Access Bank History

Access Bank History

Our History

Over the past 26 years, Access Bank Plc. has evolved from an obscure Nigerian Bank into a world-class African financial institution. Today, we are one of the five largest banks in Nigeria in terms of assets, loans, deposits and branch network; a feat which has been achieved through a robust long-term approach to client solutions – providing committed and innovative advice.

Access Bank has built its strength and success in corporate banking and is now applying that expertise to the personal and business banking platforms it acquired from Nigeria’s International Commercial bank in 2012. The next two years were spent integrating the business, investing in infrastructure and strengthening the product offer.

As part of its continued growth strategy, Access Bank is focused on mainstreaming sustainable business practices into its operations. The Bank strives to deliver sustainable economic growth that is profitable, environmentally responsible, and socially relevant.

The Beginning (1988 – 2001)

1

  • December 19, 1988:
  • Access Bank was issued a banking licence
2

  • February 8, 1989:
  • Access Bank was incorporated as a privately owned commercial bank
3

  • May 11, 1989:
  • Access Bank commenced operations at its Burma Road, Apapa Head Office
4

  • March 24, 1998:
  • Access Bank became a Public Limited Liability Company
5

  • November 18, 1998:
  • Access Bank was listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange
6

  • February 5, 2001:
  • Access Bank obtained a Universal Banking License from the CBN

The Change

In March 2002, the Board of Directors appointed Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede as Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer and Herbert Wigwe as Deputy Managing Director. The mandate was clear: Reposition the bank as one of Nigeria’s leading financial institutions within a five year period (March 2002 to March 2007). This task was perceived by many as impossible given the realities of the Bank at the time.

Simultaneously, Mr. Gbenga Oyebode, who brought commendable and useful board experience gathered from some of Nigeria’s leading companies, including MTN Nigeria, Okomu Oil Palm Plc, was also appointed to the Board. The new management team subsequently created a transformational agenda for Access Bank which represented a departure from all that characterized the Bank in the past and became the road map for the conversion of the bank into a world class financial institution.

THE FOCUS WAS TO:
  • Assemble a credible and high caliber management team
  • Introduce a culture of excellence founded on professionalism and integrity
  • Ensure Human Capital Development
  • Enlarge the shareholder base
  • Introduce strong procedures and processes to drive day-to-day Bank activities
  • Instill a passion for customer service in all members of staff
  • Establish a low cost liability generation strategy
  • Expand branch network to cover all clearing zones within Nigeria
  • Create a world-class brand

The impact of the transformation agenda was reflected in the first year. The bank grew its balance sheet by 100% and posted an impressive N1 billion profit before tax. The profit before tax figure was more than the cumulative profit made by the bank in the previous 12 years. This also marked the beginning of what would be a six year record triple-digit growth trend. Similarly, earnings per share had rebounded to 21 kobo from a negative 2 kobo position, leading to a declaration of a 5 kobo dividend to shareholders for the first time in three years.

In recognition of the role of an enhanced capital structure, the Bank embarked on a capital raising exercise in July 2007. The exercise was an astounding success recording an over subscription of over 300%. The public offer comprised of an Over-The-Counter GDR placement of US$250 million which was similarly oversubscribed by 700%. The Bank’s shareholders fund today stands at over N240 billion with an expanded shareholder base of over 1,000,000 domestic and foreign investors.

Access Bank is consistently seeking for ways to expand its service platform across the African continent. The bank currently operates through a network of about 366 branches across major cities and commercial centers in Nigeria, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.

The impact of the transformation agenda was reflected in the first year. The bank grew its balance sheet by 100% and posted an impressive N1 billion profit before tax. The profit before tax figure was more than the cumulative profit made by the bank in the previous 12 years. This also marked the beginning of what would be a six year record triple-digit growth trend. Similarly, earnings per share had rebounded to 21 kobo from a negative 2 kobo position, leading to a declaration of a 5 kobo dividend to shareholders for the first time in three years.

Becoming the world’s most respected African Bank

Access Bank continued its impressive growth trend, both organically and by acquisition, and quickly became one of Nigeria’s leading corporate banks with a reputation for strong compliance, risk management and trade finance.   In 2012 it become a top five bank in Nigeria following its acquisition of Intercontinental Bank and began to build a pre-eminent position in retail as well as corporate banking.

By 2013 Access Bank had become AA- rated by S&P and was able to raise capital in the global bond markets, with its first successful US$350m Eurobond issuance taking place in July 2012.  Access Bank vowed to become the world’s most successful African Bank and embarked upon a new five year strategy focused on financial inclusion, women and youth as well as global trade finance, treasury and payments for the corporate sector.  Its sights were by now firmly set on becoming a top three bank in all the markets in which it operated.

Access Bank continued to build out its operations across the continent and in global trade hubs, determined to capture Africa’s trade flows with the rest of the world and within the continent.   In 2017 Access Bank set out its next five year strategy, focused creating a global payments infrastructure which would enable it to become Africa’s gateway to the world.

Building a strong retail bank which was digitally-led and omni-channel was a key pillar for Access Bank’s ambitious growth strategy, along with consolidating its strengths in corporate banking.  In 2018 it saw the opportunity to accelerate its five-year plan with the merger of Diamond Bank, Nigerian’s leading retail bank with 19 million customers, including 10 million mobile customers, and a strong reputation for data analytics and technological innovation.

Access Bank today is the largest bank in Nigeria and Africa’s leading bank by customer base.   It is a full service commercial bank operating through a network of more than 600 branches and service outlets, spanning three continents, 12 countries and 29 million customers. The Bank employs 28,000 thousand people in its operations in Nigeria, Sub Saharan Africa and the United Kingdom, with representative offices in China, Lebanon, India and the UAE.   It continues to look at opportunities to build its network in global trade and payment centres, helping Africa to play its part on the world stage.