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Nigeria's Access Bank remodels Ivory Coast business



May 4, 2011

Nigeria's Access Bank said on Wednesday it would reopen in Ivory Coast next week after suspending operations there during a political crisis, but would scale back its business to concentrate on corporate clients.

Foreign banks including Access suspended activities in the former French colony in February amidst several months of post-election conflict.

Access said it would reopen on May 9 but had undertaken a review of its operations in Ivory Coast -- which included corporate, retail and government banking -- during the closure.

"We have determined that our hitherto broad approach to serving all segments in the Ivorian economy does not align with our strength and is constraining us from achieving our market penetration objectives," the bank said in a statement.

"In view of this we have chosen to concentrate on serving our corporate clients," it said.

During the turmoil, disputed incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to accept election defeat, cut ties with West Africa's central bank because it refused his signature on state accounts, bringing the financial system close to collapse.

Forces loyal to Gbagbo's successor Alassane Ouattara, backed by French and U.N. troops, ousted Gbagbo last month.

Source: Reuters

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