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Case Code: FINC131
Case Length: 17 Pages 
Period: 2014-2017    
Pub Date: 2018
Teaching Note: Available
Organization : Access Bank
Industry : Banking
Countries : Nigeria
Themes:  --
Case Studies  
Business Strategy
Human Resource Management
IT and Systems
Leadership & Entrepreneurship

Access Bank- Building a Brand by Delivering Sustainable Banking

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In the interest of long-term growth, the Bank’s vision was to incorporate the sustainability principles into the core organizational strategy. The bank started its journey toward sustainability with the firm belief that organizations with a robust culture and active sustainability practices could outperform the conventional banks. Wigwe, confirming his confidence in sustainable banking, said, “Our model affirms that financial institutions can be profitable by embracing sustainability.” To the Bank, the popular criterion of a triple bottom line – People, Planet, and Profit – was more than just rhetoric. Sharing the bank’s view of sustainability as a strategic imperative, Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, Head of Sustainability at Access Bank, said, “We focus on creating real value through careful implementation of our sustainability agenda and have incorporated this into every aspect of our business operations and relationships.” ..

Finance Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Business Environment, Case Studies
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The Bank’s philosophy was guided by three strategic components – customers, sustainability, and talent. The Bank’s emphasis on sustainability and offering the best to all the stakeholders was reflected in its values. (Refer to Exhibit V for Access Bank’s Mission, Vision and Values)..
In 2014, the Nigerian economy was passing through a challenging phase. Falling oil prices had impacted the country’s exports and exchange earnings. Other macro-economic inconsistencies like uncertainty in the 2015 presidential elections, a stronger US dollar, and insecurity in the north of the country due to extreme violence and continued displacements presented a bundle of challenges before the country and had severe adverse effects on the Nigerian economy. GDP growth slowed down to an estimated 3.2%, which was recorded as the lowest since 1999...
Though it was essential to create a strong brand, Access Bank didn’t choose flashy and ostentatious means to build the brand. To the Bank, branding was much more than just a cool logo or flashy advertisements. It started slowly, yet consciously reaching out to the people. It positioned itself as a bank with a passion for service. Commanding respect was the Bank’s primary concern. Access Bank followed a simple rule of branding; it started small and kept a clear and undeterred focus on its target niche. The Bank followed a sustainable and organic way to build a brand. Unlike most other banks, Access Bank didn’t believe in building a brand by creating strong business bottom lines alone. It also focused on building a sustained equity and on inclusion in the marketplace.
Access Bank being one of the top five banks in Nigeria, growth had always been on the cards. An inorganic approach to growth promised faster results. In 2012, the Bank acquired Intercontinental Bank (IB), which made it the fourth largest bank in Nigeria. The acquisition brought together two banks with different cultures, financials, and principles. The immediate effects were not very desirable.
Exhibit I: Awards won by Access Bank.
Exhibit II : Access Bank on Timeline
Exhibit III : The Questions Access Bank Answers Everyday
Exhibit IV :Nigeria Sustainable Banking Principles
Exhibit V : Access Bank’s Mission, Vision, Values
Exhibit VI : Access Bank - % of Women (Employees / Board)
Exhibit VII : Environmental & Social Risk Management (ESRM Procedures)at Access Bank
Exhibit VIII : Access Bank Value Chain Framework