NIGERIA – The Central Bank of Nigeria and The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) have given Nigeria’s Access Bank Plc an approval to acquire Kenya’s Transnational Bank.

Transnational Bank is a medium-sized commercial bank with a focus on Kenya’s agricultural sector.

Access Bank announced the completion of the second phase of its integration, where all core banking platforms were merged into one.

The deal bodes well for the Central Bank of Kenya’s push for consolidation in an industry of more than 40 lenders and a population of almost 50 million people. Kenya has more banks per person than South Africa and Nigeria, Africa’s two largest economies.

The bank said in a statement that the completion of the phase heralded the delivery of one of the most robust banking platforms in the world.

That would serve its rapidly-growing base of over 30 million customers seamlessly and enhance its service delivery and uptime targets to facilitate customer delight in its banking services.

With this move, Access Bank may be capitalising on Transnational Bank’s interest in the agricultural sector.

The acquisition will further cement its pan-African strategise by moving into East Africa’s largest economy.

According to the statement, one of the benefits of the integration is the simplicity of initiating and receiving bank transfers as customers will no longer need to select between ‘Access’ or ‘Access (Diamond)’ when transacting.

The Group Managing Director, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, lauded the various committees for their efforts during the period of the integration.

“A special thank-you to the integration committee for ensuring all the milestones expected at the various stages of integration were achieved within the scheduled timeframe.” He said.

The Executive Director, Retail Banking, Access Bank, Victor Etuokwu, added that the bank was now better positioned than ever to serve its customers with the best solutions and service the industry had to offer.

He said, “At Access Bank, delivering the best services possible to our customers remains our highest priority.

“We can now offer the best digitally-driven financial solutions that will make our customers’ transactions simpler, faster, convenient and even more secure than ever.”

Etuokwu said the bank was making all NIBSS-Instant-Payment transfers free from November 1 to 7.

Transnational is one of Kenya’s tier-4 banks which swung to a full-year pretax loss of 98.5 million shillings ($951,690) in 2018, lends mainly to the agricultural sector, according to its annual report.

Non-performing loans ballooned 58% to 1.85 billion shillings (US$17.85 million), while loans rose 0.5% to 6.63 billion shillings (US$66m).