Fitch Ratings, a leading global rating agency in its latest report, has upgraded Access Bank’s National Long-Term Rating to ‘A+ from ‘A. At the same time, Fitch affirmed the Bank’s Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘B’.
According to the rating agency, “Access Bank’s IDRs are driven by the Bank’s intrinsic creditworthiness as defined by its Viability Rating (VR)”. This, it stated, was a reflection of Access’ Bank’s solid financial metrics, which are stronger than most Nigerian banks.
Access Bank’s asset quality metrics is said to compare especially well with its immediate peers, as “the Bank’s stock of non-performing loans has remained under control, comprising 2.6% of gross loans at end September 2017, the lowest of all large Nigerian banks.”
The rating agency regards Access Bank’s resilient asset quality as a reflection of the Bank’s good corporate banking franchise and good management stability, which includes a robust risk management framework.
In addition, Fitch noted that refinancing of the Bank’s Eurobond in 2016 eased the bank’s foreign currency liquidity position. “Access Bank’s National Ratings are a reflection of its relative creditworthiness to the best credits in Nigeria.”
Speaking on the ratings upgrade, the Group Managing Director/CEO, Herbert Wigwe, said, “The rating is a reflection of our strategic intent to adopt best global practices in all aspects of our business. We have grown over the years to become a formidable force within the financial markets in which we play, with an aim to becoming the most respected African Bank”.
“As we embark on our next five – year cyclical growth strategy, we remain focused on establishing robust risk management and compliance frameworks, and seeking innovative ways to continually eschew sustainable banking ethos,” he stated.
Access Bank Plc is a full service commercial Bank operating through a network of 383 branches and service outlets located in major centres across Nigeria, Sub Saharan Africa, and the United Kingdom with representative offices in China, Lebanon and India Listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 1998, the Bank serves its various markets through four business segments: Personal, Business, Commercial and Corporate & Investment Banking.
The Bank has over 830,000 shareholders including several Nigerian and International Institutional Investors and has enjoyed what is arguably Africa’s most successful banking growth trajectory in the last twelve years ranking amongst Africa’s top 20 banks by total assets and capital in 2016.
As part of its continued growth strategy, Access Bank is focused on mainstreaming sustainable business practices into its operations. The Bank strives to deliver sustainable economic growth that is profitable, environmentally responsible and socially relevant.