Nigeria’s Access and Diamond Bank Sign Agreement to Merge
Access Bank and Diamond Bank on Sunday, 16 December 2018, ended months of speculations over their future when they finally agreed to merge.
According to report, if the Memorandum of Understanding is approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and the success record of Access Bank, the principal partner is maintained, the bank could move from number four to number two or one in the nation’s banking hierarchy.
According to a reliable source close to the merger talks, told THISDAY that the boards of the two banks met and passed the resolutions agreeing to merge subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals.
Back in October 2018, it was reported that there were moves by Diamond Bank to seek fresh funds to help it shore up its capital base and shepherd it out of the headwinds it was experiencing.
THISDAY also reported the decision of some of its directors, including the chairman, Mr. Seyi Bickersteth, to stand down, paving the way for new investors.
Sources also told THISDAY, that Diamond’s Group Managing Director, Mr. Uzoma Dozie, was to steer the transition period and prepare for his own resignation now expected once the merger is concluded.
One of Nigeria’s retail banking champions, Diamond Bank had recently faced headwinds with non-performing loans and profitability, as it faced challenges with its lending to indigenous oil sector, following the collapse of oil prices.
On the other hand, sources confirmed that Access Bank looking to expand its own frontiers cashed in on the opportunity and made its move, which culminated in the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding.
Access Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, who commented on the merger told THISDAY, “Access Bank has a strong track record of acquisition and integration which has a clear growth strategy”.
He said that “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”.