Access Corporation, the parent company of Nigeria’s biggest bank by assets, is launching Oxygen X, a consumer lending subsidiary, to provide digital lending solutions to a bigger market than its banking customers. While Access Corporation has not disclosed a launch date for Oxygen X, it has received approval in principle from the Central Bank to commence operations in Nigeria, according to a statement published on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Oxygen X is not entirely a new product for the Access Corporation, having originally been named Quickbucks. The Quickbucks app has a 2.6-star rating on Android’s Playstore and was originally launched two years ago.
“The Quickbucks app has about 7 million customers, and that is what they are trying to migrate to Oxygen,” one person with knowledge of the business said. “FairMoney and Opay lend to everyone, but banks want you to be their customer before lending to you.”
A standalone lending app means that Oxygen can acquire users who don’t have Access Bank accounts.
While other holding companies in the financial services space have focused on fintech plays (GTCO has Squad, Stanbic has Zest, and Access has Hydrogen), Access Corporation has become the first to make a play for standalone digital lending.
Oxygen will compete with digital lenders like Carbon and OPay, serving a growing mass of digital-first customers. Since moving to a holding company structure in 2020, the Access Corporation has made big bets, including the launch of Hydrogen and a rapid expansion across the continent.
“We want to be present in 22 countries over the next five years,” Herbert Wigwe, Access Corporation’s CEO, said in a Bloomberg interview. Since then, the banking subsidiary has acquired several banks to deepen its global reach.
In November 2023, Access Bank said it was expanding to Asia, joining the likes of South Africa’s bank TymeBank to open shop in Asia. Early this month, the bank acquired Megatech Insurance Brokers Ltd, an insurance brokerage company licensed and regulated by the National Insurance Commission.