When it comes to the African business landscape, Herbert Wigwe is a name that is hard to miss. He is the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank Plc, one of the leading banks in Nigeria and a major player in the African financial industry.
Under his leadership, Access Bank has undergone a remarkable transformation, one that has set it apart from its peers and earned it a place among the most innovative and inclusive banks in Africa.
Herbert Wigwe’s journey to the top of the African banking industry began in the early 1990s when he started his career as a banker with Guaranty Trust Bank. He later moved on to the defunct NAL Merchant Bank, where he rose to the position of Executive Director. In 2002, he co-founded Access Bank Plc, which at the time was a relatively small player in the Nigerian banking industry.
From the very beginning, Wigwe’s vision was clear: to build a bank that would not only be profitable but also make a meaningful impact on the lives of ordinary Nigerians. To achieve this, he focused on innovation and inclusion, two key pillars that have become the hallmark of Access Bank’s success.
One of the key innovations that Access Bank has introduced under Wigwe’s leadership is the digital transformation of its services. In a country where many people lack access to traditional banking services, the bank has leveraged technology to provide financial services to millions of Nigerians. Through its mobile banking app and USSD service, customers can carry out transactions, pay bills, and access loans with ease, from the comfort of their own homes.
Access Bank has also been at the forefront of promoting financial inclusion in Nigeria. In 2012, the bank launched its “W” Initiative, a program designed to empower and support women entrepreneurs in Nigeria. The program has since expanded to other African countries and has helped thousands of women access capital, training, and mentorship to grow their businesses.
Another example of Access Bank’s commitment to inclusion is its support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The bank has launched several initiatives aimed at providing financing, training, and other forms of support to SMEs, which are a vital component of the African economy.
Through these and other initiatives, Herbert Wigwe and Access Bank have revolutionized the African banking industry, making it more accessible and inclusive. Their efforts have not gone unnoticed: in 2020, Wigwe was named the “African Banker of the Year” at the African Banker Awards, a recognition of his leadership and the impact that Access Bank has made on the African financial landscape.
In conclusion, Herbert Wigwe’s story is an inspiring one, not just for those in the banking industry, but for anyone who believes in the power of innovation and inclusion. Through his leadership of Access Bank, he has shown that it is possible to build a profitable business while making a positive impact on society. As the African economy continues to grow and evolve, we can only hope that more leaders like Wigwe will emerge, driving progress and prosperity for all.