On Sunday March 31, Access Bank took another step to full integration with its merger partner Diamond Bank, with the unveiling of its new brand logo. The new corporate symbol was revealed to the public in a ceremony held at the Eko Hotels and Suites in Lagos.
Both banks had agreed to be melded into a single financial institution late last year, following what appeared to be signs of weakness in the position of Diamond Bank. The new logo, which came on the eve of the merger becoming official, is part of a wider effort by the entities to unite their identities.
As expected, the unveiling ceremony was attended by top figures from across Nigeria’s industrial landscape. Some of them included Hebert Wigwe, CEO, Access Bank; Pascal Dozie, founder of Diamond Bank; Aliko Dangote, founder of the Dangote Group; and Emir Lamido Sanusi, former Central Bank Governor, among others.
Mr. Wigwe, who spoke at the unveiling, was eager to point out the advantages that would accrue from the banks’ joining forces. He said they were bringing together “the youthfulness and vibrancy of Diamond” and “the financial strength and trust in Access” in a move that would produce one of the strongest financial powerhouses in Africa.
Talk of the emergence of a mega institution in this instance has stemmed from suggestions that the bank produced by the merger would be Nigeria’s largest by number of customers. On the global front, it could have 29 million customers. Mr. Victor Etuokwu, Executive, Personal Banking at Access Bank, says they will have 27,000 workers and over 500 branches.
The logo retains the Access Bank colours, but replaces the arrow sign with the diamond symbol from the old Diamond Bank. Etuokwu explained at the ceremony that the new logo represented the coming together of the best of both banks.
Responding to concerns that some bank branches could to be closed, Etuokwu said that they would be keeping all their centers functional for about a year. He hinted that some overlapping branches- the number of which he put at 55 – would be converted to e-centers.
Rob Giles, Adviser, Retail Banking at Access Bank, also seemed to point to a gradual streamlining of the operations of both banks. According to him, some of Diamond Bank’s well known offerings would maintain their names for the time being.
Earlier in the week, Giles had said in an interview with a local radio station that people who hold accounts at both banks would be able to keep them, or choose to keep one. He also assured that the mobile applications for both banks would continue to function as distinct tools. A gradual integration was likely to take place, he said, but it would be managed in such a way that it would not cause disruption to customer service delivery.
Although the joining of Diamond and Access banks is now being described as a merger, it was earlier reported as an acquisition, with analysts suggesting that the latter bank would be buying the former. However, this hasn’t extinguished the belief among many, including a fair number of keen observers of the industry, that what has gone on is
Featured image source: Leadership Newspapers