Diamond Bank on Friday said it would sell West African banking operations in Benin, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal to focus on the Nigerian retail banking opportunity.
The bank said that the company banking operations in the four West African countries would be sold to Manzi Finances S.A, a Cote d’Ivoire financial services holding company.
The bank, in a statement, said that regulatory approvals for the transactions had been obtained in all jurisdictions anticipated to close before December 31, 2017.
“By focusing its resources exclusively on Nigeria, Diamond Bank is poised to capitalise on the positive macro fundamentals inherent in the Nigerian market.
“These include Africa’s largest economy and evolving socio-economic trends driven by changing lifestyle preferences in favour of mobile delivered services and a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship”, it said.
Uzoma Dozie, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, was quoted as saying that time had come for the bank to fully apply its resources to Nigeria after 18 years of building franchise in other markets.
“This is aligned with Diamond Bank’s strategic objective: to be the fastest growing and most profitable technology-driven retail banking franchise in Nigeria.
“We are prioritising the Nigerian market because of its vast potential.
“A large segment of the population is underbanked or unbanked and the use of technology and mobile banking is rising exponentially.
“This provides Diamond Bank with the opportunity to reach millions of people, and facilitate financial inclusion on an exceptional scale,” Mr Dozie said.
He said that the bank already had a foundation for growth in Nigeria with over 15 million customers.
“We also have a framework in Nigeria that will allow us to scale rapidly, efficiently and cost effectively.
“In part this is due to our digitally-led approach which has reduced the need to have a network of physical branches to service customers.
“Fundamentally this strategy stands to benefit all our key stakeholders – shareholders, customers and employees – in the immediate, medium and long term,” he added.
NAN reports that the bank was incorporated on Dec. 20, 1990 and began operating as a private limited liability company on March 21, 1991.
Diamond Bank became a universal bank in February 2001 and in January 2005, it became a public limited company following a highly successful private placement share offering which substantially raised the bank’s equity base.