Lagos, Nigeria – January 31, 2012 Access Bank Plc today announces the completion of its acquisition of Intercontinental Bank as the two financial institutions merged into a single entity. This comes after all the relevant regulatory, judicial and shareholder approvals have been granted. Consequently, upon gazetting, Intercontinental Bank stands dissolved without being wound up and all its assets and liabilities are now vested in Access Bank Plc. This transaction creates a formidable Nigerian financial institution comfortably positioned in the top 4 ranking of the country's financial institutions by most metrics.
Similarly, the merger has repositioned the Nigerian banking sector on the African continent as the combined entity has the potential of ranking amongst Africa's top 10 banks according to The Bankers' Magazine's review of top African banks in its current edition. Some salient facts about the combined entity are presented below:
Customer Base: 5.7 million
Branch network: 309
Asset Base: N2, 018,018,714,000
Capital Adequacy ratio: 18.55%
Liquidity Ratio: 76%
Speaking on the merger, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Group Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Access Bank Plc said:
“The conclusion of this transaction is a significant step forward for the Nigerian banking sector ; it has preserved thousands of Nigerian jobs, protected the savings of millions of Nigerian citizens and lays the foundation for the creation of a truly great, African bank. It brings together the proven prudential management of Access Bank and the extensive geographical footprint of Intercontinental Bank, with one of the largest networks of branches and ATMs.”
“All our people have worked hard to deliver this successful integration and the speed and efficiency with which it has been accomplished is testament to the quality of our management team. Importantly, our customers have experienced minimal disruption and we would like to express our sincere appreciation to them for enabling this successful combination”.
The 5.7 million customers of the combined bank will benefit from a product range which blends the very best of both Access and Intercontinental Banks products. Customers will also benefit from an expanded network of 309 branches along with a network of 1600 ATMs across Nigeria. To ensure that the 5.7million customers of the Bank enjoy superior banking services, Access Bank is committing significant human and financial resources to customer and other stakeholder engagement via its world-class Contact Centre, SMS, and online banking to ensure seamless transaction and impressive experience at any contact with the Bank.
Some analysts have opined that the integration has the potential of increasing the Bank's operational costs and depleting earnings in the near term; they will be pleased to learn that Access Bank management has swiftly implemented the integration imperatives, particularly cost management measures and eliminated duplicities in systems, infrastructure and resources.
The Bank worked closely with Accenture to determine optimal level of resources to support a Bank of its size that serves customers efficiently, is financially sound and delivers acceptable returns to investors. Part of this process included a benchmarking against local and foreign financial institutions.
While the merger was able to rescue Intercontinental Bank, its legacy of poorly conceived investments, cost inefficiency and sub-optimal returns were inherited by Access Bank Plc (In 2008, 2000 members of staff suffered job losses, in 2009, 1298 staff were affected and in 2010, 1235 staff lost their employment). To ensure the long term sustainability and growth of the merged entity, it is important that the bank's cost structures are brought in line with Nigerian and global best practice. Consequently some rationalisation of resources and staff was necessary. We have taken care to ensure all aspects of the rationalisation process are fair, objective, transparent and generous. The terms for employees restructuring were reached in consultation with relevant labour bodies. All departing staff will receive prompt payment of their entitlements along with other benefits. Access Bank is also funding an outplacement service to assist staff who will be seeking employment either within the financial services sector or other sectors of the economy
Commenting on the future of Access Bank, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede concluded:
“Our speed of integration proves that we have an excellent team that can perform under pressure. We are now focused on building a truly sustainable Nigeria bank that works for its customers, shareholders and the communities where we operate; a bank which is poised to be Africa's most respected bank.
For further information:
Access Bank Plc