By Obinna Chima
Diamond Bank Plc said it had concluded plan to sell its West African banking operations in order to focus on Nigeriaâ€™s significant retail banking opportunity.
According to a statement yesterday, the bank has agreed to sell its operations in Benin, Togo, Cote dâ€™Ivoire and Senegal to Manzi Finances S.A., a Cote dâ€™Ivoire-based financial services holding company.
It further revealed that regulatory approvals had been obtained in all jurisdictions for the transaction, which it anticipated would close beforeÂ December 31, 2017.
â€œBy focusing its resources exclusively on Nigeria, Diamond Bank is poised to capitalise on the positive macro fundamentals inherent in the Nigerian market.
â€œThese include Africaâ€™s largest economy and evolving socio-economic trends driven by changing lifestyle preferences in favour of mobile delivered services, and a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship,â€ the statement added.
Commenting on the transaction, Diamond Bankâ€™s CEO Uzoma Dozie said: â€œAfter 18 years of building the Diamond Bank franchise in other markets in West Africa, the time has come to fully apply our resources to Nigeria.â€ This, Dozie said aligns with Diamond Bankâ€™s strategic objective: to be the fastest growing and most profitable technology-driven retail banking franchise in Nigeria.
He added: â€œWe are prioritising the Nigerian market because of its vast potential. A large segment of the population is under-banked or unbanked and the use of technology and mobile banking is rising exponentially.
â€œThis provides Diamond Bank with the opportunity to reach millions of people, and facilitate financial inclusion on an exceptional scale.
â€œIn addition, Diamond Bank already has a foundation for growth in Nigeria with over 15 million customers. We also have a framework in Nigeria that will allow us to scale rapidly, efficiently and cost effectively.