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  Access Corporation is making a foray into the digital lending space, with its imminent launch of Oxygen X, a consumer lending arm of its business. Information recently made public suggests that it has secured approval in principle from the Central Bank to begin operating in Nigeria.
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Details contained in a disclosure on the NGX website say that the new platform will commence operations after final approval is given by the apex bank. The disclosure, signed by Sunday Ekwochi, Company Secretary at Access Corporation, states that Oxygen X would provide “innovative and seamless digital lending solutions to address distinct challenges faced by individuals and businesses”.

The Details

Oxygen X is, in fact, a rebrand of Quickbucks, an existing app owned by Access Corporation. Observers believe that the transition to Oxygen X is designed to achieve several goals. One is the capture of a larger segment of the market, extending beyond the bank’s customer base. Closely tied to this is the apparent desire by the leaders at Access Bank to play in what is a huge consumer credit ecosystem, currently worth more than ₦3 trillion (according to the CBN). When launched, Oxygen X will be competing with such large companies as OPay, Carbon, and Fairmoney. Going toe-to-toe with these firms would require substantial resources; Access Corporation, being the parent company of Nigeria’s largest bank by asset base, seems able to take these entities on with its lender.
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Other traditional financial institutions have tried to operate in the FinTech space, but have primarily done so with payments ventures (Access has one: Hydrogen). Access Corporation is the first to take a bite at consumer lending. Others could follow over time, perhaps depending on whether Oxygen X proves to be a success or not.

Access Corporation’s Ambitions

This move by Access fits in with its ambitious aim to dominate finance within and beyond Nigeria. Under its Group CEO, Herbert Wigwe, it has initiated a major merger (with the former Diamond Bank), several acquisitions across Africa, and expansions into fresh financial products and platforms. Following a transition to a holding company structure, Access Corporation has set its sights on becoming an internationally relevant financial institution. Besides establishing a stronger presence in Africa, it is also targeting the Asian market.
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Oxygen X will be active in a niche that has a mixed record concerning lender-consumer relations. In recent times, the Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), which regulates lenders in this domain, has had to weigh in on instances of alleged abuse of customer rights by loan sharks. Oxygen X will be looking to avoid entanglements of this sort after it launches.
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This article was first published on 17th January 2024 and updated on January 20th, 2024 at 10:44 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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