The Access Bank UK Limited: Focus on Customer Service and Innovative Solutions

A moderate appetite for risk and a passion for serving its customers is standing The Access Bank UK Ltd in good stead.

The Access Bank UK Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Access Bank Plc, a Nigerian Stock Exchange-listed company.

The Access Bank UK Ltd: offices in the heart of the City of London

The Access Bank UK Ltd: offices in the heart of the City of London

Like its parent, The Access Bank UK Ltd is committed to developing a sustainable business model — with a moderate appetite for risk, a passion for customer service, and a commitment to building long-term relationships with its customers. It plays a key role in the Access Group’s vision to be “the world’s most-respected African bank”.

The global private bank delivers innovative investment solutions to clients, who value trust, integrity, and accountability as well as investment performance. The Access Bank UK Ltd takes a proactive approach with products and services tailored to customers’ needs.

It provides trade finance, commercial and private banking and asset management products and services for customers in their dealings with Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) markets. It also supports companies wishing to invest and trade in Sub-Saharan Africa, MENA, and Asian markets.

The Access Bank UK Ltd is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the PRA. The Dubai branch, in the iconic Gate Building of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), is regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).

The institution refuses to chase unsustainable yields as a route to growth. The focus is on building the business through the strength of its customer relationships.

In 2018, The Access Bank UK Ltd became a direct member of the three key British payment clearing systems: Bacs (Bankers’ Automated Clearing Services), C&CCC (Cheque and Credit Clearing Company’s Image Clearing System) and Faster Payments. CEO and managing director Jamie Simmonds said it was “a great landmark for us”, enabling the The Access Bank Ltd UK team to build a sustainable platform with direct entry into the payment clearing system.

“This will enable us to enhance our level of customer service,” he said. “We have a clear commitment here, and we anticipate and quickly respond to market needs with the right technology, products, and services. Joining the UK payment clearing system is a clear example of meeting the needs of our customers.”

Dubai: DIFC Gate Building

Dubai: DIFC Gate Building

The Access Bank UK Ltd provides services to support business activities in Sub-Saharan Africa, and across the world. It was awarded Confirming Bank status by the International Finance Corporation as part of the Global Trade Finance Programme, strengthening its trade finance capabilities. It was also the first Nigerian Bank in the UK to be appointed as correspondent bank to the Central Bank of Nigeria, licensed to undertake infrastructure work on behalf of the Nigerian government and issue letters-of-credit on behalf of the Nigerian government and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The commercial banking team offers relationship-based service for corporate and individual customers. It offers products and services at competitive rates, with market-leading systems and high quality service.

The Access Bank UK Dubai Branch offers products and services to assist customers in the MENA region with trade and investment needs in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa. It is committed to building an enduring relationship in the region, in line with the approach that has proven so effective for the The Access Bank UK Ltd. The Dubai branch, coupled with a presence in the UK and Nigeria, allows the bank to deliver a wealth of expertise.

Access Bank CEO and Managing Director: Jamie Simmonds

CEO and Managing Director: Jamie Simmonds

This is a bank that takes the time to build long-term relationships. It understands customer goals and creates suitable strategies to meet them. Behind all this is a dedicated and professional staff, constantly supported with development opportunities. The bank remains committed to the diversity of its workforce. Many have spent time working in the Sub-Saharan, West African, and international marketplaces. A sense of individual ownership is encouraged — as is a strong team spirit. The aim is to help employees realise their potential through continuous learning opportunities, with the tools and training to support professional growth.

The Access Bank UK Ltd is led by an accomplished team determined to deliver superior financial solutions. As Jamie Simmonds puts it: “Our people are fundamental to our bank’s continued development. They provide the skills that deliver our focus on service and customer relationships. Reflecting this, during the year we selectively recruited additional members to the team and invested more in professional development. We were the first Nigerian bank to achieve Investors in People accreditation.

“We have now advanced our status to Platinum. We believe that our consistently low staff-turnover rate reflects in part the advances we have made in training and development. The bank is working in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) programmes.”

In the Report and Statutory Accounts for 2021, the bank demonstrated another year of all-round growth, achieving and exceeding targets for all main growth strategies. Entitled Charting a Course for the Future, the report highlights a strong operational performance by the main strategic business units — and continued growth in Sub-Saharan Africa and the MENA region.

The bank has passed the $100m milestone for the second successive year to achieve $111.1m for 2021, a 10 percent increase. The trade finance operation continues to be the bank’s largest SBU and is confirming bank for Access Bank Plc and the Group. Trade finance maintained an upward trajectory, with income up nine percent year-on-year to $55.8m and correspondent banking income growing to $27.8m, up 12 percent year-on-year.

Commercial banking income has reached $37.6m while asset management income rose by 52 percent to $5m. Retail products continue to attract interest, with £152.2m flowing into its one-, two- and three-year bonds during the year. The Access Bank UK Ltd also announced the launch of a new Visa debit card for personal and business banking.

Simmonds said a challenging external environment and difficult trading conditions failed to dent another strong performance. “The performance reinforces the effectiveness of our proven income-driven strategy,” he said, “in which we deepened relationships with key customers and retained relationships that we have had for a decade or longer.”

Herbert Wigwe, chairman and non-executive director, added: “In achieving another strong set of results in 2021, the bank has emerged fitter through the continued growth and retention of its customers and an increase in staff.”

Jamie Simmonds said that throughout his experience in financial services, his guiding principles have been to deliver excellent customer service and provide innovative solutions. “I have been involved in the turnaround of several existing businesses by going back to these basic principles and rebuilding from the ground up.

“When I established the The Access Bank UK Ltd in January 2008, it was at a turbulent time in banking — but we set the risk appetite, the processes and procedures, and developed products that our customers wanted.”

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