First National Bank (FNB) is planning to foray into Ghana and Nigeria and set up its retail banking business by the end of next year, as part of its overseas expansion strategy.
FNB CEO Jacques Celliers was quoted by BD Live as saying that the lender is hopeful about the business prospect in both countries.
It is believed that FNB will seek a banking license in Ghana, set up its retail banking operation and then strike a small to mid-sized acquisition to further boost the presence.
Earlier this year, FirstRand attempted to seal a deal in Ghana that could not materialize, and now has options to apply for a banking license or explore another acquisition opportunity.
"We will approach it both ways, but you can't always wait for deals," Celliers told the news portal.
The decision to expand the banking business comes after, the bank felt that South Africa's economic climate had changed and retail banking market was becoming more competitive in the region.
In Zambia, the bank has decided to set up the FNB brand organically after it failed to purchase Finance Bank of Zambia in 2011.
In Nigeria, FirstRand has a merchant banking operation in the form of Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), which has been provided with a merchant banking license in Nigeria.
FNB, which manages operations in Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Swaziland and Lesotho, was reportedly mulling over the acquisition of banks held by Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, which holds Mainstreet, Keystone and Enterprise Bank.
Celliers also told the news site that FNB had ambitions to foray into Kenya, but nothing concrete was planned now.
Source: Banking Business Review