Shareholders Endorse Access Bank, Diamond Bank Merger

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Goddy Egene

Shareholders of Access Bank Plc and Diamond Bank Plc yesterday approved the merger of the two financial institutions aimed at creating a leading retail bank. The shareholders gave the approval at separate extraordinary general meetings (EGMs) held in Lagos.

Speaking to the shareholders, the Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank, Mr. Herbert Wigwe said the merger with Diamond Bank would enable Access Bank to acquire a bank with 17 million retail customers and the most viable mobile payment platform.

Wigwe said the expected revenue and cost synergies were material, which he said would translate to significant long term value for shareholders and other stakeholders.

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 estimated at 29 million.

He said: “The resulting entity which will maintain the brand name Access Bank, but with Diamond Bank colour, will have more than 29 million customers, 13 million of which are mobile customers. The bank would be a continental force with presence in 12 countries, 3,100 ATMS and nearly 32, 000 Point of Sale. 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 explained that Diamond Bank merging with Access Bank merging also means customers of the former can enjoy access to the latter’s strong balance sheet, ubiquitous presence and solid operational structure.

“Diamond Bank has 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 liabilirties 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.

Some of the shareholders, who spoke at the EGM hailed the merger. For instance,

Mr. Adebayo Adeleke of Independent Shareholders Association (ISAN) commended the management of Access Bank for not short changing shareholders on the scheme of the merger.

“Quite a lot of commendable things have been put in place and we hope court will have no other reason not to agree on the merger.We are here to make sure we sanction this wedding and hope to see a marriage of a formidable force,” he said.