'A Nigerian bank pounced on SA bank! We're used to things the other way around'
Access Bank - Nigeria's biggest bank - bought a controlling stake in local Grobank at the end of March.
With an investment of around R896-million ($60 million), Access became the first such lender to venture into South Africa.
It will reportedly invest up to R400 million into Grobank (formerly known as Bank of Athens) over the next two years.
Access Bank has pounced on a South African bank; a Nigerian bank has bought a South African bank! We're used to things working the other way around here...Bruce Whitfield, The Money Show host
We are used to things happening the other way around, but I think this is very good for the relationship. Access Bank has grown to become probably the biggest bank by assets in Nigeria - it did a merger with one of the other big banks (Diamond Bank) a while ago.Dianna Games, CEO - Africa @ Work
Nigerian banks have shown quite an appetite for expansion... across borders... but they (and others) have avoided South Africa because of the size of our banks; the control they have over the market and so on.Dianna Games, CEO - Africa @ Work
They just don't necessarily see the business case for coming into this market. There's a lot more low-hanging fruit in other African markets.Dianna Games, CEO - Africa @ Work
This has become a bit of a thorny issue in the relationships because there's so much South African investment and presence in Nigeria, and very little in South Africa.Dianna Games, CEO - Africa @ Work
Games says Access' acquisition in the SA market is part of a bigger plan.
The Bank has already invested in other countries on the continent including Kenya, Mozambique and - most recently - Botswana.
There is a big push from West Africa into the rest of Africa... I think the idea is that Grobank will rebrand to Access Bank, which is a brand that is known by many Nigerians of course.Dianna Games, CEO - Africa @ Work
It also follows quite closely on Nigerian airline Air Peace flying to South Africa... I think we're going to see things shaking up a little bit...Dianna Games, CEO - Africa @ Work
Listen to the conversation on The Money Show's Africa Business Focus (Grobank segment at 3:04):
Source : https://twitter.com/accessbank_help/photo