25 Years of




Access Bank Plc has transformed from an obscure Nigerian Bank into a world class African financial institution.

Our History

Over the past 26 years, Access Bank Plc. has evolved from an obscure Nigerian Bank into a world-class African financial institution. Today, we are one of the five largest banks in Nigeria in terms of assets, loans, deposits and branch network; a feat which has been achieved through a robust long-term approach to client solutions – providing committed and innovative advice.

Access Bank has built its strength and success in corporate banking and is now applying that expertise to the personal and business banking platforms it acquired from Nigeria’s International Commercial bank in 2012. The next two years were spent integrating the business, investing in infrastructure and strengthening the product offer.  

As part of its continued growth strategy, Access Bank is focused on mainstreaming sustainable business practices into its operations. The Bank strives to deliver sustainable economic growth that is profitable, environmentally responsible, and socially relevant.

The Beginning (1988 - 2001)

  • December 19, 1988:
  • Access Bank was issued a banking licence
  • February 8, 1989:
  • Access Bank was incorporated as a privately owned commercial bank
  • May 11, 1989:
  • Access Bank commenced operations at its Burma Road, Apapa Head Office
  • March 24, 1998:
  • Access Bank became a Public Limited Liability Company
  • November 18, 1998:
  • Access Bank was listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange
  • February 5, 2001:
  • Access Bank obtained a Universal Banking License from the CBN

The Change

In March 2002, the Board of Directors appointed Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede as Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer and Herbert Wigwe as Deputy Managing Director. The mandate was clear: Reposition the bank as one of Nigeria's leading financial institutions within a five year period (March 2002 to March 2007). This task was perceived by many as impossible given the realities of the Bank at the time.

Simultaneously, Mr. Gbenga Oyebode, who brought commendable and useful board experience gathered from some of Nigeria's leading companies, including MTN Nigeria, Okomu Oil Palm Plc, was also appointed to the Board. The new management team subsequently created a transformational agenda for Access Bank which represented a departure from all that characterized the Bank in the past and became the road map for the conversion of the bank into a world class financial institution.

  • Assemble a credible and high caliber management team
  • Introduce a culture of excellence founded on professionalism and integrity
  • Ensure Human Capital Development
  • Enlarge the shareholder base
  • Introduce strong procedures and processes to drive day-to-day Bank activities
  • Instill a passion for customer service in all members of staff
  • Establish a low cost liability generation strategy
  • Expand branch network to cover all clearing zones within Nigeria
  • Create a world-class brand

The impact of the transformation agenda was reflected in the first year. The bank grew its balance sheet by 100% and posted an impressive N1 billion profit before tax. The profit before tax figure was more than the cumulative profit made by the bank in the previous 12 years. This also marked the beginning of what would be a six year record triple-digit growth trend. Similarly, earnings per share had rebounded to 21 kobo from a negative 2 kobo position, leading to a declaration of a 5 kobo dividend to shareholders for the first time in three years.

In recognition of the role of an enhanced capital structure, the Bank embarked on a capital raising exercise in July 2007. The exercise was an astounding success recording an over subscription of over 300%. The public offer comprised of an Over-The-Counter GDR placement of US$250 million which was similarly oversubscribed by 700%. The Bank's shareholders fund today stands at over N240 billion with an expanded shareholder base of over 1,000,000 domestic and foreign investors.

Access Bank is consistently seeking for ways to expand its service platform across the African continent. The bank currently operates through a network of about 366 branches across major cities and commercial centers in Nigeria, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.

The impact of the transformation agenda was reflected in the first year. The bank grew its balance sheet by 100% and posted an impressive N1 billion profit before tax. The profit before tax figure was more than the cumulative profit made by the bank in the previous 12 years. This also marked the beginning of what would be a six year record triple-digit growth trend. Similarly, earnings per share had rebounded to 21 kobo from a negative 2 kobo position, leading to a declaration of a 5 kobo dividend to shareholders for the first time in three years.

Becoming the world’s most respected African Bank

Access Bank continued its impressive growth trend, both organically and by acquisition, and quickly became one of Nigeria’s leading corporate banks with a reputation for strong compliance, risk management and trade finance.   In 2012 it become a top five bank in Nigeria following its acquisition of Intercontinental Bank and began to build a pre-eminent position in retail as well as corporate banking.   

By 2013 Access Bank had become AA- rated by S&P and was able to raise capital in the global bond markets, with its first successful US$350m Eurobond issuance taking place in July 2012.  Access Bank vowed to become the world’s most successful African Bank and embarked upon a new five year strategy focused on financial inclusion, women and youth as well as global trade finance, treasury and payments for the corporate sector.  Its sights were by now firmly set on becoming a top three bank in all the markets in which it operated.

Access Bank continued to build out its operations across the continent and in global trade hubs, determined to capture Africa’s trade flows with the rest of the world and within the continent.   In 2017 Access Bank set out its next five year strategy, focused creating a global payments infrastructure which would enable it to become Africa’s gateway to the world.   

Building a strong retail bank which was digitally-led and omni-channel was a key pillar for Access Bank’s ambitious growth strategy, along with consolidating its strengths in corporate banking.  In 2018 it saw the opportunity to accelerate its five-year plan with the merger of Diamond Bank, Nigerian’s leading retail bank with 19 million customers, including 10 million mobile customers, and a strong reputation for data analytics and technological innovation.

Access Bank today is the largest bank in Nigeria and Africa’s leading bank by customer base.   It is a full service commercial bank operating through a network of more than 600 branches and service outlets, spanning three continents, 12 countries and 36 million customers. The Bank employs 28,000 thousand people in its operations in Nigeria, Sub Saharan Africa and the United Kingdom, with representative offices in China, Lebanon, India and the UAE.   It continues to look at opportunities to build its network in global trade and payment centres, helping Africa to play its part on the world stage.


  • First bank in Nigeria to cross the ~₦10 trillion mark in total assets
  • Strengthened capital buffers with successful AT1 capital raise of US$500 million
  • Issued US$500 million Eurobond
  • Acquired banks in South Africa and Botswana
  • Commenced operations in Guinea
  • Access More awarded Best Mobile Banking App Nigeria
  • Acquisition of Kenyan Transnational Bank
  • Reaches agreement for acquisition of Cavemont Capital holdings in Uganda.
  • Announced strategic update on its vision to be Africa’s Gateway to the world
  • Moved to Access towers iconic building started operations in Mozambique
•    Completed the merger of Diamond Bank in March 2019
•    Listed Africa’s first fully certified corporate Green Bond on the FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange and the Nigerian Stock Exchange
•    Launched an updated and refreshed brand which fused together the best of Diamond Bank and Access Bank
•    Announced its intention to merge with Diamond Bank
•    Presented the inaugural Born in Africa Festival  ”BAFEST” to celebrate African art, film, design and music
•    Collaborated with 25 global banks to develop the Principles for Sustainable Banking and align the sector with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
•    Launched Access WhatsApp Banking
•    Launched the Youth Entrepreneurship Essay Competition, in conjunction with Junior Achievement Nigeria, to tackle youth unemployment
•    Launched its five year strategy “Africa’s Gateway to the World” at Nigerian Stock Exchange
•    Bagged fourteen sustainability awards including the Karlsruhe Sustainability Award for the second consecutive year and all four sustainability categories at the CBN Sustainability Awards.
•    Unveiled a new ‘Family Savings Scheme’ in line with the Bank’s commitment to promote savings culture among the Nigerian population.
•    Constructed Hostel for visually impaired persons.
•    Inaugurated the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon
•    Named as Best Sustainable Bank 2016 by World Finance
•    Made an extra donation To UNICEF UK for its campaign against HIV/AIDS among Nigerian children.
•    Hosted the 2016 Innovation Challenge to bring together Nigeria’s leading entrepreneurs to tackle challenges in agriculture, transportation, security and power 
•    Launched new Mobile Banking Platform for Airtel Subscribers in partnership with Airtel Nigeria
•    Launched lending programme for Ghanaian companies, backed by the European Investment Bank
•    2nd Access Conference attended by founders of Facebook, Apple and Air Asia, along with other global leaders in technology and innovation
•    Launched PayWithCapture mobile payment solution
•    Received the Global Banking Alliance for Women Market Champion Award 
  • Won risk management award by Conrad Clark Nigeria in collaboration with Business Day and the UK Institute of Risk Management
  • Designated ‘A Significant Important Financial Institution’ by the Nigerian Central Bank
  • Major IT improvement programme roll-out: migration from Flexcube to Oracle 11g Database Technology
  • Emerged as the overall winner in the ‘Credit Card Product of the Year’ category at the annual Card and e-Payment Africa Awards ceremony
  • Articulated the next 5-year rolling plan with a clear objective of becoming the ‘World’s Most Respected African Bank by 2017’
  • Achieved AA- credit rating from S&P (one of the best among tier-1 banks in Nigeria)
  • Resolved post-merger integration issues
  • Divested from non-banking subsidiaries
  • Access Bank and Intercontinental Commercial Bank (ICB) merger judged Africa`s top M&A deal of the year
  • Judged ‘Best Bank in West Africa’ by the African Banker
  • Completed recapitalization of ICB
  • Revised corporate philosophy; new aim to become ‘Africa’s most respected Bank’
  • Partnered with Friends Africa to implement SME Workplace Policy in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Ranked fourth largest bank as a result of the ICB acquisition
  • Listed on London Stock Exchange (LSE)
  • Successfully raised US$350million Eurobond
  • Judged the ‘Sustainable Bank of the Year for Africa and Middle East’ by Financial Times and the IFC
  • Received the business in the community ‘Big Tick Award’
  • Awarded the ‘Most Socially Responsible Bank in Africa’ award from the African Banker Magazine
  • The IFC Global Trade Finance Program rated Access Bank as the ‘Most Active GTFP Issuing Bank in Africa’
  • Launched  e-learning portal
  • Declared the ‘Best Clearing Bank in Oshogbo Clearing zone 2009’ (Oshogbo Branch) at the Maiden edition of Oshogbo CBN award night
  • Final of Mirror the Master Art Competition held in Lagos
  • Held the SME Work Place Policy Programme in Lagos, Enugu, and Minna
  • Launched its ‘Going Green’ campaign in Lagos and Abuja
  • Signed the Convention on Business Integrity Treaty
  • Access Bank UK Limited won Adam Smith Award for Best Practice and Innovation
  • Adopted Equator principle for CSR
  • Adopted the International Financial Reporting Standard
  • First Nigerian Bank to voluntarily establish an Ombudsman Office
  • 3rd Bank in Nigerian banking industry to adopt IRS Account reporting style in addition to GAAP
  • Successfully concluded third Public Offer, raising over US$1billion (3.5 times oversubscribed).
  • First Nigerian Bank to introduce and commence the use of Visa Credit Cards in Nigeria
  • First Nigerian Bank to obtain EMV certification for multicard ATM service platform
  • First Nigerian Bank to receive funding from the Belgian Investment Company Fund for developing countries
  • Implemented the Bond Index Tracker
  • Launched suite of wealth management products for high-net-worth customers
  • Launched MPower Biz Account, designed to empower SME business owners, the Bank's flagship retail product
  • Launched first Nigerian online car leasing service ’Auto online’
  • The first Nigerian Bank to partner with the International Finance Corporation(IFC), an arm of the World Bank, for the introduction of the IFC’s Gender Empower Programme
  • Appointed Primary Dealer/Market Maker for government bonds by the Debt Management Office (DMO)
  • The first Bank in Nigeria to receive US$15 million convertible investment from the IFC
  • Appointed as a Settlement Bank by the Central Bank of Nigeria
  • Acquired Capital Bank and Marina Bank via merger by absorption and completed integration within 60 days
  • Netherlands Finance Company (FMO) US$15million Investment in Access Bank listed on the NSE
  • Raised over N14.5 billion in successful Public Offer, recording 133% oversubscription
  • Received the Hewlett Packard Award for the best implementation of a core banking application (Flexcube 6.2) in West Africa
  • Selected as one of the seven banks to disburse the European Investment Bank's N50 million SME facility
  • Determined the most actively traded stock on Nigeria Stock Exchange Market
  • Recorded N1 billion PBT (exceeds cumulative profit for the last 12 years)

Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede was appointed Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer and Herbert Wigwe, Deputy Managing Director, with a mandate to move the bank from 65th position to top 10 by 2007