Leading financial services provider, Access Bank is set to acquire Transnational Bank Limited, a Kenya-based lender, after getting approval from the competition authority in the eastern African nation.

The deal will see Access Bank take up 93.57 percent ownership in Transnational, which lends mainly to the agricultural sector. This comes seven months after the Nigerian lender merged with Diamond Bank to become Africa’s largest bank by customer base.

The Tier 1 Nigerian bank currently has 29 million customers with operations across three continents and 12 countries. Acquiring the Nairobi lender will see Access bank extend its presence to Kenya, where rivals Guaranty Trust Bank and United Bank of Africa Plc. already operate.

Apart from positioning the company for further continental expansion, the Access-Transnational deal keys into the ongoing consolidation push in the banking industry by Kenya’s Central Bank.

Nairobi has over 40 lenders serving a population of almost 50 million people, meaning there are more banks per person than in Africa’s two largest economies – South Africa and Nigeria.

Over time, there have been several mergers and acquisitions in the sector. Ventures Africa reported last month that the apex bank approved the takeover of the struggling National Bank of Kenya (NBK) by KCB Group, the country’s biggest bank.

According to the central bank, the NBK buyout would “strengthen both institutions leveraging on their respective well-established domestic and regional corporate, public sector and retail franchises.”

The industry shakeup has also seen a merger between NIC Group Plc. and Commercial Bank of Africa Limited. In the past two years, Mauritius-based SBM Holdings Ltd. bought some of the assets of Chase Bank Kenya Ltd. and the entire capital of Fidelity Commercial Bank Ltd.

Transnational Bank Kenya Limited is a commercial bank in Kenya and one of the forty-four licensed commercial banks in the country. Last year, it recorded a full-year pretax loss of 98.5 million shillings ($951,690).

Similarly, Non-performing loans soared 58 percent to 1.85 billion shillings, while loans increased 0.5 percent to 6.63 billion shillings according to its annual report.

Meanwhile, Access Bank’s recorded positive figures across most financial indicators according to its unaudited financial statements for the period ended September 30, 2019.

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