According to The EastAfrican, Access Bank Plc has completed the acquisition of the African Banking Corporation Tanzania (BancABCT) as it seeks to deepen its foothold in East Africa’s banking market.

The lender, which is listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), disclosed that it had completed the acquisition of a majority equity stake in BancABCT, a subsidiary of London-listed Atlas Mara Ltd, an Africa-focused special-purpose acquisition company with stakes in different banks across the continent. The deal was first announced on July 14, 2023.

“This strategic move represents a notable step towards setting a railroad in Tanzania for intra-African trade within the East African region, Africa, and the rest of the world,” says Roosevelt Ogbonna, the group’s chief executive officer.

“It underscores our commitment to creating a robust East African banking network, driving positive change and innovation. We are excited about the opportunities this acquisition presents for our operations in Tanzania, and are eager to leverage our combined strengths to deliver exceptional financial solutions and experiences to our customers.”

Following the completion of the transaction, ABCT will be merged with the consumer, private, and banking business of Standard Chartered Bank Tanzania to be acquired by the Nigerian Bank to establish Access Bank Tanzania.

“The completion of our transaction with Access Bank Plc, not only underscores the strong confidence of Access Bank in our operations and the Tanzanian market but delivers new and exciting opportunities for our customers, employees and stakeholders,” says ABCT Managing Director John Imani.

In August last year, Access Bank Plc and Standard Chartered Bank entered into agreements for the acquisition of the British lender’s majority shareholding in its subsidiaries in Angola, Cameroon, Gambia and Sierra Leone, and its consumer, private and business banking business in Tanzania.

Each transaction is still subject to the approval of the respective local regulators and the banking regulator in Nigeria.

Access Bank said the deal with the British lender —Standard Chartered Bank— presented a key step in its journey to build a strong global franchise focused on serving as a gateway for payments, investment and trade within Africa and between Africa and the rest of the world.

In January this year, Access Bank announced a deal to acquire 80.88 percent shareholding in Uganda’s Finance Trust Bank and two months later (in March) entered into a binding agreement with KCB Group Plc for the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of National Bank of Kenya Ltd (NBK) from KCB.

In 2020, the lender completed the acquisition of Kenya’s Transnational Bank and acquired an additional 16.22 percent shareholding in its Rwandan subsidiary valued at $9.55 million to strengthen its position in the East Africa region.

The investments increased Access Bank’s shareholding in the Rwandan subsidiary to 91.22 percent from 75 percent while laying a firm grip on the Kenyan subsidiary with a 99.98 percent shareholding.

In 2023, the group operated 14 subsidiaries within West Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa and the United Kingdom, including business offices in the Republic of China, Lebanon and India.

It operates seven branches in Rwanda, 16 branches in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and 25 branches in Kenya.

Last year, the lender concluded the issuance of a $ 300 million additional Tier 1 capital to bolster to support its future growth aspirations and withstand any macro shocks.

Nigerian lenders are rushing to stamp their authority on the East African banking market currently under the control of Kenyan top retail banks—Equity, KCB and NCBA.

Nigeria’s United Bank for Africa (UBA) has also acquired more stakes in its Kenyan and Ugandan subsidiaries.

The lender acquired 13 percent and 11 percent additional shares in UBA Kenya Ltd and UBA Uganda Ltd respectively in the year 2022, signalling the lender’s growing appetite for investment in a market with more than 300 million people.

It also runs subsidiaries in Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The share sale increased UBA Plc’s shareholding in the Kenyan and Ugandan units from 81 percent and 69 percent to 94 percent and 80 percent respectively, according to the lender’s latest annual report (2023).