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  Nigeria’s Access Bank is continuing its expansion into the rest of Africa with its acquisition of an 80% stake in Uganda’s Finance Trust Bank. Access Holding, the parent company of Access Bank, made this known through a disclosure published on the website of the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX). The deal is subject to ratification by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Bank of Uganda.
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This comes on the heels of Uganda’s introduction of new capital requirements for commercial banks in the country. Finance Trust Bank is set to benefit from Access Bank’s robust resources, including a substantial capital injection, which will enable it to abide by the new rule. It will also be able to leverage Access Bank’s existing technology and pan-African reach.

Further Details Concerning the Deal

Sunday Ekwochi, Secretary at Access Holdings, explained that the acquisition involved Access Bank and institutional investors of Finance Trust Bank. The deal, which should be closed within the first half of 2024, will see them exit, delivering a controlling stake to their Nigerian counterparts. Access Bank already has a presence in more than 20 countries. Its latest acquisition will strengthen its place in East Africa, as Finance Trust is a tier-one bank and fairly well regarded in the region. Roosevelt Ogbonna, Managing Director at Access Bank, said this while commenting on the deal. Mr Ogbonna said that Uganda was crucial to trade in East Africa and that establishing a presence in the country would allow Access Bank to take advantage of the growing potential for even more commercial activity there.
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“With the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, these corridors will continue to expand, and by deploying our best-in-class financial solutions, we are strategically positioned to deliver value to our stakeholders,”
Mr. Ogbonna noted.

Access Bank’s Plan to Dominate African Finance

Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings, Herbert Wigwe, said that the move by its subsidiary fit in with its five-year strategic plan, which entailed becoming a globally relevant financial institution. He explained that, besides aiding the economic prosperity of Africa, its strategy would make it an important player on the African finance scene.
“The expansion to Uganda will support the realization of our aspiration to become Africa’s payment gateway to the world,”
Mr. Wigwe said. Founded in 1984 as Uganda Women’s Finance Trust (an NGO which provided loans and deposit facilities to low-income women), Finance Trust Bank morphed into a commercial bank in 2013. It currently serves half a million clients, about 40% of them being women.
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Access Bank’s acquisition of a majority stake in Finance Trust Bank is the latest in a series of purchases it has made in recent times. Earlier this month, it announced that it had completed the acquisition of African Banking Corporation Zambia Limited (Atlas Mara Zambia). Also in January, it took over Megatech Insurance Brokers, a Nigerian insurance brokerage firm.
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This article was first published on 17th January 2024 and updated on January 20th, 2024 at 11:06 pm


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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