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VENTURES AFRICA – South African financial services company, First National Bank (FNB) plans to expand its retail operations to Ghana and Nigeria by 2014 to boost growth.
South Africa’s economic climate had changed and retail banking market was becoming more competitive in the region, hence the decision to expand further, said Jacques Celliers the bank’s CEO.
According to a BDlive report, FNB will try to get a banking licence in Ghana, build up the brand organically and then make a small to mid-sized acquisition to build scale.
This year, the lender’s efforts to clinch a deal in Ghana did not materialise, leaving it with an option to apply for a banking licence or explore another acquisition opportunity.
In 2011, FirstRand resorted to building the FNB brand organically in Zambia after efforts to acquire Finance Bank of Zambia fell through. That Zambian operation has expanded from seven branches in mid 2012 to 10 in June this year.
“…you can’t always wait for deals,” Mr Celliers said regarding the company’s Ghana market entry plans.
FNB, a division of FirstRand Limited with operations in Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Swaziland and Lesotho, had previously indicated interest to acquire banks held by Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, which holds Mainstreet, Keystone and Enterprise Bank.
Bloomberg however reported that the group had narrowed its interest to Keystone and Mainstreet.