The Evolution of Access Bank: A Story of Growth and Expansion

Founder of Access Bank

Access Bank has charted a remarkable path since its inception, transforming from a small Nigerian bank into a leading African financial institution with a global presence. This journey, filled with strategic expansions, acquisitions, and innovative services, mirrors the dynamic landscape of the African banking sector. This blog post delves into the history of Access Bank, addressing key questions about its origins, expansions, and current standing in the global banking arena.

Who Owns Access Bank?

Access Bank is a publicly listed company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, making its ownership widespread among institutional and individual investors. This structure supports its expansive operations and strategic decisions, guided by a board of directors and an executive management team dedicated to steering the bank toward continued growth and profitability.

Who is the Founder of Access Bank?

Access Bank was not attributed to a single founder but rather established by a group of visionary bankers and investors in 1989. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede and Herbert Wigwe led the significant transformation phase that started in 2002, which marked a turning point in its history and laid the groundwork for its current success.ess.

How many Branches does Access Bank have in Nigeria?

Access Bank operates an extensive network across Nigeria, evidencing its commitment to accessibility and customer service. While specific numbers can fluctuate due to ongoing expansion efforts and market dynamics, Access Bank boasted over 600 branches across Nigeria as of my last update. This vast network ensures comprehensive coverage, reaching millions of customers with a variety of banking services.

Is Diamond Bank now Access Bank? Did Access Bank acquire Diamond Bank?

Yes, in a move that marked one of the largest banking mergers in Nigeria’s history, Access Bank acquired Diamond Bank in 2018. This strategic acquisition was completed in 2019, with the merger creating a formidable banking institution characterized by a robust customer base, an extensive operational network, and enhanced financial capabilities​​.

Is Access Bank an International Bank?

Absolutely, Access Bank is an international bank with a substantial presence across three continents: Africa, Europe, and Asia. Following its strategic expansions and acquisitions, Access Bank has established operations in key global financial centers, including the UK and France, and in numerous African countries, affirming its status as a leading international bank​​​​.

Access Bank’s Journey: From Local to Global

The Beginning and Vision

Licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria in 1989, Access Bank started its operations with a vision to be a world-class financial institution. Over the years, strategic leadership and innovative banking solutions have propelled the bank from a local player to an icon in the African banking industry.

Strategic Acquisitions and Expansion

A pivotal aspect of Access Bank’s growth strategy has been its series of successful acquisitions, including the notable merger with Diamond Bank. These moves not only expanded its customer base and operational reach but also enhanced its service offerings and market competitiveness.

A Global Footprint

Today, Access Bank’s operations span across major continents, serving over 52 million customers through more than 700 branches and service outlets worldwide. This expansive network underscores its role as a global banking powerhouse, committed to providing exceptional financial services​​​​.


Access Bank’s transformation into a leading global financial institution is a testament to its innovative approach, strategic planning, and commitment to excellence. By continuously adapting to the evolving banking landscape and embracing opportunities for growth, Access Bank stands poised for further expansion and greater achievements in the global financial sector.

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