History was made in Lagos, Nigeria, yesterday as Diamond Bank finally fused with Access Bank to create a colossal financial powerhouse.
The mega bank now boasts of 592 branches, 27,000 staff; 29 million customers, the highest on the continent, and over 3,000 Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) onshore and offshore, spanning three continents and 12 countries.
At an elaborate ceremony earlier on Sunday to herald the birth of the new entity, its Executive Director, Personal Banking ,Victor Etuokwu, said of the new logo and slogan:
“It (the mega bank) fuses together the best of Access Bank and Diamond Bank. It builds on the layers of meaning that were built into two iconic brands. Diamond Bank’s was youthful, vibrant and human.
“The diamond shape is fused into the three chevrons, which radiate in all directions to create layers around a core. The retention of the access typeface, colour and font is complemented by the orange logo, which draws from the colour palettes of both banks.
“The use of the diamond colour palette is further emphasised with the dominance of green in its retail application, ensuring continuity for retail customers, while the dominant orange in the corporate application provides the same sense of familiarity to Access Bank’s customers.
“To accompany the new logo, there is a new brand promise which is ‘Access Bank:More than banking’.This is more than a tagline.It is a philosophy and this dates back to 20 years ago when Access Bank set out to change the face of banking in Nigeria.
“Almost 20 years ago, Access Bank set out to change the face of banking in Nigeria. Its goal was to lift the continent of Africa through what it called sustainable banking, showing individuals and businesses across the country that ethical business was good business.
“Providing African businesses with access to intra Africa trade and global markets. Giving budding entrepreneurs the tools to build a business. Offering families the opportunity to realise their dreams. Across the country, another entrepreneur was also building a bank, with a dream that went beyond banking.
“We wanted to respond to changing lifestyles by using innovation and technology to support societal shifts. With a focus on personalised service that understood people’s desires and ambitions and made them possible.
“These two banks, one a corporate titan, the other a digital retail powerhouse, have come together to create Africa’s largest bank. For both, the philosophy remains unchanged.”
Earlier in the year, the Managing Director of now rested Diamond Bank, Uzoma Dozie, had touched on the similarities of the bank’s vision and the role of people and technology in the next growth phase of both entities. He had said: “There is a clear strategic rationale for the proposed merger and strong complementarities between the two institutions.
“While Diamond Bank has pioneered Nigeria’s largest technology-led retail banking platform, Access Bank is one of Nigeria’s leading full-service commercial banks. Consolidation in the Nigerian banking industry is an inevitable, natural progression in a sector where the gap between tier one and tier two banks has been widening and scale has become critical; where technology will disrupt the traditional business model while enabling broader financial inclusion.”
To the customers of the new entity, this is a new day and the beginning of good things to come. One of the customers who claimed she had accounts with both banks, Barbara Onyeuka, told Daily Sun recently:
“ have accounts with both banks and just recently, I got a mail from Access Bank informing me about the merger. I don’t think I have any course to worry because I am still able to use my apps and I have not noticed any major difference in their operations. For me, I think the merger is a step in the right direction. Diamond Bank didn’t get to that point where you start thinking they might fold up. Access Bank has been a very strong bank too. So, with this merger, I have more confidence banking with them that my money is in safe hands.”
The new mega bank did not waste time as it instantly took its shares to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) for listing, to mark its entry into the market.
The Exchange approved the listing, 6,617,253,991 ordinary shares of 50 Kobo each resulting from the Scheme of Merger between Access Bank Plc and defunct Diamond Bank.
while the entire 23,160,388,968 ordinary shares of Diamond Bank Plc were delisted from the Daily Official List of The Exchange Monday, 1 April 2019.
“With the listing of the additional 6,617,253,991 ordinary shares arising from the Scheme, the total issued and fully paid up shares of Access Bank Plc has increase from 28,927,971,631 ordinary shares to 35,545,225,622 ordinary shares of 50 Kobo each”, the statement said.
Etoukwu added: “Bringing them together to capture the strength created through the merger meant drawing from the essence of each logo but refreshing them to create a sense of energy and forward momentum.”
Speaking further, Etuokwu revealed that Access Bank would not be in a haste to close down any branch in the next one year, adding that some of the overlapping branches might be changed to e-centers as events unfold.