DIAMOND-ACCESS BANK MERGER: GOOD DEAL FOR STAKEHOLDERS

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In less than three months, Diamond-Access bank will hold the record as the Nigerian bank with the largest customer base in Sub-Saharan Africa through its merger which will largely benefit its stakeholders.

Through the merger, the employees, customers, depositors and shareholders of Diamond, Nigeria’s largest retail bank will reap from the bank’s operations.

Diamond Bank shareholders will receive a consideration of N3.13 per share, comprising of N1.00 per share in cash and the allotment of two (2) New Access Bank ordinary shares for every seven (7) Diamond Bank ordinary shares held as at the implementation Date.

The offer represents a premium of 260 percent to the closing market price of N0.87 per share of Diamond Bank on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (“NSE”) as of December 13, 2018, the date of the final binding offer.

According to Diamond Bank, customers are at the heart of its decision to create one of Nigeria’s leading banks; therefore, customers of the bank will continue to enjoy all the bank’s unique products and services even after the merger.

The products and services that Diamond Bank’s clients enjoy, including its commitment to digital innovation, will continue unchanged and will be backed by Access Bank’s own commitment to customers, financial inclusion and sustainability, and the bank’s corporate expertise and strong balance sheet.

Interestingly, these products and services will become better improved under the new entity, thanks to the combination of expertise between the leading lenders.

“Together, we will bring the power of banking to millions across Nigeria, focused on speed, service and security. We are determined to ensure that both Access Bank and Diamond Bank customers will experience no disruption to normal banking services while we join forces to create Nigeria and Africa’s largest retail bank by customers. While there may be some changes in due course, we are committed to inform you ahead of time and in a way that is most convenient for you,” Diamond Bank said.

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Diamond Bank’s customers will continue to enjoy DiamondXtra, an interest yielding hybrid account which allows deposit of both cash and third party cheques. Hybrid means a combination of both savings and current account features.

According to the bank, the reward scheme, which was launched in 2008 and has continued to run till date, will remain unchanged, even as new winners will continue to emerge and be paid. As a matter of fact, the merger with Access Bank will ensure that DiamondXtra becomes bigger and better because the scheme will be opened to Access Bank customers as well.

Secondly, Diamond Bank customers will enjoy instant, borderless banking from any Access Bank branch. In other words, whenever they walk into any Access Bank Plc branch and initiate payment in their local currency, the beneficiary will receive an instant direct credit to their account or cash in their local currency. This service will be available in all Access Bank subsidiaries in Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Zambia and Sierra Leone.

Also, following the merger, any Diamond Bank or Access Bank cards that get trapped in either bank’s ATMs will not be destroyed. Instead, such cards will be released to cardholders upon validation of ownership.

In the same vein, customers of both Diamond Bank and Access Bank will have access to over six hundred branches, where they can enjoy Same Day Clearing of cheques in either bank, just as they will get rewarded for using either Diamond Bank or Access Bank POS terminals. In the meantime, more lounges for the Diamond Bank XclusivePlus subscribers will be created.

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According to Diamond Bank’s statement, when the highly anticipated merger eventually takes effect, Diamond Bank Plc and Access Bank Plc would have successfully combined efforts to bring the power of banking to millions of account holders across Nigeria and beyond. The new entity will have 29 million customers with 13 million mobile customers, with a wide spread of over 3,000 ATMs and over 13,00 digital/financial inclusion customers.

Also much emphasis will be on the need for speedy and secured service delivery, the partnership will ensure that customers of both banks continue to experience the best banking experience, with zero disruptions to normal banking services.

Diamond Bank also noted that although there may be some changes in the future, any such changes will be duly communicated to the customers ahead of time.

Recall that both Diamond Bank Plc and Access Bank Plc announced late last year that they plan to combine resources in order to create the biggest retail bank in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Following the announcements, the banks proceeded to secure the necessary regulatory approvals from the Nigerian Stock Exchange and Securities and Exchange Commission. The court has also given its green light for the management of the two banks to convey an Extra Ordinary General Meeting where the shareholders of the two banks will ratify the proposed merger.

Since the announcement of the merger in 17th December 2018, the share price of Diamond bank has rallied by 132.69 percent from its trading price of N1.04 in December last year to N2.42 in February 2019.

Post consolidation, the new entity is expected to combine on the individual strengths, particularly that of Diamond Bank which is more retail-focussed, and create a competitive edge in terms of total assets, loan book and total deposit when compared with other lenders operating in the nation’s banking industry.

Diamond Bank sees potential in Nigeria’s large unbanked population, and with increasing calls for financial inclusion in the country, the lender hopes to leverage its robust digital and mobile platforms to expand frontiers and break new grounds in the industry.

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