We are delighted to announce the launch of The Access Bank UK Ltd – Paris Branch that took place on Thursday, 11th May 2023 at the Petite Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris.
The splendid event was attended by 450 esteemed guests including Herbert Wigwe, Group Chief Executive Officer of The Access Corporation Plc; Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, former Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank Plc and currently Chairman of Coronation Capital; Jamie Simmonds, CEO and Managing Director of The Access Bank UK Ltd; Roosevelt Ogbonna, CEO and Managing Director of Access Bank Plc; Olivier Becht, Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade, Economic Attractiveness and French Nationals Abroad; Kayode Laro, Nigerian Ambassador to France; Khalifa Muhammadu Sanusi II – Emir of Kano; Pascal Furth, Head of Regional economic Department at the French Embassy among many others.
Guests arrived to a red-carpet reception, followed by a cocktail party accompanied by a wonderful musical performance by the Elipan Sextet.
The speeches commenced with Olivier Becht, Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade, Economic Attractiveness and French Nationals Abroad, highlighting the success story of Access Bank Plc he stated that ‘Access Bank Plc has now become the largest bank in Nigeria by assets, and even the largest in Africa by customer base. This success would not have been achieved without a clear vision and bold decisions. That clear vision guided you to take the decision to open a branch in France. This is a milestone in the French Nigerian economic credentials. Congratulations, for your success and thank you for choosing France. He then added that he is ‘confident that The Access Bank UK Paris Branch will play an instrumental role not only to boost business relations between France and Nigeria, but as a bridge between our two continents for trade and investment.’
Jamie Simmonds, CEO and MD of The Access Bank UK Ltd, was next to address the audience. He has thanked everyone for coming to the launch and added that his role as a CEO/ MD of The Access Bank UK Limited is to develop the international business of Access Group. He then said: ‘We are pleased that the planting of a flag and the growth of Access Group is here in Paris. I have absolute confidence that the team led by Justin Maria will replicate the story of The Access Bank UK Limited which in its own way has partly replicated the growth of Access Group. When we started in 2008 we had capital of circa $20m, two employees and no banking licence. Currently, we are the leading African bank headquartered in the UK. We have share capital of circa $600m, a balance sheet of $3.8b and working alongside Parent we are able to provide innovative solutions in respect of furthering the business connections between the UK and Africa’.
Herbert Wigwe, Group Chief Executive Officer of The Access Corporation Plc, was next to speak and emphasised the strategic vision and purpose for expanding the bank’s footprint in Europe: ‘Access Bank Plc, today, has a very strong presence in the United Kingdom, but following Brexit, there was a need for us to establish a presence in another country in Europe and France provides a very strong platform to do so. Our range of banking products and services will be an asset for businesses looking to trade internationally. We are confident that the Bank’s trade finance solutions will help businesses to navigate the complexities of cross-border trade, and at the same time, our digital capabilities will make banking more convenient and efficient for all our customers.’
Roosevelt Ogbonna, CEO and MD of Access Bank Plc added: ‘Over the years, we have demonstrated a strong commitment to deepening the bank’s presence across Africa and beyond. Today, we are proud to have a presence in 18 countries across four continents, serving millions of customers and businesses. Indeed, our expansion drive has been guided by our vision to become the world’s most respected African bank, and by building on our strong track record of innovation, customer service, and social responsibility, we have come one step closer to achieving this goal.’
The speeches concluded with Kayode Laro, the Nigerian Ambassador to France, congratulating the management and staff of Access Bank and those who have worked to make this opening possible. He then assured that the branch will receive the maximum support that they need from the Embassy of Nigeria in Paris.
Following the speeches, all guests were invited to an excellent cocktail dinner served in the Pavillon Sud at the Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris. The food was accompanied by a performance from the accomplished Nigerian-French artist and songwriter Bukola Elemide, professionally known as Asa. The launch was a great success and a very memorable night for all in attendance and an excellent way to showcase The Access Bank UK Limited’s commitment to building a strong and sustainable business in Paris.