Nigeria’s Access Bank plans to launch in Asia in Q1 2024
Access Bank, a pan-African banking giant based in Lagos, is in the final stages of regulatory processes to introduce its inaugural full banking service in Asia during the first quarter of 2024, according to the CEO of its holding company quoted by Semafor Africa.
This move into the Asian market is a key component of a broader global expansion strategy. The bank aims to deepen its presence in Francophone Africa, foster stronger connections in North Africa, and extend its footprint across Europe. Access has already established wholesale banking operations in London and Paris, commencing operations in May.
Herbert Wigwe, the CEO of Access Holdings, the parent company of Access Bank, expressed optimism about receiving approval from monetary authorities "by this side of Christmas." Although Wigwe did not disclose the specific country for the bank's Asian launch to avoid preempting local regulators, he confirmed, "We will definitely be in Asia by the first quarter of next year."
Establishing a subsidiary in Asia presents an opportunity for the bank to cater to customers in the region, which stands as its largest non-African trading partner. Access Bank Group, with $26.5 billion in assets under management, will be in the company of South Africa's Standard Bank Group, boasting $161.53 billion in AUM, and TymeBank, a South African challenger fintech that has recently ventured into the Asian market. While Standard Bank has offices in Singapore and Dubai, TymeBank has expanded its operations to the Philippines. Access Bank Group's rapid expansion over the past five years has been noteworthy. Notably, it acquired the banking operations of Standard Chartered in Angola, Cameroon, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania. This move positions Access Bank Group strategically in these African markets. Beyond the continent, the bank adopts a corporate-to-corporate approach rather than engaging in retail banking with individual customers.