An aggressive new retail banking push aimed at creating a savings culture in the country, along with strengthening of its risk profile and cost efficient operations, have seen Nigeria’s tier one lender, Access Bank, post a higher rating in an Agusto & Co’s review of the bank’s financial and market position.
The rating agency upgraded the bank from A+ to Aa- with a stable outlook and said it reflected its view that the bank has a strong financial profile, resilient profitability levels and strong capital position.
Access Bank, in a statement highlighting the upgrade, said Agusto adjudged it to be an institution of very good financial condition with strong capacity to meet its obligations, a position, which it said, was further supported by its strong domestic presence, supported by extensive branch network, good liquidity profile as well as experience and skilled management team.
Herbert Wigwe, group managing director and chief executive officer, said of the upgrade rating: “The rating only goes to confirm our consistency over the years in delivering superior value to our stakeholders in line with our vision to be the world’s most respected African bank. The upgrade in the Bank’s outlook reflects our commitment to the core values of innovation, professionalism and devotion to excellence in our operations and service delivery.”
The higher rating by Agusto and Co is said to be on the strength of the rating agency’s view that, “Access Bank has strengthened its risk profile, deepened its retail banking drive by creating a digital businessthrough its digital strategy, embraced a cost reduction programme and the use of value chain strategy to capture small businesses in the retail segment of the market.”
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The bank is in the final year of a 5-year strategic plan that began in 2012, which it aims would help it rank among the top three banks in every of its chosen markets and across different financial indicators by the end of 2017.
Recently released numbers suggest that growth in market share over the implementation period has enabled it become the third largest bank based on total assets and contingents of N3.3 trillion by the end of 2016.