Access Bank, formerly BancABC says it has set the year 2027 in which it will become the country’s leading banker. During an event marking the release of the banker’s latest financials this past week, executives said that part of the growth strategy is to open up nine new service centres across the country. The bank says it will also open up Agency Banking with an unnamed partner which will give customers access to 1,000 cash in and out points within the next 3 months.
The acquisition of BancABC Botswana by Access Bank PLC was first made the second quarter of 2021. Access Bank is classified one of the largest banks in Nigeria and one of Africa’s leading banks by customer base. The bank boasts of a vast network of more than 600 branches and service outlets, spanning across three continents, in over 10 countries.
Its arrival in the local banking scene, however, comes at a time when the commercial banking industry in the country is moderately becoming concentrated, with lenders restructuring and moving more towards digital channels and in the process cutting jobs.
In the recently released Bank of Botswana’s bank supervision report for 2020, the central bank which uses the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI), which is commonly used to measure of market concentration and assess the degree of competition in the Botswana banking industry, says the HHI marginally increased from 0.1756 in 2019 to 0.1770 in 2020, remaining lower than 0.1800, indicating continuance of a moderately concentrated market.
With a number of nine licensed commercial and three statutory banks, the four large banks (FNBB, ABSA, Stanbic and Stanchart) continued to dominate the banking sector and accounted, in aggregate, for 79.1 percent, 79.2 percent and 77.4 percent in total assets, total deposits and total loans and advances, respectively in 2020, compared with 78.7 percent, 78.6 percent and 76.7 percent of the same in 2019.
The Access Bank Group however says it has designated Botswana a key market it intends to succeed in and will fully support the local banker to achieve its stated business objective in the shortest space of time.
The bank’s latest financials shows that its Interest income reduced by 2 percent compared to the prior year.
“The reduction can be largely attributed to the interest rate cuts experienced in late 2020 as well as increased interest expense as result of higher deposit pricing. This was offset partially by the overall loan book increase year on year”, reads part of the notes accompanying the bank’s financials.