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Access Bank Targets Top Spot in Africa Next 5 Years

**To Grow Customer, SME Client Base

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

One of the tier one lenders in Nigeria, Access Bank Plc, has set a target of becoming Africa’s gateway to the world in the next five year.

Group Managing Director of the financial institution, Mr Herbert Wigwe, made this known on Monday while presenting the bank’s new five-year strategy.

Access Bank offers full commercial banking services across Sub-Saharan Africa, the UK, Asia and the Middle East.

The new 5-year strategy hopes to accelerate this growth to position Access Bank as the number one Nigerian bank by 2022 and create a Universal Payments Gateway to dominate international trade and inter-African payments.

“Five years ago, we set the ambitious goal to attain top three positions in our chosen markets. Today, we are a strong, diversified institution with a consolidated top tier position in our sector.

“We are setting out a new and ambitious five-year strategy which will put Access Bank at the forefront of Africa’s changing financial landscape by creating a Universal Payments Gateway to dominate international trade and inter-African payments.

“Our strategy will mean that by 2022, millions of people will have access to banking services for the first time. Customers will make payments and transfers when and how they need to. Businesses will be able to trade in new markets and invest in new technology.

“We recognise that we have a vital role to play in growing Nigeria, our largest market. Our global footprint is also changing and growing. As a result of our strategy, we will be in the Africa corridor trade hubs and the global gateway markets within five years.

“This next phase of our transformation journey will deliver our most ambitious goal yet, a bank that is digital, innovative and nimble. A bank underpinned by the highest standards of risk and compliance. A bank that serves Africa and the world. Our ambition is to become Africa’s gateway to the world,” Mr Wigwe revealed.

The new strategy has six strategic levers: digitally led, retail banking growth and consolidation in wholesale markets, customer focused, analytics driven with robust risk management, strong global collaboration in key gateway markets, and the creation of a universal payments gateway.

Access Bank chief explained that to deliver the transformation, the lender will adopt a new organisational structure. The retail bank will have a customer segment focus, driven by digital and payments.

The corporate bank will build deep sector expertise and deploy global relationship managers. Access Bank’s subsidiaries will be organised around strategic clusters, with strong collaboration between them to secure trade finance and correspondent banking.

The bank’s transformation programme will be underpinned by robust risk management together with high levels of automation to enhance the compliance and risk functions and drive customer insights.

In next phase of its transformation programme, Access Bank will embark on a series of bold initiatives.

At home, the goal is to be the number one bank in Nigeria by growing the retail customer base, SME client base, and by dominating the top 100 Nigerian corporates.

Internationally, it will develop an integrated global franchise by strategically developing its presence in key African markets, enhancing collaboration in global financial gateways including London and New York, Asia and the Middle East, and strengthening its trade hubs in India, Dubai and China.

A strengthened presence in key African markets, and the creation of Universal Payments Gateway combined with an integrated global franchise, ideally positions Access Bank to be Africa’s Gateway to the World.

From 2013 to November 2017, Access Bank has increased its total assets at a CAGR of 18 percent and delivered shareholder returns of 90 percent.

The bank has also grown its customer base from 90,000 in 2002 to over 8 million in 2017 and in the same period opened 351 new branches.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN’s Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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