Monday 17 December 2018

Access Bank Takes Over Diamond Bank

Prominent Nigerian commercial bank, Access Bank has reportedly acquired Diamond Bank.
After months of speculations over the future of Diamond Bank, TheCable quoted insiders as saying that the official announcement of the transaction will be made in the course of the week by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
It is believed that the acquisition was midwifed by the CBN in a bid to further consolidate the banking industry.
Also corroborating with the online newspaper, ThisDay reports that the two banks finally agreed to merge on Sunday, signing a Memorandum of Agreement, which if approved by the country’s apex bank and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), would move Access Bank, the principal partner, from number four to number two or number one in the nation’s banking hierarchy, if the current growth trajectory of Access Bank is maintained.

It was gathered that the boards of the two banks met at about 7pm, yesterday and passed the resolutions agreeing to merge subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals.

A reliable source close to the merger told the news platform emphatically, “The deal is done, what is left is for the Central Bank of Nigeria to stamp its seal of approval.”
Also speaking on the merger agreement last night, Access Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, told ThisDay.
“Access Bank has a strong track record of acquisition and integration which has a clear growth strategy.
“Access and Diamond Banks have complimentary operations and similar values. A merger with Diamond Bank with its leadership in digital and mobile-led retail banking could accelerate our banking strategy as a significant corporate and retail bank in Nigeria and a pan-African financial services champion.
“Access Bank has a strong financial profile with a robust capital of over 20 per cent CAR (capital adequacy ratio) as at 30 September, 2018.
“We believe that this platform, together with the two banks’ focus and innovative financial inclusion and sustainability will bring benefits to the shareholders of Access and Diamond Banks.”
Bear in mind that last week, Diamond Bank announced its decision to drop its international operating licence to focus on national operations following capitalisation issues.
The bank’s chief executive officer, Uzoma Dozie, had confirmed in a statement released on Friday that it would cease to operate as an international bank.
“The re-licensing as a national bank supports Diamond Bank’s objective of streamlining its operations to focus resources on the significant opportunities in the Nigerian retail banking market, and the economy as a whole,” he had said in a statement.
“The move follows Diamond Bank’s decision to sell its international operations, which included the disposal of its West African Subsidiary in 2017 and Diamond Bank UK, the sale of which is currently in its final stages.
“The change to national bank status also enables the bank to maintain a lower minimum capital requirement of 10 per cent, as against 15 per cent required for international banks.”

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