• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Access Bank plans to launch in Asia in first quarter of 2024

Access Holdings vests over N420million shares to directors

Access Bank, one of Africa’s biggest banks, is close to finalizing a regulatory process to launch its first full banking service in Asia in the first quarter of 2024, the chief executive of its holding company told Semafor Africa.

The Asian bank plan is part of a wider global expansion target which includes a strategy to expand more deeply into Francophone Africa, build closer ties with North Africa, and across Europe where it already has wholesale banking operations in London and Paris, which opened in May.

Herbert Wigwe, chief executive of Access Holdings, parent company of Access Bank, said he and his team expect to receive approval from monetary authorities “by this side of Christmas.” Wigwe declined to confirm the country in which the bank would launch in order to avoid preempting local regulators, but he added: “We will definitely be in Asia by the first quarter of next year.”

Access has used a wholesale banking model outside of Africa, which is a corporate to corporate approach rather than retail banking with individuals.

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Wigwe and his team have built Access from a small Nigerian operator into the largest banking group in the country through an aggressive and ambitious acquisitive approach. The lender accounts for 16% of the banking system’s assets at the end of 2022, according to ratings agency Fitch.

It has also expanded rapidly across the continent over the last half decade. Most recently, it snapped up the banking operations of Standard Chartered in Angola, Cameroon, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania.

Access, which had 21.3 trillion naira ($26.5 billion) in total assets on its balance sheet at the end of September, has seen its share price double on the Lagos stock exchange since the start of the year to give it a market capitalization of around 614 billion naira ($762 billion).