New Telegraph

Wigwe: 2022’ll be big for Access Bank

Lender’s agency network attracts 700,000 customers monthly
Women half of Access Bank’s customers

The Group Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, has predicted that 2022 will be a “big, big year” for the financial institution. Speaking in an interview with Julia Chatterley, Anchor of First Move on Cable News Network (CNN), Wigwe disclosed that Access Bank’s African expansion had been part of the lender’s corporate strategic planning since 2017, adding that the plan was informed by the need to support its correspondent banking and payments business, as well as to ensure that there is greater trade within the continent.

He said: “It’s something that we’ve been planning as partof ourcorporatestrategic planning 2017, and the whole idea has been to support our correspondent banking business, to support our payments business and to basically ensure that there is greater trade within the continent. “We’re basically making sure that we have a strong presence in all the major trade centres in the continent, to make sure we can access UK as a strong encore that we can support correspondent banking. And that we can physically build that presence in the continent that supports payment within the continent.

So, I think we’re on track. “I think in terms of profitability our different franchises are doing exceedingly well. And I think 2022 perhaps is actually going to be a big, big year for the institution.” Responding to a question on Access Bank’s target of providing one out of every two Nigerians with financial access and with banking services, Wigwe said that the financial institution aimed to use its agency banking network, which currently attracts about 700,000 customers every month to grow its customer base to between 80 million and 100 million.

He said: “Our platform is showing that today, we bank for our 50 million Nigerians, which means that we bank, what, 25 percent of the population, but in terms of the banking population actually. Now, banking one of every two Nigerians takes us close to about 100 million people.

In terms of bankable Nigerians, it will be anywhere between 80 million and 100 million for us to actually get that figure right. “So, we’re going to pursue this whole activity through agency banking network. We’ve created a different type of branch network specifically in major cities. And today, we’re probably, what, bringing in about 700,000 customers every month. And I think that figure is going to grow a lot more in 2022 with some of the things we could have done.” On Access Bank’s support for women, Wigwe, who revealed that half of the lender’s customer base today are women, noted that the bank’s W-program, created in 2014, was primarily aimed at empowering women. He said: “In 2014, we created the W-program which is a more robust program, and it’s about inspiring, it’s about connecting and it’s also about empowering women.”

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