Access Bank’s Acquisition of Atlas Mara Receives BOZ Approval, Promising Improved Financial Inclusion in Remote Zambia
The Bank of Zambia gave the green light to Access Bank Zambia Limited to acquire African Banking Corporation Limited (Atlas Mara), and subsequently merge the two entities. The announcement by BOZ assistant director-Communications, Besnart Mwanza, marked a significant step in the ongoing consolidation of the Zambian banking sector. Until the regulatory consolidation and transitioning process is completed, the two banks will continue to operate as separate entities.
The Access Bank Group was granted a banking license on May 13, 2008, under the Banking and Financial Services Act 1994, and started operations on September 24, 2008. The bank offers a range of commercial banking products, E-banking services, and cash management services to the Zambian banking population.
According to a statement by Dr. Herbert Wigwe, the Group chief executive of Access Holdings, the acquisition, and merger of Atlas Mara by Access Bank Zambia represents a significant move in the bank’s strategic plan to increase its geographic earnings growth and diversification. He stated, “the transaction builds on our earlier acquisition and merger of Cavmont Bank Plc into Access Bank Zambia and underscores our resolve to strengthen our presence in Zambia.’’
The interlinking of banking, financial services, and technology has significantly improved people’s lives in Zambia. With the advent of technology, banking services have become more accessible and affordable to people in remote areas, thereby promoting financial inclusion. The integration of technology in banking and financial services has also enhanced transparency and accountability, which could potentially reduce the risk of fraud and financial mismanagement, which is not yet a threatening challenge in Zambia. Additionally, the merger of Access Bank Zambia Limited and African Banking Corporation Limited (Atlas Mara) will likely result in the expansion of banking services and increased investment in the Zambian economy. Overall, the acquisition and merger are likely to have a positive impact on the banking sector in Zambia and the lives of its citizens.