Standard Chartered has announced plans to expand further its presence in Nigeria . The bank has three branches and will double this number over the next 18 months. It is also considering other opportunities for branch and non-branch expansion on an organic basis.

Standard Chartered Bank re-entered the Nigerian market in September 1999. It has branches in Lagos , Abuja and Port Harcourt , with plans to open two more in Ikeja and Apapa this year, and another in Lagos in 2004.

Standard Chartered’s chief executive officer for Africa, Peter Sullivan, says that in Nigeria, the bank aims to be seen as the leader in customer service and business transparency. “Our mission is to be recognised as the bank of choice for our chosen target market and to offer the highest quality products and services in an environment of integrity and professionalism,” he says. He adds that he believes Nigeria has the capacity to become a key source of talent for the group. “With one of the largest economies in Africa and, given our knowledge of the country, we see clear opportunities in Nigeria , particularly in consumer banking,” he says.

Standard Chartered sees significant growth opportunities in its target customer base in both in consumer and wholesale banking. Its international product range, high standards of integrity, and ability to combine onshore and offshore services will be key success factors, it claims.

According to the bank’s chief economist for Africa , Razia Khan, Nigeria is one of the key countries in Africa ‘s future economic development. It has a population of 125mn people and is the second largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria is characterised by large pockets of wealth. The strong demand for sophisticated onshore and offshore banking services makes Standard Chartered Bank an ideal fit for the market given its ability to combine local presence with a global product offering and network capability. The development of fixed income and syndications offerings and an improved cash management capability will further establish Standard Chartered as the wholesale bank of choice in Nigeria .

Standard Chartered’s performance since 1999 has exceeded initial expectations. “Our plans for growth in Nigeria clearly demonstrate our confidence in the strength and quality of our business there,” says Sullivan. He concludes, “We look forward to continued success in Nigeria and the rest of Africa . Nigeria will once again become a very important part of our African franchise “.