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Why Nigeria's Access Bank has pumped billions to buy 2 Kenyan banks in last 4 years

One of Nigeria's leading lenders, Access Bank, is buying 100% of National Bank a few years after spending billions in buying a Kenyan Bank. Here's why its so keen to expand presence in Kenya

Roosevelt Ogbonna the Managing Director/Chief Executive of Access Bank Plc

Nigerian lender Access Bank PLC has expanded its presence in Kenya after signing an agreement with KCB Group PLC to acquire 100 per cent shareholding in National Bank of Kenya Limited (NBK).

The offer, signed on March 20, 2024, marks a milestone for Access Bank and comes four years after acquiring majority stake in Transnational Bank & 2 years after trying to buy out Centum's stake in Sidian Bank.

This latest acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals from the Central Bank of Kenya and the Central Bank of Nigeria.


Roosevelt Ogbonna the Managing Director/Chief Executive of Access Bank Plc, explained the importance of this transaction in scaling up the bank's operations in the Kenyan market.

Ogbonna outlined Access Bank's strategic vision, highlighting the pursuit of increased scale, economic prosperity, and financial inclusion as key objectives.

He emphasised the pivotal role of Kenya in East Africa's trade corridors, stressing the country's strategic positioning in the region.


With the recent implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, Access Bank sees tremendous potential for expansion and growth in Kenya.

"Trade flows in East Africa revolve around key trade corridors, with Kenya being a key player in the region. With the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, these corridors will continue to expand and by deploying our best-in-class financial solutions, we are strategically positioned to deliver sustainable value for our stakeholders," Ogbonna stated.

Access Bank's acquisition of NBK aligns with its broader strategy to become Africa's payment gateway to the world.


This is after Kenya was picked to host the headquarters of Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS).

The Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) will help Africans send money in their local currency directly to someone in another African country without having to convert the money to dollars.

By combining NBK with Access Bank Kenya Plc post-acquisition, Access Bank aims to create an enlarged franchise, reinforcing its strategic objectives in the Kenyan and East African markets.

Access Bank PLC and KCB Group will work towards finalising the acquisition in six to nine months.


Access Bank Kenya will continue to provide a full range of banking services and continuity for its stakeholders including employees and customers in Kenya.

In the meantime, NBK customers will continue to access services across various through the branch network and mobile banking platforms.

In 2020, Access Bank PLC completed the acquisition of Transnational Bank (now known as Access Bank Kenya), marking its entry into the Kenyan banking sector.

The deal was estimated to be about Sh1.5 billion.


This aligned with the Nigerian lender's vision to be the most respected African bank.

In 2022, Centum announced that it was selling its 84% shareholding in Sidian Bank to Access Bank in a deal valued at Sh4.3 billion.


If approved Sidian Bank would have merged with Access Kenya Bank. However, the deal fell through.

In January 2023, Access Bank announced it had discontinued the process of acquiring Sidian Bank.

Centum bought majority shares in Sidian Bank in 2014 and invested about Sh4.7 billion. At the time the lender was known as K-Rep Bank.

The late billionaire Chris Kirubi had noted that the bank had stagnated for long and Centum had plans to transform it.


The Nigerian lender also acquired Zambia’s Cavmont Bank in 2020 and acquired Mozambique’s African Banking Corporation earlier in 2021.

In 2023, Access Bank Plc and Standard Chartered Bank entered into agreements for the acquisition of Standard Chartered’s shareholding in its subsidiaries in Angola, Cameroon, The Gambia, and Sierra Leone, and its Consumer, Private & Business Banking business in Tanzania.

In January 2024, Access Bank announced plans to acquire 80% of Ugandan-based Finance Trust Bank (FTB).



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