This is a new redesign: South African banks used to comb Nigerian banks’ balance sheets looking for opportunities. But these days, the story is that Nigerian banks are the ones pushing deeper into the continent. The latest one is that Access Bank, Africa’s largest bank by customer base, has received approvals from both Nigerian and South African regulators to acquire Grobank, a South African-operating bank. Press release below.
CEO of Access Bank, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, noted in the statement: “Today’s announcement represents significant progress in delivering on our strategic intent of becoming Africa’s Gateway to the World in pursuit of our vision to be the World’s Most Respected African Bank.”
The quest continues: “more than banking” promise to more than 100 million unique customers. Yet, it remains to be seen how running a bank in South Africa will make Access Bank better, in this age where banks are becoming technology companies, with the virtuous compounding network effects. Yes, within national boundaries, the opportunities tilt towards the largest banks which enjoy better marginal costs due to scale in the digital era.
Nonetheless, I must add that under AfCTFA, the free trade agreement, banks need national presence to deliver better services to customers. On that note, having operations in Africa’s second largest economy is a slam dunk!
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