With the potential merger of Access Bank and Diamond Bank becoming a reality in a few months, customers and stakeholders globally are set to witness the formation of Africa’s largest retail bank, spanning three continents, 12 countries and 29 million clients.
Since both banks possess complementary operating platforms and similar values, a merger with Diamond Bank, with its leadership in digital and mobile-led retail banking, would accelerate Access Bank’s ambition to become a leading pan-African financial institution.
In 2017, Access Bank unveiled a five-year strategy to position it as the No. 1 Nigerian bank by 2022, while also creating a Universal Payments Gateway to dominate international trade and inter-African payments. This was built on six levers – digitally led; analytics driven, with robust risk management; retail banking growth and consolidation in wholesale markets; customer focused; strong global collaboration in key gateway markets and the creation of a universal payments gateway.
Following the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement and announcement of headline terms, Herbert Wigwe, CEO of Access Bank, says the two banks’ mobile application platforms would be upgraded to create a strong and formidable mobile app that would be accessible and make instantaneous settlement across Africa, while also attracting more opportunities from international partners.
More specifically, with Access Bank unveiling ‘borderless banking,’ which meant easy payment initiation and receipt, speedy and straight-through processing, secure payment solution, transparency in pricing and low cost of transactions to customers, elimination of risk associated with cash based transactions in the region, the use of local currency to effect cross currency payment, especially for retail clients, easy tracking of transactions and also create an opportunity to maintain ties with family and friends.
Although Diamond Bank would be absorbed into Access Bank and will cease to exist under Nigerian law upon completion of the merger, some of its products such as the Diamond Xtra will remain accessible for customers.
In addition, starting from January 1, 2019, customers of both banks enjoy free access to 3,100 Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) for seamless banking services, the largest network in the country.
The merger expands the banking opportunities for customers in both local and international markets. Uzoma Dozie, Diamond Bank’s managing director has confirmed that the transaction will be completed in the first half of 2019, with the merger completion currently being subjected to shareholder and regulatory approvals.
The next phase is a journey to deliver an ambitious goal – a bank that is digital, innovative and nimble – with the intent to serve Africa, the global market, and to become Africa’s Gateway to the World.