First National Bank (FNB), a South Africa-based financial services firm and part of FirstRand Bank, is, reportedly, planning to expand its retail banking business to Ghana and Nigeria by the end of 2014 to drive growth.
The move by FNB is due to changes in economic environment and increased competition in the retail banking segment in South Africa.
According to FNB CEO, Jacques Celliers, FNB will initially try to get a banking licence in Ghana, build up the brand organically and then make a small to mid-sized acquisition to build scale.
In 2013, FirstRand failed to get a deal in Ghana, leaving it with an option to apply for a new banking licence.
In Nigeria, FirstRand already operates a merchant banking business, Rand Merchant Bank (RMB). The group has previously shown interest to acquire banks held by Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, including Mainstreet, Keystone and Enterprise Bank.
In Africa, FNB also has operations in Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Swaziland and Lesotho.
Celliers said that FNB had ambitions to enter Kenya, but nothing concrete was planned at the moment.