Access Bank Expands Reach in Africa, Signs Deal to Buy Standard Chartered’s Subsidiaries in 5 Countries

Nume Ekeghe

Standard Chartered Bank and Access Bank Plc have entered into agreements for the sale of Standard Chartered’s shares in its subsidiaries in Angola, Cameroon, The Gambia, and Sierra Leone, and its Consumer, Private and Business Banking business in Tanzania, to Access Bank.
The announcement was made at Standard Chartered’s Headquarters in London yesterday in the presence of senior representatives from both banks, including the Regional Chief Executive Officer, Africa and Middle East, Standard Chartered Sunil Kaushal, and Group Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, Roosevelt Ogbonna.

A statement issued by Standard Chartered after the signing ceremony said the agreement with Access for the sale of the bank’s business in Sub-Saharan Africa was in line with its global strategy, aimed at achieving operational efficiencies, reducing complexity, and driving scale.

It said each transaction remains subject to the approval of the respective local regulators and the banking regulator in Nigeria.
“Access Bank will provide a full range of banking services and continuity for key stakeholders including employees and clients of Standard Chartered’s businesses across the five aforementioned countries. Access Bank and Standard Chartered will work closely together in the coming months to ensure a seamless transition, with the transaction expected to be completed over the next 12 months,” said Standard Chartered in the statement.

Commenting on the agreement, Kaushal said: “Following on from the announcement we made in April last year, the project is now substantially completed with the announcement for the sale of the five markets and the furtherance of a partnership with Access Bank. This strategic decision allows us to redirect resources within the AME region to other areas with significant growth potential, ultimately enabling us to better support our clients.
“We look forward to working closely with Access Bank’s team over the coming months to achieve a successful conclusion to this transaction while safeguarding the interests of our valued clients and prioritising our employees.”

Remarking on the deal, Ogbonna stated, “We are pleased to sign this agreement today and express our appreciation for being selected as the preferred partner to Standard Chartered through this transaction, in which it is exiting four African markets and refocusing on one. As a distinguished regional and international bank with a rich heritage spanning over 150 years, Standard Chartered Bank has built a solid presence in these markets for over 100 years.
“For Access Bank, this strategic transaction represents a key step in its journey to build a strong global franchise focused on serving as a gateway for payments, investment, and trade within Africa and between Africa and the rest of the world, anchored by a robust capital base; a relentless focus on execution; and best-in-class customer service and governance structures.

“At Access Bank, we are committed to reshaping the global perception of Africa and African businesses, even as we continue to build toward our vision to be the World’s Most Respected African Bank. Our 5-year growth plan will see us build a world-class payments gateway, leveraging the power of technology and a robust network of relationships across our operating countries. This will be supported by a dynamic ecosystem of local and international partnerships, enabling us to serve global payments and remittances efficiently.

“With our recent European expansion and our deepened presence in key trading corridors across Africa, we will bridge the gap between cross-border and domestic transfers across all business segments. More importantly, we are committed to impacting our host communities positively.”
Standard Chartered had in April 2022 revealed plans to divest from several markets, including Lebanon, Angola, Cameroon, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, and Jordan. Additionally, the bank planned to exit the CPBB (Consumer Private and Business Banking) business in Côte d’Ivoire and Tanzania. It announced the sale of its business in Zimbabwe in June and in Jordan in March of this year.

With the latest announcement, Standard Chartered has achieved significant progress in completing the divestment process for the markets identified in April 2022. However, the bank noted that they are actively engaging in discussions with potential buyers for the sale of its CPBB business in Côte d’Ivoire.
Access Bank and Standard Chartered are expected to work closely in the coming months to ensure a seamless transition, with the transactions expected to be completed over the next 12 months.

Majority Equity in BancABC Tanzania

Access Bank in its own statement yesterday on the Standard Chartered deal, added that it had also entered into a definitive agreement for the acquisition of a majority equity stake in African Banking Corporation (Tanzania) Limited – BancABC Tanzania
It said: “BancABC Tanzania, a fully-service commercial bank with over two decades of operations in Tanzania, is expected to consolidate the CPBB business onto its platform.
“Tanzanian banking regulators has granted approval in favour of the BancABC acquisition and further regulatory approvals are anticipated in due course for the transaction, including from the Central Bank of Nigeria.”

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