By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Top Nigerian banking group, Access Bank Plc, has said it intends to receive approvals from its shareholders and some regulators in order to commence operations at its new subsidiary in Cameroon.
Access Bank, a tier-one lender in Nigeria, created a subsidiary in the neighbouring Cameroon, with an initial capital of about XAF14.5 billion and the headquarters in Douala, the French speaking country’s economic capital.
It was gathered that the launch of Access Bank services cannot begin without the authorisations of the shareholders, the Ministry of Finance and the Central African Banking Commission (COBAC), an agency which regulates banking sector in Republic of the Congo, Cameroun, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic and Chad.
But already, the Nigerian lender has an administrative board for this subsidiary, comprising seven members with only one Cameroonian, the legal notice published for the creation indicates.
These members are Patience Melone, Iyabode Soji-Okusanya, Fatai Oladipo, Abraham Aziegbe, Ibukunoluwa Odegbaike, and Elliz Nzo Azu.
Created for a duration of 99 years, the bank has chosen Price Water House Coopers as its external auditor and will operate in the management of current accounts, savings collection, checks payment and credit granting.
If the necessary approvals are obtained and operations start, Access Bank will become the 16th commercial bank to operate in Cameroon and will meet one of its compatriots, United Bank of Africa (UBA), on that market.
The entry of Access Bank in the Cameroonian market comes some years after the departure of another Nigerian group, Oceanic Bank International.
Some years ago, Oceanic Bank International took over 54.5 percent of Union Bank of Cameroon’s (UBC) assets, saving it from bankruptcy.
However, in 2011, Ecobank had to buy Oceanic Bank International’s assets in UBC, which is a well-rooted bank in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon.
On January 15, 2019, an executive director of Access Bank, Mr Victor Etokwu, announced that apart from the Cameroonian subsidiary, the banking group would create subsidiaries in two other African countries in 2020, increasing the banking group’s subsidiaries in Africa to 18.
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