Banks play a significant role in the epicentre of Nigeria’s largest economy. Since the 18th century, when the first modern bank in Nigeria, First Bank Nig Plc, was established, banks have sprouted up all over the country.
The competition is getting tougher, thanks to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s stringent policies. These policies are intended to keep banks from going bankrupt and to help them thrive. Banks that do not meet the CBN’s standards are merging with other banks. This is to save their existence while also strengthening their parent banks.
The companies on the following list are ranked according to their total asset base. The top ten banks in Nigeria are listed below.
1. Zenith Bank
Zenith Bank, founded in 1990 by Jim Ovia, rose on the back of information technology, among other things, to become Nigeria’s largest bank by 2020. To accomplish this feat, the bank outperformed her peers and other financial industry veterans.
The bank is headquartered in Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria, and has operations in Ghana, Sierra Leone, the United Kingdom, and South Africa. Its subsidiaries include Zenith Insurance, Zenith Pension Custodian, Zenith Securities, Zenith Trust Company, and CyberSpace Network. The bank has a large network of branches in Nigeria, and the number is growing. Zenith is the most valuable bank in Nigeria, with a total asset base of 5.955 trillion.
Ecobank, which was founded in 1985 and is officially known as Ecobank Transnational Inc., is Africa’s leading bank in terms of branch network. It’s no surprise that it bills itself as a Pan-African banking conglomerate. It has banking operations in 36 Sub-Saharan African countries, the most of any Nigerian bank. It also has operations in Angola, Ethiopia, South Africa, South Sudan, China, Dubai, the United Kingdom, France, and South Africa.
Ecobank, unlike other banks with a penchant for Victoria Island in Lagos, Nigeria, is headquartered in Lome, Togo. Ecobank, Africa’s largest bank, employs over 19,500 people to serve its staggering 13.7 million customers. Nigeria accounts for 9.6 million of the total. The chairman of the board is Mr. Emmanuel Ikazoboh. Ecobank’s total assets are valued at $5.83 trillion.
3. Access Bank
Access Bank was founded in 1989 as a subsidiary of the Access Bank Group. It is a multinational commercial bank licensed by Nigeria’s Central Bank. Herbert Wigwe is the CEO of the board, and the bank employs over 9000 people.
In 2019, Access Bank merged with the failing Diamond Bank. The move was made to save Diamond Bank from liquidation. This would bolster Access Bank’s position as a leading financial institution in Nigeria. Access Bank branches can be found all over Nigeria, and the bank also has offices in eight Sub-Saharan African countries. With 4.552 trillion in total assets.
4. United Bank for Africa (UBA)
UBA is the acronym for one of Nigeria’s oldest banks. It was founded in 1949 and has a long list of accomplishments to its name. In fact, UBA is Africa’s most decorated bank, ranking first in many areas of banking. Notably, the bank was the first in Nigeria to install a cash deposit ATM and an Al-Led Virtual Banking Robot.
It is headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, and has subsidiaries in 20 African countries, as well as France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. UBA joined forces with Standard Trust Bank in 2005. In addition, it was the first bank in Nigeria to connect its 428 branch network in Africa in 2006. As a result, it became Africa’s largest online real-time branch network. Tony Elumelu is currently in charge of the bank. And boast a 4.8 trillion-dollar asset base.
5. First Bank
First Bank, founded in 1894 as the Bank of British West Africa and renamed First Bank in 1979, is Nigeria’s very first bank.
For years, it has coveted the title of Nigeria’s largest bank. And it still has a monopoly on a subset of that title, namely the largest bank in terms of deposits, gross earnings, retail client base, and branch network.
It has over 750 business locations across Africa and the United Kingdom, including offices in Abu Dhabi, Beijing, and Johannesburg, and is headquartered in Lagos. Mrs. Ibokun Awosika is the board’s chairman. Over 10 million customers bank with the company. 7,000 employees work there. It has 4.514 trillion in assets.
6. Guaranty Trust Bank
The bank, popularly known as GTBank, was founded in 1988 by 35 young bright minds in their thirties who decided to create a banking brand out of their ingenuity. Tayo Aderinokun and Fola Adeola led the team. So far, the prodigy of these Young Minds has led to numerous achievements for the bank. One of the first was the bank’s listing on the London Stock Exchange and the Deutsche Borse, making it the first in Nigeria to do so.
GTBank has held the number one position as the best bank in Nigeria nine times in the last decade. It was recently named the best bank in Africa at the Euromoney Awards for Excellence in London. It is the leader in e-banking in Nigeria, with 18 e-branches.
The bank employs 10,000 people, making it one of the largest in the country. GTBank operates in Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Ghana, the United Kingdom, Liberia, and the Gambia. Its headquarters are located in Lagos, Nigeria. The total value of assets is $3.51 trillion.
7. Fidelity Bank Plc.
Fidelity Bank Plc, which was founded in 1987, began full-fledged operations in 1988 with a merchant bank license. However, it would later become a commercial bank in 1999. In the same year, it was converted from a private to a public limited company (Plc). Since then, the bank has risen to become one of Nigeria’s top banks, with a number of banking awards to its name.
Fidelity Bank Plc acquired FBS International Bank and Manny Bank Plc in 2005 to become one of Nigeria’s top ten banks. With its headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria, the bank operates an interconnected network of up to 240 branches across all states and major cities in the country. Currently, the bank has 4.2 million customers in Nigeria. Mr Ernest Ebi is the chairman of the board of Fidelity Bank Plc. Its asset base is worth $1.4 trillion.
8. The Sterling Bank
Sterling Bank is one of Nigeria’s oldest and most established financial institutions. Nigeria Acceptances Limited was established in 1960. (NAL). In 1969, it became Nigeria’s first licensed merchant bank.
Following a banking sector decree in 1972, the bank was acquired by the government. The government planned to sell its remaining stake in the bank in 2000, effectively privatizing it. The name “Sterling Bank” arose as a result of a merger between NAL and three other Nigerian banks. Magnum Trust Bank, Indo-Nigerian Merchant Bank, and Trust Bank of Africa were among them. Sterling Bank acquired Equatorial Trust Bank in a franchise transaction in 2011, becoming Nigeria’s leading bank.
The bank is headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, and has 179 branches throughout the country. Its total assets are approximately $1.10 trillion, and the chairman of the board is Mr. Asue Ighodalo.
9. Union Bank
Union Bank has been in operation in Nigeria since its inception in 1917. Its origins can be traced back to 1836, when some British bankers were granted a royal charter by King William IV to conduct business in the Caribbean. With the approval of the British bankers, the “Colonial Bank” was established. The bank was also given the authority to expand its operations beyond the Caribbean and into Africa, which resulted in the establishment of the Colonial Bank of Nigeria in 1917. Port Harcourt, Lagos, and Jos became the bank’s pioneering cities.
Individuals purchased 40% of the bank in 1979, stripping it of its government-owned status and renaming it Union Bank of Nigeria. Union Bank operates in all Nigerian states and has only two subsidiaries: UBN Property Company Limited in Nigeria and Union Bank London. The Chairman of the Board is Cyril Akporuere Odu. The total value of assets is $1,381 billion.
10. Polaris Bank Ltd (Formerly Skye Bank)
The name “Polaris” may be novel, but Skye Bank is not. Skye Bank began as Prudent Bank Plc in 1989. Skye Bank was formed in 2006 when Prudent Bank and four other banks merged.
The bank was the first to launch MasterCard Verve, a naira-dominated MasterCard. Skye Bank Limited purchased Mainstreet Bank Limited in 2014. However, Skye Bank suffered a setback in 2018 when the CBN revoked its license and Polaris Bank Limited took over operations.
Polaris Bank has subsidiaries in Angola, Equatorial Guinea, the Republic of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, with its headquarters in Nigeria. It has 260 branches in Nigeria that are interconnected and spread across the country. The bank’s chairman is Muhammad K. Ahmad, and its total assets are $611.5 billion.