Access Bank is said to have officially acquired Diamond Bank, although no official statement has been released confirming this development at the time of filing this report.
A source in Nigeria’s central bank confirmed the acquisition but did not divulge details on the grounds that they do not have authority to speak on the matter.
“We will release a statement on this in due course,” the source said without providing details.
Nigeria’s online newspaper, TheCable broke the story this evening, saying that the 28-year-old Diamond Bank has been acquired by Access Bank, in a development that moved the timeline a lot nearer than previously anticipated first quarter of next year.
There have been talks that the bank headed by Uzoma Dozie, the chief executive officer, would be acquired by Access Bank in the first quarter of 2019, following Diamond Bank’s illiquidity.
According to insiders’ accounts, Diamond Bank late 2018 approached Access Bank for an intervention in a bid to prevent CBN’s withradwal of its operating license following its depleting capital adequacy ratio on account of a huge Non Performing Loans (NPLs) portfolio put at over N150 billion.
The acquisition is said to have been brokered by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), “in a bid to further consolidate the banking industry”, TheCable reported.
It will be recalled that Diamond Bank last week announced its decision to drop its international operating licence following capitalisation issues, stating that it had chosen to focus on its national operations.
“With this approval, the bank will cease to operate as an international bank. The re-licensing as a national bank supports Diamond Bank’s objective of streamlining its operations to focus resources on the significant opportunities in the Nigerian retail banking market, and the economy as a whole.
“The move follows Diamond Bank’s decision to sell its international operations, which included the disposal of its West African Subsidiary in 2017 and Diamond Bank UK, the sale of which is currently in its final stages.
“The change to national bank status also enables the bank to maintain a lower minimum capital requirement of 10 per cent, as against 15 per cent required for international banks,” Dozie, said in a written statement released past Friday.
The bank recorded its worst month on record in November with share plunging to 0.61k per unit on November 30, 2018, TheCable reported.