1. Nigeria's central bank approves Diamond Bank and Access merger plan.
  2. The apex bank says both parties should obtain other necessary regulatory approvals for the merger.
  3. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019.

Nigeria's central bank has approved the merger and acquisition plan by two lenders, Access Bank and Diamond Bank.

Ahmad Abdullahi, CBN's Director of Banking Supervision, gave the go-ahead in a letter dated Monday, December 17, 2018, and addressed to the Managing Director of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe over the proposed merger talks.

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According to the letter, the apex bank directed both parties to get other necessary regulatory approvals.

Abdullahi said, “the CBN, in an apparent response to an application for pre-merger by Access Bank stated, “We refer to your letter dated December 17, 2018, on the above subject (application for pre-merger) and write to inform you that the Central Bank of Nigeria has no objection to your proposed merger with the Diamond Bank Plc.

“Furthermore, you are required to obtain other necessary regulatory approvals for the merger.

Herbert Wigwe, Access Bank Plc CEO
Herbert Wigwe, Access Bank Plc CEO

Confirming the deal on Monday, Access Bank Plc, says it will involve acquiring the entire issued share capital of Diamond Bank in exchange for a combination of cash and shares in Access Bank via a Scheme of Merger.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019 and may make Access Bank, Nigeria's largest bank by customer size and capital base.