Access Bank is one of the few financial institutions in Nigeria today that has weathered the storm of an increasingly changing and volatile business environment.
The bank has consistently ensured that its subsequent leaders are a crop of people who would maintain its focus and build on the sustainable growth the company has recorded, so far. They have upheld the best traditional practices of the bank, while embracing new priorities.The group has leveraged on its digital capability and innovative payments solutions to take the business to the next level as part of its expansion strategy. Access Bank’s management has championed the need for increased digital banking and has forged partnerships aimed at nurturing the next generation of fintechs, while also developing products to support digital payments across Africa.
Many years back, Access Bank was ranked 65th in size out of 89 banks in the country when its proud owners Wigwe and his business partner, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, acquired it in 2002. After then, the bank through a series of strategic mergers and acquisitions over the years emerged Nigeria’s biggest bank. It is briskly becoming one of the top financial institutions in Africa. Wigwe took over from Aig-Imoukhuede as the bank’s MD/CEO in 2014 and has been driving its expansion, both in terms of footprint and product diversification, ever since.
According to statistics, Access bank currently serves over 4m individual and corporate account-holders through over 600 branches and more than 3,000 ATMs in major centres across Nigeria, sub-Saharan Africa, and the UK. It is now ranked among the top five banks in Nigeria in terms of assets, loans, deposits and branch network.In 2005, it acquired Marina Bank and Capital Bank and a few years later, it acquired the shares of Omnifinance Bank. It took a leap forward with the 2011 acquisition of Intercontinental Bank.But the deal that really set it ahead of the pack in terms of size was the 2019 acquisition of Diamond Bank, another top-tier Nigerian institution, in a deal worth $200m.Its quest to increase its global footprint has birthed subsidiaries in Ghana, Sierra Leone and the Gambia in West Africa and beyond, in Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Zambia.
As of June 2020, the bank serviced more than 36m customers across the continent. It also has an operation in the UK and representative offices in China, India, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. Access Bank, has won several awards and recognitions including the Agriculture Deal of the Year for the deal that has made the most impact, for its role in helping Singapore commodities trader Olam develop its rice operations in Nigeria.Just like Wigwe, an equally cerebral banking mogul, Roosevelt Ogbonna has been appointed as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank, Nigeria’s largest lender by asset. Herbert Wigwe has been appointed the Group MD/CEO of Access Holdings Plc.
Ogbonna’s appointment is a strategic one that will contribute to the steady growth of the financial institution. He has since 2017 been Access Bank’s deputy managing director, a position that has prepared him for this exalted stool. Prior to 2017, he was appointed executive director, commercial banking division, in October 2013. The new MD was described as “a thoroughbred and consummate professional with over two decades of banking experience having joined Access Bank in 2002 from Guaranty Trust Bank. Ogbonna has a very rich professional cum academic background. He is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, an honorary member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Senior Executive Fellow programme, an alumnus of Harvard Business School and a CFA charter holder.
He holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from IMD Business School, Switzerland; a Master’s degree (LL.M) in International Corporate & Commercial Law from King’s College, London; an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration from Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business; and a Bachelor’s degree in Banking and Finance from University of Nigeria, Nsukka.”Judging by Access Bank’s antecedents, the appointment of Ogbonna must have undergone a thorough and careful selection. He must have been selected based on his exceptionally rich, professional, academic, and corporate board experiences, which are all relevant to the needs of the board. The Board had written, “We are deeply convinced that their skills will no doubt continue to add significant value to our bank’s quest to become Africa’s Gateway to the world.” Hopefully, under his supervision as the MD, Access Bank will further revolutionise the payment and banking landscape in Africa, and introduce a new payment system that will allow users to enjoy more secured, seamless and convenient service when making payments at merchant locations without cash or card.
Hopefully, under his leadership, the bank will still stay on its path to decisively tap into the digital space, establishing the Africa FinTech Foundry (AFF), a tech hub designed to act as an accelerator for the bank.Congratulations to the brand new MD!
Olamide Adeniji is a member of the editorial team of TheScript Newspaper