Access Bank 2021: The year South African banking shifted gears
It’s hard to believe that it was just in May this year that the financial sector bid farewell to Grobank, and welcomed Access Bank South Africa. It was hailed as an extremely exciting time for the local banking industry, and another huge leap towards Access Bank Plc growing the trade corridors that connect Africa to the rest of the world.
Herbert Wigwe, CEO of Access Bank Plc, said: “Our presence in South Africa seals our commitment to delivering the key strategic objective of becoming Africa’s gateway to the world, and our vision of being the world’s Most Respected African Bank.”
In opening a South African branch, Access Bank Plc. Further raises its profile as a leading full-service commercial Bank operating through a network of more than 600 branches and service outlets, spanning three continents, 12 countries, and 31 million customers.
Pedal to the mettle
As Access Bank SA moved seamlessly into the highly competitive South African financial sector, Access gently accelerated and in September 2021, Chrisanthi Michaelides – the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) who was a driving force behind Access Bank Plc’s acquisition of Grobank Limited – was appointed acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Access Bank South Africa.
“South Africa is the perfect space for a truly pan-African bank like Access Bank to enter what is set to be an exciting time on the African continent,” Michaelides noted. “We are working on ways to embrace the treaty and offer our clients a prosperous future through access to a single market.”
At around the same time, Thomas Nkuna, National Manager for Branch Banking, showed off the team’s agility with exciting new retail offerings, as well as Access Bank’s retail branch expansion plans.
“Innovations we’ve brought to market include an R7.00 per month fee for a current account, with a pay-as-you-use fee structure. Customers have access to the key transactional services like internet banking, ATM and in-store withdrawals, and an exciting rewards programme,” Nkuna said.
The retail launch brought a flurry of excitement to Access bank SA and its customers, especially small to medium enterprises (SMME). “We understand the challenges faced by small businesses across Africa, so our Diamond Advantage Business Account offering will get SME’s wheels spinning with a low monthly cost for premium business services.”
Women topped off a remarkable year
It’s also hard to believe that Access Bank SA achieved so much within the space of under a year. Along with two retail branches and the launch of the AccessMore mobile payment app putting cutting-edge technology in customers’ pockets, the Access Bank Womenpreneur Pitch-A-Ton Africa saw female entrepreneurs from around Africa enter for an opportunity to win a grant of up to R200 000 and a Mini MBA.
“Access Bank SA was included for the first time,” says Michaelides, “and we were thrilled to congratulate our very own home-grown heroine, Rotondwa Musitha, Managing Director of Trash Converters.
“Rotondwa placed 5th overall in this year’s Womenpreneur Pitch-A-Ton Africa and walked off with R19 000 and a brand new website in a virtual ceremony,” Michaelides said, adding that she had done the Access bank Group’s newcomer proud with a company “all of us will be watching for further success in such an important field”.
The future of work has changed, and the future of banking must match it.
In December Access Bank announced their partnership with Bettr (https://bettr.app), Africa’s first creator-centric fintech set to unlock Africa’s youth potential. With a world-class digital banking app, Bettr is built around Gen Z’s needs and career aspirations. Access Bank’s Alliance Banking strategy strives to partner with open-minded, future-focused businesses, in the development of innovative offerings that provide businesses to co-create unconventional banking with unique products and value-added services. Agile, adaptive, and flexible, Alliance Banking is firmly committed to partnering with fintechs in various industries to think beyond the box, disrupt the norms, and implement innovation.
“Access Bank has a firm foothold and is well entrenched in the digital age, enabling us to make banking solutions affordable, versatile, efficient, and more secure,” says Natasha Archary, Senior Manager of Product and Business at Alliance Banking.
In closing, Wigwe said Access Bank SA was a credit to the overall brand. “We look forward to 2022 based on the momentum created in 2021, and are proud that as an organisation we have the agility and desire to succeed that keep us on track to becoming the world’s Most Respected African Bank.”