram and Google Business, terrains none of its peers can lay claim to.
“Birthed January 11, 2018, with a firm resolve to prioritise its customers as well as put the bank at the heart of disruptive technologies that will transform the experience of esteemed customers, UBA did the unthinkable by getting three million users hooked in less than three years of its inception,” the bank revealed in a statement.
Leo, which the bank stressed, had proven to be the most formidable artificial intelligence chat bot till date; serving an ever-increasing customer base who now have less transaction hassles to worry about is currently available on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat
Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, UBA, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, affirmed that UBA customers agree that Leo is one of the bank’s biggest investments in cutting-edge technology and has been steadily changing the face of banking in the continent.
“Three years later, and with over almost four million customers and counting, UBA’s Leo, has without a doubt, remained the smartest Banking Chatbot in Nigeria because of its speed and quick learning intelligence and has continued to evolve with plenty to offer its teeming customers.
“While other financial institutions are still trying to find their feet as regards Artificial Intelligence, we can proudly say that our Leo has become a massive success as it continues to consolidate on its successes and accolades winning several awards in a short while of its existence, “he added.
Uzoka said further: “In just four years, Leo’s landmark achievements have been indeed overwhelming, covering 20 African countries as well as garnering over 10 prestigious awards globally, a feat that is exceptional by every standard, I must say we are proud of Leo’s intimidating achievements which is largely unbeatable.
“With this in mind, we have ensured that, Leo continues to enjoy periodic and systematic upgrade with special emphasis on enhanced advancements and specialised unique features where necessary.
“UBA’s vision has always been and will remain to be a dominating force in Africa’s digital banking space. Our resolve is to provide unparalleled experience across all channels. We are a technology-driven institution with vast knowledge in the business that we do and Leo, being a tested, dependable and intelligent personality, did well to replicate on WhatsApp the success it recorded on the Facebook Messenger platform where it started its journey and later on the IOS (iPhone Operating System) platform.
“It is a solution that is from the customer’s standpoint, easy to use by anyone regardless of demography. Leo is always ready and waiting to help with any form of banking service.”
Uzoka further explained that Leo is already present in 20 African countries and in three languages and has a number of rich and robust features bound to mesmerise existing and potential customers with services that are extremely fast and secure as all transactions and enquiries are encrypted, end-to-end.
“Leo has the ability to do a wide range of things, including funds transfer, call card top-up, checking of account balance, retrieval of bank statements, instant account openings for new customers, statement to embassy/other banks/microfinance, purchase of airtime/ data, paying of bills (LCC, PHCN, Cable TV), effectively helping with savings and spend limit,” he said.
2,915 total views, 18 views today
Why More Women Are Banking With Access Bank, Wigwe Speaks
Access Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Herbert Wigwe, has identified good customer service, access to finance, provision of educative and possibility of business growth are some of the reasons why more women are patronising the bank. According to him, this is also the reason why half of the bank’s customer base are women, particularly those in business.
Wigwe made the disclosure recently while discussing the company’s expansion plans in an interview on CNN’s First Move with Julia Chatterley.
Noting that more women are embracing the bank due to what the bank has done for women, he explained that Access Bank had programmes for women and if they needed financing, they would be supported by the bank.
He said “Most times, they have gotten the money, it’s about supporting them with respect to various programs that would help educate them on what to do, how to grow their businesses, all of those type of things. So, that is what has made us so different and the fact that most women would rather bank with Access than anywhere else”
On Access Bank’s African expansion plans, Wigwe said, “It is something that we have been planning as part of our corporate strategic planning 2017 and the whole idea has been to support our correspondent banking business, to support our payments business and to basically ensure that there is greater trade within the continent. So, for us, what are we doing? We’re basically making sure that we have a strong presence in all the major trade centres in the continent.”
On Access Bank’s outlook for 2022, the bank CEO added, “I think we’re on track. I think in terms of profitability our different franchises are doing exceedingly well. And I think 2022 perhaps is actually going to be a big, big year for the institution.”
Explaining further, Wigwe said that in 2014, the bank created the W-program which is a more robust program, and it’s about inspiring, connecting and it’s also about empowering women.
He said the W-Programme includes both the professional lady or businesswoman who needs to be supported.
“You know sophisticated businessperson who is thinking about succession and wants a bank that can help them. All of those things were provided. We took it deeper and deeper into maternal health care schemes. Schemes that no other institution in the world have basically looked at. It’s the reason we won several, several awards.”
Revealing Access Bank’s focus on women in Nigeria, Wigwe also stated, “Coming back to Nigeria, and what it has done for women, half of our customer base today are women, all right. And because they know that they will be served by Access. And if they needed financing, they will be supported by Access. Most times, they have gotten the money, it’s about supporting them with respect to various programs that would help educate them on what to do, how to grow their businesses, all of those type of things. So, that is what has made us so different and the fact that most women would rather bank with Access than anywhere else.”
1,308 total views, 16 views today
UBA Customers To Win Big In Super Savers Promo Draw
Africa’s Global Bank, the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has assured its loyal customers of a memorable Christmas as the bank is set to reward thousands of people with super prizes, in its upcoming super savers promo draw.
The Super Savers draw will be held virtually on December 21 via Facebook and Youtube platforms in strict compliance with social distancing rules as directed by the federal and Lagos State governments following which 23 bumper account holders will smile home after a transparent draw with the following rewards; N2 million, N1.2 million, N500,000 and N100,000 cash prizes respectively.
Also another 10 savings account holders will win N1million each and 10 university students with a Next Gen account will win a monthly salary for a year while 30 children with a UBA Kiddies or Teens Account will win school fees grant. There is something for everyone in the Super Savers Draw.
The event will be supervised by representatives from the Consumer Protection Council, the National Lottery Regulatory Commission, and the Lagos State Lottery Board. To qualify, all new and existing customers need do to qualify for the draw is to ensure that they save N10,000 or more, monthly in their UBA Savings Account.
New customers should simply dial *919*20# if interested in opening a UBA Bumper Account. For more information, visit www.ubagroup.com/supersavers.
This unique Super Savers, which is open to account holders of the bank from the six geographical zones in Nigeria, has something big for everyone and intends to appreciate loyal customers of the bank, who have cultivated a savings culture and stayed loyal with the bank over the years.
1,906 total views, 16 views today
- Fuel Subsidy: NLC Suspends Thursday’s Nationwide Protest
- JUST IN: CBN Committee Retains Benchmark Interest Rate At 11.5%
- How Sammy Okposo Impregnated Me And Wanted Me To Abort My Child, African Doll Opens Up On Secret Affairs With Nigerian Gospel Singer
- Insecurity: IPOB Fires Back At Army, Says ESN Not Militants
- AFCON 2021: Ola Aina, Okoye Responsible For Super Eagles Loss To Tunisia, Says Okocha
JOIN US ON FACEBOOK
Entertainment4 months ago
BBNaija: Nigerians Drag Angel For Showing Off Her Private Part To Housemates (Watch Video)
Headline7 months ago
Female Italian Fan Go Topless, Gives Free Show After Euro 2020 Win (Watch Video)
Entertainment5 months ago
BBNaija: “Shameful For A Married Woman” – Boma, Tega Doing ‘Stuff’ Under Duvet Sparks Outrage (See Video)
World news3 years ago
Why I Quit Nun To Become A Porn Star After 8 Years At Convent – Yudi Pineda
Entertainment1 year ago
BBNaija: Kiddwaya Sucks Erica’s Boobs, Licks Dorathy’s Neck In Truth Or Dare Game (Video)
News3 years ago
Popular Lagos Pastor In Sex Scandal
Headline8 months ago
EXCLUSIVE: Lagos LG Polls: How Tinubu Prevailed On Aggrieved Aspirants To Drop Ambition, Pacify Supporters
Headline8 months ago
EXCLUSIVE: LG Election: Crisis Rocks APC In Epe As Party Leaders Accuse Lagos Deputy Gov Of Imposing Three Candidates