After several months of deliberations and restructuring, the long awaited merger between Access Bank and Diamond Bank finally came to an official conclusion on April 1st, 2019. This merger is by far one of the most remarkable mergers in Nigeria’s banking history and has placed Access Bank as the largest retail bank in Africa by customer base. Access Bank stated that the new brand which is recorded to have over 27000 staff spread across 592 branches in 12 countries distributed in 3 continents with over 29 million customers, has always been part of its vision.
Following the successful merger between the banks, the values of the both Access Bank and Diamond Bank were combined to create a new visual identity. The CEO, Herbert Wigwe, emphasised that the brand’s new identity is built on the long lasting philosophy with the vision to be the world’s most respected African bank.
Explaining the inspiration behind the new logo, it was revealed that the emblem is a fusion of both banks’ corporate values. While Access Bank has been attested for being fast, recognised and trusted globally, Diamond Bank is known for its youthfulness, vibrancy and humanness. In their words;
“The new visual identity fuses together the best of Access Bank and Diamond Bank. It builds on the layers of meaning that were built into two iconic brands. Diamond bank’s was youthful, vibrant, and human. Access Banks’s was trusted, global, and fast. Bringing them together to capture the strength created through the merger meant drawing from the essence of each logo but refreshing them to create a sense of energy and forward momentum”
Despite being a blend of both banks, the new brand is designed to have refreshing attributes of its own. “Bringing them together to capture the strength created through the merger meant drawing from the essence of each logo but refreshing them to create a sense of energy and forward momentum.”
In the new logo, the diamond shape was retained but with new features added to it. The diamond shape is embedded in three chevrons that is maze-like which is meant to give direction or access to customers. “The diamond shape is fused into the three chevrons, which radiate in all directions to create layers around a core.”
The new logo is designed in two colours- a dominance of the well-known orange colour which will be used in corporate application in order to retain the sense of familiarity among Access Bank’s customers while the diamond colour palette will be used in its retail application to ensure continuity for retail customers.
“The retention of the access typeface, colour and font is complemented by the orange logo, which draws from the colour palettes of both banks”.
SLOGAN AND IMPACT
Accompanied with the new logo is the new tag line, “Access. More than Banking”. They refer this slogan as their philosophy and a promise they will work to keep.
Having being in the picture for over two decades, Access Bank is confident about the impact they’ve made so far. Their brand’s history serves as an assurance to both Access and Diamond Bank’s customers that they would be able to keep and succeed their promise. Narrating their impact journey, they said;
“Almost 20 years ago Access Bank set out to change the face of banking in Nigeria. Its goal was to lift the continent of Africa through what it called sustainable banking, showing individuals and businesses across the country that ethical business was good business.
“Providing African businesses with access to intra Africa trade and global markets. Giving budding entrepreneurs the tools to build a business.
“Offering families the opportunity to realise their dreams. Across the country, another entrepreneur was also building a bank, with a dream that went beyond banking.”
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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It started as a rumour, but months down the line, it’s the new reality and identity for these two major bank brands, Access Bank and Diamond Bank. The deal which was reportedly denied by some authorities in the banks officially went public in December 2018 when negotiations were already concluded.
Expectedly, there have been many reactions to this; while most see it as a welcome development which is significant in putting Nigeria on the map, a few remain sceptical about it. Amid the pressure from panicking customers, concerned shareholders, the interfering press and public opinions, the two banks have remained focus to what they believe would be the largest bank the African continent has ever seen.
Moving away from the noise and excitement, there is so much to glean from this seemingly great business accomplishment. Let’s see what insights we can glean.
For any business that seeks to expand, there are certain qualities it should be known for as well as structures that must be in place. To put this in a more concise way, that business must have built its capacity which isn’t built overnight, rather it is consistently developed over the years.
From its record, Access Bank, which is a top Multinational commercial bank in Nigeria, has had six successful mergers and acquisitions before now. The bank began its journey of acquisitions in 2005 with their first being Marina Bank and Capital Bank. Amongst other acquisitions after the first, one of the most memorable which placed them as one of the four largest commercial banks in Nigeria was in 2012 when it acquired Intercontinental Bank. Well there is no doubt the management team has been running with their vision which is “to be the world’s most respected African bank”.
On the other hand, Diamond Bank as a technology driven retail bank had set a high standard which gave other banks a run for their money. This has earned it an indisputable leadership position in digital and mobile banking. Diamond bank mostly leveraged on technology and continued to provide innovative solutions for financial challenges.
Another sign that this merger will be unbeatable is clearly seen in their statistics, with Access Bank having an asset of 4,555 and 1,555 for Diamond Bank. It is also going to be a massive force combining both bank’s customers, Access Bank having over 10 million customers in Nigeria and different parts of Africa, and Diamond Bank 19 million customers. This explains why successful establishments tend to acquire enterprises that will add more value to them rather than reduce their worth. The likes of Facebook who keep acquiring other business platforms to enlarge its empire will help drive this point home.
Paying a closer attention to this deal, one would understand that another reason why Access Bank and Diamond Bank took this bold step is to remain relevant first as a financial establishment, then to their customers who are faced with many options to choose from in the ever bubbling financial market. What better way can a brand attain relevance if not creating a larger platform that provides solutions to the many problems facing their many customers?
While Access Bank will leverage Diamond Bank’s leadership in digital and mobile-led retail banking, Diamond Bank will gain more visibility with Access Bank’s strong network across the continent. In the word of Herbert Wigwe, the CEO of Access Bank,
“Access has a strong track record of acquisition and integration and has a clear growth strategy. Access and Diamond have complementary operations and similar values, and a merger with Diamond, with its leadership in digital mobile-led retail banking, could accelerate our strategy as a significant corporate and retail bank in Nigeria and a Pan-African financial services champion.”
Now bearing in mind the heights both banks have climbed in the past and what they hope to achieve, we can bet that they have done their market survey and have seen the many opportunities their merger will create in both the banking sector and the society at large. Again Herbert’s words confirm this,
“We believe that this platform, together with the two banks’ shared focus on innovation, financial inclusion and sustainability, can bring benefits to Access and Diamond customers, staff and shareholders.”
Till the deal comes to a final conclusion, there remains a high hope that the combination of these two banks will give birth to an exceptional brand.
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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