Herbert Wigwe is in the league of men whose fame have a hard time catching up with their remarkable achievements. He is the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank. You may have heard of them. Under his leadership the Bank, has roared into the limelight, with the many brilliant strides and policies executed since he took over at the helm.
He is easily one of the best banking brains and business leaders on the continent – evident in his immense contribution to the African banking industry. Herbert’s story is a remarkable one and his journey up until this point is enough blueprint for anyone looking to achieve success in their path.
From his early 20’s, Herbert began what would become a successful career in banking and finance, his first entrepreneurial venture, would be his most successful.
Herbert attended Federal Government College (FGC) Sokoto before moving to FGC Warri, he graduated from FGC Warri in 1982 and is fondly remembered not only as a brilliant student but as an avid cricket player.
Although Herbert failed the JAMB examination the first time in 1982, it never deterred him, he persisted and was successfully enrolled at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) in 1983 where he study Accountancy, graduating with a Second Class Upper honours degree in 1987.
In 1988, Herbert completed the compulsory NYSC program, he would then land a job with Coopers and Lybrand Associates Limited in Lagos as a graduate assistant and was promoted within a year.
In 1989, Herbert passed his Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) professional examination and moved on to work as a credit analyst at Capital Merchant Bank.
In 1990, Herbert won the British Council Scholarship to study at North Wales University (now Bangor University). He earned his M.A in Banking and Finance in 1991. He returned to Lagos to join a fast growing new generation bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, gradually rising through the ranks to become an Executive Director at the age of 32.
Born in Ibadan, Oyo state in 1966, Herbert Wigwe found his calling in finance at the age of 16. He started out his career at the Coopers and Lybrand Associates, Lagos, as a management consultant. He soon got to be a chartered accountant and subsequently went to work at Guaranty Trust Bank Limited. In his time at the bank, spanning over a decade, Herbert rose through the ranks to become the Executive Director – Corporate and Investment Banking. Herbert’s career lends credence to the point that practice is what you do that makes you good. His work ethic and dedication to his career path is exemplary.
The Access Bank story
After over a decade at Guaranty Trust Bank, in 2002, he answered the lifelong call of entrepreneurship when he and his long-time partner and close friend, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede were presented with the prospect of acquiring a small-scale commercial bank, Access Bank. To have even considered such a decision of obtaining what was then ranked the 65th largest bank in Nigeria seemed like career suicide. In 2016, the Banker Database ranked Access Bank in the top 1,000 banks in the world.
Today, Access Bank is one of the largest Banks in Africa, a feat which is attributable to his ingenuity and expertise.
Everything Herbert had done up until that moment had prepared him uniquely for success. His professionalism, work ethic and brilliance had been evident long before the Access Bank deal. He practiced and practiced, did his due diligence and, when the moment arrived to venture out, he was ready.
TODAY, Access Bank PLC, is a leading full service commercial bank operating through a network of more than 600 branches and service outlets, spanning three continents, 12 countries and 29 million customers. The Bank employs 28,000 thousand people in its operations in Nigeria, Sub Saharan Africa and the United Kingdom, with representative offices in China, Lebanon, India and the UAE.
Listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange since 1998, Access Bank is a diversified financial institution which combines a strong retail customer franchise and digital platform with deep corporate banking expertise and proven risk management and capital management capabilities. The Bank serves its various markets through five business segments: Personal, Business, Commercial, Corporate & Investment Banking and Operations and IT. The Bank has over 800,000 shareholders, including several Nigerian and International Institutional Investors, and has enjoyed what is arguably Africa's most successful banking growth trajectory in the last 17 years. Following its merger with Diamond Bank in March 2019, Access Bank became one
of Africa’s largest retail banks.
As part of its continued growth strategy, Access Bank is focused on mainstreaming sustainable business practices into its operations. The Bank strives to deliver sustainable economic growth that is profitable, environmentally responsible and socially relevant, helping customers to access more and achieve their dreams.
A family focused man, Herbert is married to Chizoba Wigwe (nee Nwuba). Herbert and his lovely wife, whom he met when she moved back to Nigeria have since lived together happily. Her genuine smile and intelligence have remained some of the nourishing tonics for the marriage.
The couple married 5 months after meeting, their union is blessed with four children: Chizi, Tochi, Hannah, and David. Herbert is a devoted father and considers his family, “His greatest treasure.”
Despite his busy schedule, Herbert follows his children’s daily school progress and affairs religiously, regardless of his location. Herbert credits his ability to seamlessly balance the busy world of Banking and family life, to his wife, Chizoba.
ACCESS BANK’S BLOG: https://www.accessbankplc.com/pages/Media/access-blog/Herbert-Wigwe.aspx