Access Bank to Open Asian Branch in Q1 2024

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By Adedapo Adesanya

One of Africa’s biggest financial institutions, Access Bank, is close to finalizing a regulatory process to launch its first full banking service in Asia in the first quarter of 2024.

This was disclosed by the chief executive of its holding company, Mr Herbert Wigwe, on the sidelines of the Africa Financial Industry Summit in Lomé, Togo, as per Semafor.

The Nigerian lender’s plan to enter the Asian market 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.

Mr Wigwe said he and his team expect to receive approval from monetary authorities “by this side of Christmas.”

He, however, declined to confirm the country in which the bank would launch in order to avoid breaking regulatory rules.

“We will definitely be in Asia by the first quarter of next year,” he told the publication.

This is the latest move after it bought the banking operations of Standard Chartered in Angola, Cameroon, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania in July.

Access Bank in the last five years have made top strides. In 2018, Access Bank’s ambitious growth strategy saw it merge with Diamond Bank, which was then Nigeria’s leading retail bank with 19 million customers, including 10 million mobile customers, and a strong reputation for data analytics and technological innovation.

Now, Access Bank is the largest bank in Nigeria and Africa’s leading bank by customer base. It has N21.3 trillion ($26.5 billion) in total assets on its balance sheet at the end of September 2023.

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