Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), a division of First Rand Bank Limited in South Africa, will by June this year expand its presence in West Africa by opening a division in Ghana, the region’s second largest economy.
RMB’s Head of Trade Finance, Minos Gerakaris, disclosed this in an interview on the sidelines of the ongoing 6th annual West Africa Trade and Export Finance Conference in Lagos on Wednesday. In his remarks, quoted by local newspaper ThisDay, he said the “Inter-regional trade flow is definitely important to our banks and through opening up in more jurisdictions, the next one which will be Ghana, we are opening in June, we are supporting our corporate clients and helping them grow. The focus of the Ghana Bank would be a full banking licence and we would be covering universal banking, from retail banking down to corporate and investment banking.”
With the bank keen to further its expansion programme within West Africa, speculations have risen over its willingness to acquire nationalized Nigerian lender, Keystone Bank. But Trade Sales Head, Tosin Olatunji, gave a clouded response. Though he confirmed that the bank is willing to attempt a Nigerian investment, he failed to name the strategy RMB planned on using. “RMB would definitely expand in Nigeria, however we always look for the right opportunity to put our footprint in Nigeria and so at the right time, RMB would definitely expand more than what we are presently as a merchant bank. We would definitely look at the opportunities we see in the country.”
By Yemi Salami