Access Bank’s profits grew 52% in the first half of 2023.

Access Holdings Plc posted profits of ₦135 billion in the first half of 2023. That’s a 52% jump compared to the half year of 2022, according to the bank’s half-year financial statements.

Access Holdings has been in an acquisition spree for more than a year now, trying to deepen its reach across the continent. In May, the lender received regulatory approval from the Central Bank of Angola to proceed with the purchase of a majority stake in Finibanco Angola. In July, it acquired the sub-Saharan subsidiaries of Standard Chartered Bank for an undisclosed sum. Between December 2022 and June 2023, both Access Holdings’ total assets and total liabilities have surged 39%. Its total assets is ₦20 trillion in June 2023, from ₦14 trillion in December 2022, less than six months. 

The liabilities currently stand at ₦19 trillion in June 2023 from ₦13 trillion, six months ago. This has made  the bank vulnerable to credit risk exposures. For instance, its loans and advances grew to ₦6.7 trillion in June 2023, as against ₦5.1 trillion recorded in December 2022. A note from the bank said the directors are confident in their ability to continue to control exposure to credit risk which can result from both its loans and advances portfolio and debt securities.

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The Ghana problem

Currently, the Ghanaian government is struggling with  bankruptcy over failure to pay billions of dollars it owes to international creditors in December. Access Holdings is one of the government’s creditors as Ghana’s sovereign debt can impact the bank’s position. “The fair value for Ghana sovereign debts in the books of Access Holdings amounts to ₦615.18 billion (December 2022: ₦348.15 billion),” the note read in the lender’s financials.

Nonetheless, Access Bank has demonstrated growth in its corporate and investment banking drive which creates the bulk of its revenue, growing almost double to ₦469 billion in June 2023 from ₦266 billion in June 2022. Its net fee and commission income grew 59% to ₦88 billion in June 2023. Similarly, its net interest income was up 14% in H1 2023.

Group Chief Executive Officer, Access Holdings Plc, Herbert Wigwe, who was quoted in a statement, said the bank had a five year plan to become a leading financial and ecosystem player. “Our growth plans for the African continent remain firm and clear, driven by the strong long term growth prospects and trade opportunities seen across many of the countries,” Wigwe added.

Access Holdings said its payments vertical, Hydrogen, processed over ₦3 trillion in transactions, achieving a 407% month-on-month growth in point of sale (POS) transactions and 99% system uptime on account switching within the period.

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