Access Bank South Africa, which launched yesterday (14 June 2021), expands the Nigeria-based bank’s footprint in Africa.

Access Bank CEO Herbert Wigwe points out that the SADC region represents the strongest economy on the African continent. “This means Access Bank SA is firmly seated in one of the principal geographical areas apart from Nigeria, in terms of the size of the economy, and unlocks the gateway to the entire southern African region.”

He adds that the opening of the South African subsidiary cements the bank’s commitment to sub-Saharan Africa as a portal for exceptional banking opportunities across the continent.

Access Bank is the largest bank in Nigeria, with a presence across the continent as well as in Europe and the Middle East. It has entered the South African market through the purchase of Grobank (previously Bank of Athens).

Bennie van Rooy, MD of Access Bank South Africa, says the move is critical for Access Bank in expanding its footprint, and offers numerous benefits for the South African operation as well.

These include a broad understanding of the African market, digital onboarding and offerings and the ability to service SMME customers.

“We work in an over-traded and very competitive banking space,” Van Rooy points out. “To compete in this markets, we are taking our specialised customer service and combining it with Access Bank’s product and services.”

The local operation will add retail banking, with at least three branches – possibly four – expected to be opened before the end of this year. Entry-level and first-time banking customers are the initial target market, as well as the African diaspora.

For corporate banking customers, Van Rooy believes Access Bank is well-positioned to help companies operating across Africa to transaction across borders.

“As part of the robust Access Bank family, the South African operations look forward to contributing meaningfully to the achievements and ambitions of the group,” he says. “In offering a full suite of financial service products to a market we understand in depth, Access Bank SA is delighted to grow the family footprint.”

Wigwe says the group continues to focus on building relationships, as a partner in both businesses and in communities it serves. “It’s vital that our banking solutions give clients the advantage they need to grow sustainably, with access to smart solutions that help them reach greater goals.”