Home Finance Access Bank takes over Intercontinental, appoints new MD — To run as subsidiary for 12 months

Access Bank takes over Intercontinental, appoints new MD — To run as subsidiary for 12 months

by Business News Report

By Omoh Gabriel

Access Bank PLC has appointed a new Managing Director for Intercontinental Bank after it took effective control of the bank on Friday. The new helm at Intercontinental is Access Bank’s General Manager in charge of Merger and Acquisition Mr. Victor Etukwu The new MD takes charge of the bank with effect from Friday. The former Board was replaced with a new board with Aigboje Aig-Imokhude as Chairman. A send forth was organized for the former board and CBN appointed management last Friday. Access Bank will run Intercontinental for which it has 75 per cent holdings as a subsidiary for 12 months before the final Integration of Intercontinental into Access Bank.

Disclosing this to journalist in a chat on Saturday, the Group Managing Director of Access Bank and Chairman Board of Directors Intercontinental Bank Mr. Aig-Imokhuede said that the full Integration of Intercontinental into Access Bank will be 12 months. All the subsidiary of Intercontinental will now become those of Access Bank. He said although a School of thought feel that to aid change the management should move quickly to achieve one brand out of the two brands but that Access Bank was looking at the available options that will deliver better service to Nigerians. The he said that what is important now is how to tap into the experience and expectation of Intercontinental bank customers as well as those of Access Bank in order to transform the new bank into a world class service delivery Bank as Access Bank’s customers are also asking whether the brand that has performed creditably is going to change. He said the decision the bank will eventually take will be that which will improve customer experience. He allayed the fear that Access Bank’s taking over of Intercontinental will result in loss of jobs stating that the bank needs competent staff to drive it. He said “there is room for all those who can deliver service”.

According to him the total Assets base of Intercontinental was N700billion while that of Access Bank is in the region of one billion naira putting to rest the claim that Intercontinental is far bigger than Access Bank. Giving insight into why Access Bank wanted Intercontinental Aig-Imokhude said the Board and management of the bank were looking for an institution that can aid the easy transformation of the bank, complement and help address its weakness. He said that Access Bank was weak in branch network, retail banking but that Intercontinental was strong in Branch network and retail Banking with a customer base of 3 million retail account. He said it was weak in cost of funds, risk assessment and income to cost ratio areas in which Access Bank has a stronger showing. He said these combined in both institutions will bring about a stronger institution. He said Intercontinental was attractive also because both banks use the same technology. He said the banking culture in Intercontinental is about the same as some of the staff in Intercontinental have worked in Access Bank at one time or the other which brings affinity between the two. He said that the management of the Bank has held a town hall meeting with the staff of Intercontinental to address their fear
He said in the past “Nigerian banks were focused on corporate banking which was what the economy that was held down by the command structure of the army that ruled then needed. He said with the liberation of the economy which democracy has brought, the economy leaped forward and threw up the middle class and a huge population that has created a large market that needed to be service. Now, he said emphasis is on retail banking which potential is huge.

“In 2007, a realization struck us, the economic structure had favored the corporate, not the consumer. We started to see a change, young urban population that is well exposed, created the most exciting market. The Banks had to reposition itself by changing its business model to focus on consumer banking. He said MTN saw this huge opportunity and plunged into it when others were running away, today it is reaping the profit. He said the new Access Bank will take banking to the consumer. He disclosed that the Nigerian Banking industry is coming up with green lending principle which will focus on three elements People, profit, and planet. He said very soon banks in Nigeria will lend to corporate bodies on projects that are environmental friendly. He said “Nigeria banks have agreed to come up with green lending principle”.

He said “Coming into Access bank we fashioned at doing it well. When Nigeria did its consolidation with significant capital growth in banks, I asked myself the question does it mean that Nigeria Banks will not fail? He said in his quest for an answer he discovered that although large capital for bank, good staff complement were not guarantee that it will not fail. “My research proved that sustainability, harmony with host community are key to survival of any company any where in the world. Company fail because in the quest to make profit they consume what belongs to other stake holders. In the case of Nigerian banks especially those that have failed, consumed the license they were issued, deposits they attracted, energy of staff, efforts of those who bank with them”. He said “if you consume recklessly those whose resources you consume will hold you. Regulators will punish, depositors will run away, workers will leave. He said “having learnt we in Access Bank have started our link with host community with social responsibility premised on our key value of Sustainability concept. This is based on three principle of Leadership, innovation and empowerment”.

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