Access Bank Plc, Nigeria’s leading financial institution, is embarking on an ambitious expansion strategy, actively seeking additional acquisitions to broaden its presence beyond its domestic market.
Just days after finalizing the acquisition of Standard Chartered Plc’s operations in Angola, Cameroon, Gambia, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania, Access Bank is poised to extend its reach to at least 17 markets across Africa.
The recently undisclosed deals not only expand Access Bank’s operations in countries where it is already established but also reinforce its commitment to facilitating trade and payment networks across the continent.
CEO Roosevelt Ogbonna, during an interview in London, described the bank’s vision to “build a railroad across the continent” by entering new markets and consolidating its presence through strategic partnerships and acquisitions.
While Access Bank has made significant inroads in various African nations, it remains largely absent in French-speaking African countries and to bridge this obvious gap, the bank plans to replicate its successful expansion strategy in these markets as soon as suitable opportunities arise.
In May, Access Bank took a significant step towards this objective by opening an office in Paris.
For Standard Chartered, these disposals represent a fulfillment of their plan to exit seven African and Middle Eastern markets, enabling them to focus on larger, high-growth economies such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Looking ahead, Access Bank has expressed its willingness to engage in further discussions with Standard Chartered should the bank choose to exit markets where Access Bank is already present.
Ogbonna emphasized their close partnership and stated that Access Bank would be the preferred counterpart institution for such deals.
Turning to domestic matters, Ogbonna commented on President Bola Tinubu’s recent policies aimed at liberalizing the exchange rate regime and eliminating fuel subsidies. While acknowledging the short-term challenges arising from these measures, including a 40% immediate depreciation of the local currency, the naira, Ogbonna affirmed their necessity.
He noted that business activity may temporarily slow due to increased costs, which cannot be fully passed on to the market.
Despite the devaluation, Access Bank remains confident in its ability to meet regulatory capital adequacy requirements. Ogbonna explained that the bank’s capital adequacy ratio, currently at 19.6% as of the end of 2022, comfortably exceeds the minimum threshold of 15% for lenders with international operations.
He further stated that Access Bank’s internal limits are set higher than regulatory thresholds, ensuring a solid financial position for the institution.
With $28.8 billion in assets as of March 2022, Access Bank continues to demonstrate its commitment to growth and financial resilience. As the bank forges ahead with its expansion plans and seeks new opportunities, its strong performance and strategic vision position it as a key player in Africa’s dynamic banking landscape.
Access Bank, Others Collect N154 Billion in Electronic Banking Fees in H1’23, a 16.7% YoY Surge
In the first half of 2023, customers of Nigeria’s top nine commercial banks paid a whopping N154 billion in fees for utilizing electronic banking services, reflecting a robust 16.7% year-on-year increase compared to H1’22’s N131.97 billion.
The data, extracted from the financial statements of these banks, underscores the escalating trend of Nigerians embracing electronic payment channels.
Leading the pack in revenue generation from these fees is Access Bank, amassing N43.9 billion, followed by United Bank for Africa Plc (N51.07 billion), Zenith Bank (N22.27 billion), Guaranty Trust Bank (N21.2 billion), and others like Stanbic IBTC (N2.14 billion), First City Monument Bank (N7.4 billion), Unity Bank (N1.96 billion), Fidelity Bank (N1.85 billion), and Wema Bank (N3.13 billion).
Electronic banking services encompass a gamut of options, including internet banking, mobile banking, ATMs, and Point of Sale (PoS) systems.
Recent data from the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) for Q1’23 indicates a substantial surge in electronic transactions.
Transaction volume increased by 209% YoY to 4.7 billion, and transaction value grew by 48% YoY to N137.52 trillion.
The nine banks collectively raked in N66.7 billion in account maintenance fees and commissions during H1’23, reflecting a 14.7% YoY rise.
Zenith Bank led this category with N21.02 billion, trailed by Access Bank (N13.36 billion), Guaranty Trust Bank (N10.5 billion), and United Bank of Africa (N9.6 billion).
Overall, the banks’ cumulative net fees and commission income registered a substantial 20.7% YoY growth, reaching N448.47 billion in H1’23 from N371.43 billion in H1’22.
Access Holdings Posts 52.6% Profit for the First Half of the Year
Parent Company of Access Bank Celebrates Remarkable Financial Performance in H1’23
Access Holdings Plc, the parent company of Access Bank, has reported a 58.9 percent surge in gross revenue to N940.3 billion for the first half of 2023.
The financial services giant also recorded remarkable growth in Profit Before Tax (PBT) and Profit After Tax (PAT) at 71.4 percent and 52.6 percent, respectively, culminating in N167.6 billion for PBT and N135.4 billion for PAT during the same period.
These financial milestones were unveiled as part of Access Holdings’ Audited Consolidated and Separate Financial Statements for the period concluding on June 30, 2023.
The driving force behind this unprecedented growth can be attributed to a potent combination of factors. A 63.0 percent growth in interest income and a 51.9 percent increase in non-interest income fueled the surge in gross revenue.
Access Holdings also witnessed a 35 percent year-to-date growth in customer deposits, capping the first half of 2023 at an impressive N12.5 trillion. This remarkable achievement encompassed all business segments, reinforcing the Group’s status as Nigeria’s largest financial institution by total assets.
The company’s total assets grew by 39.0 percent year-on-year to N20.9 trillion while shareholders’ funds surged by 40.6 percent to N1.7 trillion.
These astounding figures underline the Group’s ability to generate value from a diversified business portfolio, spanning banking, asset management, and payment services.
Herbert Wigwe, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings Plc, commented on the company’s positive performance, saying, “Our growth plans for the African continent remain firm and clear, driven by the strong long-term growth prospects and trade opportunities seen across many of the countries.”
He went on to emphasize the company’s commitment to its 5-year cyclical strategy, stating, “Our primary objective remains to transform Access Holdings Plc into a leading financial and ecosystem player, fostering opportunities for shared prosperity among all stakeholders.”
Central Bank of Nigeria Postpones 293rd Monetary Policy Committee Meeting
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the postponement of its 293rd Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, originally scheduled for September 25th and 26th, 2023.
Dr. Isa AbdulMumin, the bank’s Director of Corporate Communications, released a statement on Thursday confirming the decision.
In the statement, Dr. AbdulMumin stated, “The Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria has deferred its 293rd meeting, which was initially planned for Monday and Tuesday, September 25th and 26th, 2023, respectively. A new date will be communicated in due course. We regret any inconvenience this change may cause our stakeholders and the general public.”
While the CBN did not provide an official reason for the postponement, some industry experts suggest it may be related to the pending approvals for the newly appointed governor and deputy governors of the bank.
President Bola Tinubu recently nominated Yemi Cardoso as the potential head of the CBN. Additionally, Tinubu has endorsed the nominations of four new deputy governors for the apex bank, who are expected to serve for an initial term of five years, pending confirmation by the Senate.
The nominated deputy governors are Emem Usoro, Muhammad Abdullahi-Dattijo, Philip Ikeazor, and Bala Bello. However, the appointment of the CBN governor is contingent upon Senate confirmation, which is currently on a yearly recess.
The CBN assures stakeholders and the public that the rescheduled MPC meeting date will be communicated promptly as soon as it is confirmed.
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