At the just concluded Extraordinary General Meetings (EGMs) of both Access Bank Plc and Diamond Bank Plc held in Lagos, shareholders of both banks yesterday unanimously approved the merger of both financial institutions which aimed at creating a formidable force.
Mr Herbert Wigwe, Access Bank Chief Executive Officer, told the shareholders that the bank would be a continental force with 17 million retail customers from the merger and the most viable mobile payment platform while having a presence in 12 countries, 3,100 ATMs and nearly 32, 000 Point of Sale.
Wigwe said that the expected revenue and cost synergies were material and promise significant long term value. Wigwe said the bank, after the merger, would attract more opportunities such as trade finance from international partners.
“With the final merger of both banks and the status of the resulting entity as ‘the largest bank in Africa’s largest economy,’ this greatly bolsters the bank’s brand, opening doors of opportunity both in local and international markets,” he said.
Wigwe said the merger was expected to produce the largest banking group in Africa based on its number of customers with more than 29 million customers.
“The resulting entity which will maintain the brand name Access Bank, but with Diamond Bank colours, will have more than 29 million customers, 13 million of which are mobile customers,” he said.
“As a continental financial force, it is set to attract more opportunities such as trade finance from international partners seeking multinational lenders with local intelligence,” he said.
He said Diamond bank merging with “Access Bank also means, the former’s customers can enjoy access to the latter’s strong balance sheet, ubiquitous presence and solid operational structure.”
“Diamond Bank has a formidable retail business with the largest retail customer base in Nigeria – over 17 million customers. Diamond Bank also has a track record of customer acquisition and low-cost liabilities generation.
“The enlarged Access Bank will serve 27 million retail customers, almost double the number customers of any other bank in Nigeria and more than any other bank in Africa,
“Wigwe said. He noted that the enlarged Access Bank’s breath scale and product range will further accelerate the financial inclusion agenda that Access Bank and Diamond Bank had pursued separately.
Wigwe, however, assured enlarged shareholders of the bank that dividend would be more robust and consistent after the exercise. Mr Adebayo Adeleke of Independent Shareholders Association (ISAN) commended the management of Access Bank for not shortchanging shareholders on the scheme of the merger.
“Quite a lot of commendable things have been put in place and we hope the court will have no other reason not to agree on the merger,” Adeleke said.
Adeleke said that the shareholders were in support of the plan that would give birth to one of the largest banks in Africa.