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OBINNA EZUGWU

A leading Nigerian lender, Access Bank Plc, says it is on the verge of completing the acquisition of Botswana’s African Banking Corporation (BancABC Botswana).

In a statement to the Nigerian Exchange Limited on Monday, the bank said a definitive agreement is in place for it to acquire more than 78 per cent of the Botswana bank shares, held by Atlas Mara, a financial services group based in British Virgin Islands, in a transaction that would be completed in June.

The statement said, “BancABC Botswana is the fifth largest Bank in Botswana and is a very well-capitalised banking institution poised for growth and success in its local market.

“The bank has been perennially profitable, given an existing high-quality retail loan book with opportunities and scope for diversification and further expansion into corporate and SME lending.”

Access Bank, now Nigeria’s biggest bank by assets base, has been stepping up plans to be a key player in retail banking to complement its core strength in the corporate segment of the industry since its strategic purchase of Diamond Bank in 2019.

The bank’s managing director, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, further said it would count on the uptake of digital banking in Botswana to deepen financial inclusion in the Southern African country.

“The establishment of Access Bank through this acquisition in the Republic of Botswana will position the bank to deliver a more complete set of banking solutions to its clients active in across the SADC and COMESA regions,” said Wigwe

The acquisition comes barely a month after Access acquired the controlling stake in Grobank of South Africa, as the bank moves to strengthen its foothold on the continent.

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