Ms Maria Ramos, the Chief Executive Officer of South Africa’s Absa Bank, disclosed yesterday that the lender does not have any plans to acquire any Nigerian bank as part of its “aggressive” expansion efforts in the country.
The reason for this stance is because Nigerian banks are big and expensive, the CEO said.
Therefore, Absa Bank will focus on organically establishing its presence in the Nigerian banking market, which she also described as having very exciting opportunities.
Ms Ramos, who was speaking to Reuters in Davos on the sidelines of the ongoing World Economic Forum, stressed that the bank’s entry into the Nigerian banking market is intentionally slow and meticulous.
She also stated that the Absa Bank does not plan on becoming a top lender, because becoming a top lender would entail having to acquire at least one Nigerian bank; something it does not plan to do due to the reason earlier mentioned.
“For us to be in the top three or four would mean us going out and acquiring a Nigerian business. The Nigerian banks are big and expensive and we wouldn’t be looking to do that.”– Ramos
Consequently, the bank will focus on targeting the estimated 60 million people who do not yet have bank accounts according to a 2017 report by the World Bank Group.
Absa Bank, which recently separated from Barclays Bank, is now rated as South Africa’s third biggest lender even as it continues to map out aggressive plans to expand its business across the African continent.
And while speculations have long been rife that the bank wants to acquire a Nigerian bank, it had never rebuffed these rumours until now.
But the company has long been expressive of its interests in the West African crude exporting country. This is because Nigeria presents an opportunity for Absa Bank to double its banking revenue.