MASERU — Standard Bank this week said it had strengthened its grip on the African market after it opened its 500th branch in the Nigerian town of Ajao Estate in Osolo.
The bank’s customers also ballooned to two and half million with three million active accounts in 16 countries across the continent.
In a statement this week the bank said it had also opened branches in the Zambian border town of Lumwana and upgraded facilities in Maputo, Mozambique.
The Stanbic Bank Uganda signed its 2.5 millionth customers at the flagship Forrest Mall branch in Kampala.
Terry Moodley, head of personal and business banking in Standard Bank Group’s Africa operations, said reaching these milestones was evidence of the bank’s commitment to Africa.
“For those serious about taking advantage of the growth opportunities in Africa, there can be no substitute for proper on-the-ground presence in the key markets,” Moodley said.
“Standard Bank has been investing steadily in its African footprint for the best part of 20 years. This experience has provided many lessons that continue to help us understand how best to continue growing in Africa.”
He said Standard Bank expects to report further growth in branch numbers and customers this time next year because of the new investment it continues to commit.
Standard Bank signalled its intent to grow its position in Africa when Chief Executive Jacko Maree said in August that the group will use part of the US$750 million (M5.9 billion) it expects from the sales of stakes in its Argentinean subsidiary
Standard Bank Argentina and Troika Dialog in Russia to focus on its franchises in Africa.
“These milestones are important to us because they provide a solid platform from which to continue to grow and consolidate our position in key African markets.
“Africa remains at the core of Standard Bank and this is reflected in our refined strategy unveiled earlier this year. These milestones in personal and business banking are a further indication that the strategy is the right one,” Moodley said.
“We will continue to build first-class, on-the-ground banking franchises in chosen markets in Africa, investing in people, branch networks and systems. We are confident that future revenue flows will justify these investments in branch and customer infrastructure.”
Moodley said the bank recognises that it is still not at sufficient scale in key regions, nor present in some potentially attractive and fast-growing countries.
He said the bank has a good platform from which to expand, has the capacity to grow organically and is also looking for opportunities for acquisitions.
The Standard Bank Group operates in the following African countries: South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, Angola the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zimbabwe, Mauritius and Lesotho.