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Access Bank completes acquisition of Zambia’s Atlas Mara

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Access Bank Zambia Limited, a subsidiary of Access Corporation, says it has acquired African Banking Corporation Zambia Limited, trading as Atlas Mara Zambia, after obtaining all requisite regulatory approvals.

The acquisition is in line with Access Bank’s bid to expand across Africa, which had seen it acquire majority equity in Angolan entity, Finibanco Angola S.A, a deal which was sealed in 2023.

The lender said in a statement on Tuesday that the Atlas Mara is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Access Bank Zambia, “Following this regulatory milestone, the two banks will continue to operate separately until all integration-related processes are finalised.”

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According to the statement, ‘’Once the merger is complete, the combined entities will become one of Zambia’s top five banks by revenue with prospects to be in the top three by 2027.’’

Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank Plc, Roosevelt Ogbonna, said, “This marks a significant milestone for Access Bank Plc as we work towards achieving our vision of being the world’s most respected African bank. We are poised for success by harmonising the robust brands, rich heritage, shared values, and best practices of both companies in creating opportunities that extend to all our stakeholders in Zambia and the SADC region.”

The CEO of Access Bank Zambia, Lishala Situmbeko, also speaking on the deal, said, “We are extremely pleased that this transaction has come to a close. By bringing together these two great businesses, we are creating a stronger, more competitive financial institution that will play a role in delivering on Zambia’s economic recovery. We look forward to leveraging the operational and cultural strengths of both businesses to benefit all stakeholders. As we continue to finalise the alignment of our products and services, we will ensure that our customers continue to enjoy the benefits of the broader product suite in the future.”

Upon full integration of the two banks, customers will have access to a total of over 60 branches, 5 cash centres, 8 agencies, more than 5,300 Tenga Express Agents and a network of over 240 ATMs across the country.

Corporate customers will benefit from a larger combined balance sheet, a broader international footprint and increased access to trade finance, treasury, international payments and loans via the wider distribution network of the enlarged bank which today spans three continents and 21 markets. Stakeholders will also benefit from Access Bank’s presence in the key trade corridors which connect Africa with the United Kingdom, UAE, China, Lebanon, France, Hong Kong and India.

According to the bank, SMEs will benefit from the existing banking proposition that is aimed at encouraging and supporting their growth ambitions.

‘’The Public sector will benefit from the enhanced focus on digitalization and ease of revenue collection. The combined company will create significant opportunities for our employees’ professional and career development through being part of a larger network both in the country and globally. Across Zambia, stakeholders will benefit from the presence of an African financial services group that, at its core, has been built on the foundation of ensuring that the communities within which it operates are better equipped to succeed.’’

Atlas Mara Acting Managing Director, Bobbline Cheembela, said, “Combining with Access Bank allows us to bring together the best qualities, capabilities and resources of both organisations. Atlas Mara’s expansive network and contribution to the public sector and capability in global markets and treasury, combined with Access Bank’s focus on SMEs and making trade finance, treasury, and corporate lending expertise available to Zambian MNCs and SMEs has not only created an industry leader, but a champion for our country. We now have a better rounded and more comprehensive skill set available to us as a combined business and this enables us to better serve our customers and other stakeholders.”

“Ultimately, we want to continue to deliver a holistic service offering that benefits our customers from a shared focus on financial inclusion and digital banking” Situmbeko concluded.

With the legal acquisition concluded, the two banks will work behind the scenes to ensure a smooth changeover once the merger concludes. In the interim, customers will continue to be serviced through their usual bank, Access Bank or Atlas Mara.

The company’s immediate focus is on integrating the two businesses and working towards operating as a single entity with a single staff complement as well as harmonized products and services.

The process for the acquisition of the Zambian bank started on October 25, 2021.

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