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Access Bank Plc merger with Diamond Bank to create Nigeria’s largest lender by April

by Milicent Atieno
access bank plc diamond bank

Here is some news both small and large businesses in Nigeria looking for credit would like to hear. Nigeria is about to get a bigger lender (the biggest in the country) when Access Bank Plc and Diamond Bank merge their banking services.

The merger was slated to happen sometime in June 2019. However, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday, January 17, gave the ‘okay’ for the merger. Now the two banks are moving in a heist to merge their operations and have decided to push forward the merger date to sometime in April 2019.

During a conference on Thursday, Herbert Wigwe, the CEO at Access Bank lauded the green light from the CBN, saying the bank will now cancel the planned N75 million rights issues. Since the CBN no longer requires it as the minimum capital threshold.

Through this merger, the Access Bank’s assets will increase by at least N6.10 trillion ($16.9 billion). Effectively making Access Bank the biggest lender in Nigeria by asset, and taking that title away from Zenith Bank, which currently has assets worth at N5.5 trillion.

Access Bank shares on the rise

At the close of business yesterday, the Access Bank shares stood at N6 at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). That was a 6.2% increase, while the shares of the Diamond Bank rose by 0.5% to close at N2.10.access bank plc diamond bank

The decision to acquire Diamond Bank Plc for Access Bank was announced in December 2018. Following the decision by Diamond Bank to drop its international operating license, and then focus only on national operations due to capitalization issues.

Wigwe said the merging of Access Bank and Diamond Bank will enable the bank “to take and solve customers’ issues right from the wholesale end, down to the man in the village, just because of the use of technology.”

It should be noted that Access Bank already has acquired another bank, the Intercontinental Bank, back in 2011. So it boasts of M&A expertise within the banking space in Nigeria. Wigwe reaffirmed bank’s expertise in M&A last year during the Access Bank World Press Conference when he said:

For us, we have built a very strong capability as far as mergers and acquisitions are concerned. One of the benefits we have is the fact that having done it before, we have learned from the mistakes of the past and the benefits of what had been.

So, integrating Diamond Bank is going to be better than all the ones we have done in the past. The Intercontinental Bank transaction gave us the learning point we needed as far as this transaction is concerned.”

The super CEO that is Herbert Wigwe

Herbert Wigwe took the CEO mantle at Access Bank in 2013, and it is under his stewardship that the bank has grown to reach new heights. Currently, the bank easily ranks among the top five banks in Nigeria, and among the top 1,000 in the globe.

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