Access Bank Prepares to Expand into Europe and the US

CEO of Access Bank Plc Herbert Wigwe
CEO of Access Bank Plc Herbert Wigwe

News Summary:

  • Access Bank Plc, the banking arm of Access Holdings Plc, plans to expand into Europe and the US within the next five years.
  • The expansion aligns with the bank’s strategy to support trade in at least 26 countries by 2027, including the UK, France, and the US.
  • Wigwe also highlighted the rise of cryptocurrencies, noting that Access Bank’s own digital currency, Access Coin, aims to enhance financial inclusion.

According to Access Holdings Plc’s Group Managing Director, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, the company’s banking arm, Access Bank Plc, intends to expand its operations to Europe and the US over the next five years.

This is consistent with Access Bank’s five-year strategy document, which states that by the end of 2027, the bank hopes to support trade in at least 26 countries, including at least three OECD nations (the United Kingdom, France, and the United States of America).

Mr. Wigwe stated in an interview with CNN’s Zain Asher on Marketplace Africa that the organisation’s expansion objective was to make sure the business became “Africa’s gateway to the world.”

“I think that over the next couple of years, you would see a lot of expansion across the continent, but I think beyond that, you would see us do a bit more in Europe, and perhaps before the end of the next five years, the corporate strategic plan would have put our flags in the US,” he said on the programme.

In his predictions for the banking industry, he emphasised the rise of cryptocurrencies and Nigeria’s efforts to control the market.

It’s really intriguing and highly regulated in the context of Nigeria because the regulators are working to ensure that they have a better understanding of what is happening with regard to cryptocurrencies. […] The Access coin, for example, would be based on that, and its goal is to enhance financial inclusion, he said.

Recall that Access Bank was purchased by Mr. Wigwe and his business partner, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, in 2002.

The banker noted that since the time, “the consumer has changed in terms of demographics because it has changed in terms of their own needs,” adding that “the banking landscape has changed since the period.”

“In 2002, people would take a lot of cash. The majority of those items, services, or transactions that previously required cash are now carried out using cards. Additionally, we have observed the current trend towards more digital means. And it goes without saying that we are now discussing cryptos. There have been significant modifications since 2002.

According to Mr. Wigwe, the potential of African entrepreneurs has been unleashed as more and more unicorns (startups valued at over $1 billion) are being founded across the continent.

“I believe there is still a lot more that might occur. In South Africa and Kenya, there are excellent people working hard, and more and more will be born. And the fact that people are starting to recognise that intelligence, talent, and technological abilities exist here is what makes some of us pleased. It’s neither an American nor a European thing, he said.

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