An “Almost” Complete List of Banks in Nigeria

There has been a quest to get a lager portion of the world’s population banked; am not sure exactly who initiated that quest. But asides from enlisting among the banked population, a number of reasons could be responsible for one to take interest in banks, from trying to access, loans, to foreign exchange, investment in securities, and even for a job. And so it is important that you know what banks there are in Nigeria, and possibly which ones are on “top”.


Let us talk about the first things first—the Central Bank of Nigeria, or CBN for short. It’s the central regulatory authority in Nigeria that oversees formulation of financial policies and that banks maintain certain standards. Asides that it was the CBN that was and has been introducing policies and interventions that has kept the economy stable given the recession that broke out two years ago.


The CBN was established in 1959. And barely two decades ago, the Central Bank was responsible for enforcing some strict requirements on banks that led to merges between banks, and a complete closing-up for others, leaving about 25 banks still standing.


Today, these banks fall in different categories; from the ones with commercial banking licenses just within national boundaries to those whose jurisdiction extend overseas, the regional banks, micro-finance banks, and merchant / investment banks.


In this article, we look at some of the these banks still operating in Nigeria, and a bit of general information you should know about them.


  1. Zenith Bank

This is one of the biggest banks in Nigeria. With more tan 7000 staff serving over 1.6 million customer, Zenith bank performs very well in offering retail and SME banking, investment banking, corporate banking, treasury, private bank, forex, amongst others. The bank was established in 1990, however became a public limited liability company in 2004, and soon after listed on the NSE.

As of 2017, the bank’s total asset was N4.8 trillion and net income of N157.1 billion. The bank’s branches can be found in Sierra Leone, UK, china, UAE, Ghana, South Africa, and Gambia.


  1. Guaranty Trust Bank

You probably know a couple things about GTBank; like that they are leading the journey of internet banking, and that they were the first African bank to list on the London Stock Exchange.


GTBank was established in 1990, and since then has been into a number of services. From retail to corporate, investment banking, asset management, and treasury, GTBank has a strong reputation in the financial sector.


With almost 6,500 staffs working for the bank, its headquarters is in Lagos, and boasts N3.43 trillion in asset owned and N186.3 billion in Net Income for 2018. The bank has over 1,165 ATMs, 8 million customers, 264 branches (domestic and electronic), and has a presence in other countries in Africa and the UK.


  1. First Bank of Nigeria

When you talk commercial banking, retail banking, public sector banking, and corporate banking, you should look in the direction of First Bank. It has over 7000 staff and a headquarter in Lagos and was established in 1894; a little wonder why its called “First Bank”. The 125-year-old bank, however, became public in 1970, and subsequently joined the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 1971.

First bank is a subsidiary of an umbrella body known as FBN Holdings, which also contains FBNQuest Merchant Bank, FBN Insurance, and FBN Trustees. The bank has over 2,600 ATM outlets, and 760 branches distributed from Africa to Abu Dhabi, Beijing, and the UK.


As of 2017, the bank made N40 billion in Net Income with N5.2 trillion in Total Assets.



  1. Ecobank Nigeria

This bank was established in 1986; it’s a subsidiary of the pan-African banking group known as Ecobank Transnational Inc. from retail to corporate banking, and wholesale banking to treasury, this bank is numbered among the biggest in the country.

With more than 600 branches, N6.2 trillion in Total assets, and N52.6 billion in net income, Ecobank is one of the biggest guns.


  1. Access Bank Plc

Since 1988, Access bank has had the license to carry out banking activities, operating four major segments viz; Business banking, Personal banking, Commercial banking, and Corporate/Investment banking.

With almost 3000 employees and over 300 branches and branches spreading from China to the UAE and India, UK, and Lebanon, Access bank had a net income of N71.4 billion and Total asset of N3.48 trillion as at 2016.


Last year, Access bank went into a merger with Diamond bank, leveraging the latter’s strength in retail banking and its powerful institutional and corporate banking to create what would likely be the biggest banking structure in Africa.


  1. Diamond Bank

This bank, which we just talked about, started as a private LLC in 1991, and in 10 years gained license to become a universal banker. With almost 4,500 staff, this bank cove grounds in retail banking, money markets, corporate banking, loans, amongst other things.


Diamond bank has more than 270 branches, in cities and rural communities, and recorded N869.4 million in net income as at 2017. The bank’s total asset is N1.7 trillion.


The bank is now merged with Access bank.


  1. United Bank for Africa

Initially the “British and French Bank Limited (BFB)”, this bank was founded in 1949. So, we can tell that UBA is one of the oldest banks in Nigeria. In 1970, UBA held an IPO that made it the first bank in Nigeria to be listed on the NSE. From retail banking to corporate and commercial banking, UBA offers a whole range of financial services.


The bank has almost 13,000 employees and more than 14 million customers all over the world. With over 1,750 ATMs, 1000 branches, total asset of N3.69 trillion, and a net income of N42.34 billion (as of 2017), this bank is clearly one of the giants of banking in Africa.


  1. Union Bank of Nigeria

It stated out being called “Colonial Bank”, and it was founded in 1917. Union bank offers a range of services from retail banking to commercial banking services and corporate banking. Upon becoming a fully owned Nigerian entity, the bank adopted its current name, and became totally compliant with the Companies Allied matters Act (CAMA) of 1990.


With more than 2,700 individuals and 4.3 million customers, Union bank boasts a total asset of N1.33 trillion and a net income of N13.18 billion as of 2017.


  1. Fidelity Bank

Since 1987 when it was incorporated, Fidelity bank has been a major banking force in Nigeria. It started its merchant banking activities in 1988 and became a commercial bank in 1999; obtaining a universal banking license in 2001. From corporate banking to retail and electronic banking, Fidelity bank has over 240 branches and 774 ATMS.

The bank has its headquarters in Victoria Island, Lagos, and in 2016, it recorded a net income of N9.73 billion with a total asset of N1.3 trillion.


  1. Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc

Founded in 1989, this bank has been a key player in corporate banking, savings, financial advisory, stockbroking, amongst others. The bank is based in South Africa and has presence in about 20 African countries and 13 countries outside of the continent.


The bank has almost 3000 employees and with a net revenue of N152 billion as of 2017 and N1.4 trillion in total assets in the same period, Stanbic IBTC stand as one of the giants in treasury and corporate banking in Nigeria.


Some other banks in Nigeria include:

  • First City Monument Bank
  • Wema Bank
  • CitiBank
  • Jaiz Bank
  • Coronation Merchant bank
  • FSDH Merchant bank
  • Heritage Bank Plc
  • Rand Merchant bank
  • Keystone Bank Plc
  • Polaris bank
  • Unity Bank
  • Providus bank
  • Suntrust Bank of Nigeria Ltd
  • Standard Chartered Bank
  • Enterprise Bank


There you have it, an “almost” complete list of banks in Nigeria. Hope this helps you.


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