The Top 8 Commercial Banks in Nigeria – Which One is Right for You?;- Business magnate Mike Adenuga has it right: “There are only two types of businesses in Nigeria: those that grow and those that die.”
The banking industry has been going through major challenges in the last few years. The bad news is that the sector is also experiencing a period of rapid consolidation that has dampened competition and pushed up costs. The good news is that there are a number of good banks that have emerged from the wreckage. It’s not enough to just have a bad bank; you have to have a great one too.
Commercial Banks in Nigeria
In an industry that is dominated by a small number of large banks, it’s not easy to stand out. That’s where the list of the top 8 commercial banks in Nigeria comes into play.
Each of these institutions has its own strengths and weaknesses, but as a group, they are among the most advanced and well equipped in the country. After all, who you know in Nigeria may well be who you are in business. And if you’re looking to do business in Nigeria, you’ll need to know someone.
commercial banks in Nigeria come into play.
1. Bajaj Finserv
This private bank is a fully owned subsidiary of the Bajaj Group. It was established in 1992 with the acquisition of Satyam Bank. In its 17 years of operation, the bank has grown from a single branch in Mangalore to a network of over 100 branches and offices in 20 states of India. The group’s present chairperson is Surendra P. Bajaj.
2. Commercial Bank of Nigeria (CBN)
This private bank was established in 1944 as the Union Bank of Nigeria. It was later renamed as the Commercial Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and then again in 1997 as the Commercial Bank of Nigeria (CBN). As of March 2017, the bank had a network of more than 100 offices across 36 states and 7 union territories of India. The bank’s former chairperson was the former Federal Governor, Sir Ali Baba Jirdy.
3. First Direct
Founded in 1856, this is one of the oldest banks in the country. However, it is only now, after a spell of inactivity, that the bank is returning to its roots as a conservative, family-run institution. The bank was known as the First National Bank of Ibadan and was later renamed as the First National Bank of Ibadan (FNBI).
First Direct’s growth story is one of consolidation, transformation and survival. In the 1980s, with the onset of the recession, commercial banks in the U.S. were hit hard. Most of them merged with other banks or shut their doors. In Nigeria, too, a number of banks closed their doors after the Great Recession, leaving the banking sector with only a handful of banks.
After years of consolidation and restructuring, the industry has now seen the birth of a new breed of banks that is providing quality services at affordable costs.
4. Guaranty Trust Bank
Founded in 1869, this is one of the oldest commercial banks in the country. The bank name was changed to Guaranty Trust Bank in 1920, and in 1960 it was renamed as the Guaranty Trust Bank again. It is based in Lagos, and it has a national presence through branches and representative offices throughout the country.
The bank is fully owned by the family foundation of the late Prof. F.A.A. Jirdy, the first governor of the Bank of Nigeria. His son, Prof. F.A. Jirdy II, is the current governor of the bank.
5. Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN)
This is another long-established commercial bank that was originally called the Union Bank of Nigeria. It was later renamed as the Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) and finally as the Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN). The bank is fully owned by the family foundation of the late Prof. F.A.A. Jirdy, the first governor of the Bank of Nigeria.
The bank was acquired by First Union in 2011 and was subsequently renamed as the First Union Bank.
6. Federal Bank
Founded in 1974, this private bank is owned by the family of Prof. F.A.A. Jirdy, the first governor of the Bank of Nigeria. Prof. Jirdy went on to serve as chairman of the bank from 1974 to 1979. Currently, Prof. O.E. Onwueme-Hassan is serving as the bank’s chairperson.
The bank is fully owned by the Hassan family, the third generation of whom currently heads the bank.
7. Completes Bank
This is another one of the oldest banks in the country. It was established in 1869 and is now fully owned by the family of former Prime Minister, Sir Danigore Completes.
The bank is known for its involvement in the oil and gas sector and financial services in general. It also has a presence in education, real estate, food and beverages.
The bank is fully owned by the Completes family, who is yet to relinquish its control.
8. Havells Nigeria
Founded in 1887, this is one of the oldest banks in the country. It is now fully owned by the family of former Prime Minister Danigore Completes.
The bank is known for its involvement in the oil and gas sector and financial services in general. It also has a presence in education, real estate, food and beverages. The bank is fully owned by the Completes family, who is yet to relinquish its control.
The Bottom Line
As the country’s banking sector continues to consolidate, it has created an environment of greater oligopolistic rivalry and less competition in the market segments of private banking and financial services. These trends are likely to continue for some time. As a result, it’s important for investors to understand the best banks in the country and how they stack up against one another.