Nigerian bank to establish Caribbean presence

A Nigerian multinational commercial bank is making moves to set up in the Caribbean, promising improved access to financial services and expanded digital services.

Aigboje Imoukhuede, Chairman of the Lagos-headquartered Access Holdings, of which Access Bank is a subsidiary, did not say where or when the bank would open its doors but assured the region would be well served, noting the challenges faced by Caribbean residents in accessing financial services.

Access Bank is one of the five largest banks in Nigeria in terms of assets, loans, deposits and branch network.

“I understand that it takes quite a while to open an account here [in the Caribbean]; that will change,” Imoukhuede said to rousing applause at the recently concluded African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) Annual Meetings in The Bahamas. “I understand that digital infrastructure is beginning to become prevalent in your markets…. Access Bank would bring more digital services to the Caribbean.

“Your people deserve it…. Even though small in number, I have been thrilled and have been impressed by the experience, power and confidence of the people of the Caribbean. These people need to fly,” added Imoukhuede who was on a panel, chaired by Chief Executive Officer of Invest Barbados Kaye-Anne Greenidge, discussing the topic, Opportunities for Global Investments for Economic Growth and Diversification in the Caribbean.

The business executive stressed the importance of foreign banks “looking like and being like” the people of the Caribbean once they enter that market.

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Otherwise, he said, “they will not understand the local market, they will not understand the needs of the market”.

Against that background, Imoukhuede assured that Access Bank would adapt once it opens a branch in the region to ensure it understands the financial needs of Caribbean people.

“When Access Bank goes into markets, we become just like everyone else in that market. If we go to Ghana, we become Ghanaians, if we go to Barbados, we become Barbadians, the same in Bahamas, so this is what I expect to see as Access Bank comes into the Caribbean region,” he said.

Access Bank operates through a network of more than 600 branches and service outlets, spanning three continents, 12 countries and 36 million customers. 

It employs 28 000 people in its operations in Nigeria, Sub Saharan Africa and the United Kingdom, with representative offices in China, Lebanon, India and the United Arab Emirates. (DP)

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