Nigeria, home to many old banks
Nigeria’s economy is Africa’s largest and this position could not have been possible without a strong banking sector.
Despite the fact that Nigeria is a moderately youthful country—the year 2021 marks 61 years of independent existence—it is home to banks established during the colonial era.
These banks have withstood the test of times and in Nigeria and continued with operations all through civil wars, military coups and economic depressions without closing down.
The following are the first set of banks in Nigeria:
1. First Bank Nigeria Plc
First Bank Nigeria Plc is the oldest bank in Nigeria.
As its name implies, First Bank of Nigeria Limited (“First Bank”), built up in 1894, is the first bank in Nigeria and the premier Bank in West Africa.
As the worldwide operating environment advances, First Bank has kept pace, reacting to the dynamic needs of its customers, investors, regulators, have networks, workers and different stakeholders.
2. Union Bank Nigeria Plc
Union bank’s history can be followed to 1836 when London bankers and British merchants acquired a royal charter from William IV to lead banking business in the Caribbean.
These gathering of investors at that point formed Colonial Bank.
Following an act of parliament enabling the bank to open more branches past the Caribbean, Colonial bank started operations in Nigeria in 1917.
In 1925, Barclays Bank obtained Colonial Bank, changing the bank’s name to Barclays Bank (Dominion, Colonial and Overseas) and later Barclays Bank (DCO).
As one of the oldest bank in Nigeria, the bank opted to change its name to Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, to mirror its new ownership structure.
3. Wema Bank Plc
The third bank on our list of oldest banks in Nigeria is Wema Bank. The bank was established on May 2, 1945, as a private limited liability company (under the old name of Agbonmagbe Bank Limited).
Wema Bank is Nigeria’s longest surviving indigenous bank and perhaps the oldest bank in Nigeria. It was allowed a commercial banking license and initiated banking activities during that year.
In December 2011, Wema Bank turned into the first Sub-Saharan African financial organization to completely send the Finacle 10.2 Core Banking Application.
4. United Bank For Africa (UBA)
One of the banks famously referred to among Nigerians as perhaps the oldest bank in Nigeria is UBA. It has been operating in Africa since 1949, alluded to then as the British and French Bank Limited (BFB).
It assumed control over the assets and liabilities of BFB and was incorporated as a limited liability company on 23 February 1961 under the Compliance Ordinance (Cap 37) 1922.
Pursued by its pioneer Initial Public Offer in the Nigerian banking industry in 1970, UBA got listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
5. Sterling Bank
Sterling Bank Plc as one of the oldest bank in Nigeria was initially incorporated in 1960 as Nigeria Acceptances Limited (NAL). The bank was licensed as Nigeria’s first merchant bank in 1969.
Subsequent to the indigenization decree of 1972, the Bank turned out to be completely government owned and was managed in partnership with Grindlays Bank Limited, Continental International Finance Company Illinois and American Express Bank Limited between 1974 and 1992.
After eight years, in 2000, the Federal Government sold its remaining interest in the bank, viably making it a completely privatized organization.
6. Heritage Bank
The bank traces its roots to the late 1970s as perhaps one of the first set of banks in Nigeria, when it was established as Societe Generale Bank (Nigeria) (SGBN), by the late Dr. Olusola Saraki.
In January 2006, the Central Bank shut down SGBN by virtue of failure to meet new minimum capital requirements of US$155 million (NGN:25 billion) for a National Bank.
SGBN effectively challenged the closure in court. In December 2012, CBN re-issued SGBN’s banking license, but as a regional bank.
Having acquired the banking license, the new ownership re-branded the bank as Heritage Banking Company Limited and opened for business on 4 March 2013.
7. First City Monument Bank (FCMB)
The entity from which the bank was established – City Securities Limited, was set up in 1977 by Oloye Subomi Balogun, the Otunba Tunwashe of Ijebu, a Yoruba tribal aristocrat.
First City Monument Bank Ltd., one of the oldest banks in Nigeria was incorporated as a private limited liability company on 20 April 1982.
On 15 July 2004, FCMB changed its status from a private limited obligation company to a public limited risk company and was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) by presentation on 21 December 2004.
Ecobank Nigeria Limited, regularly referred to as Ecobank Nigeria, is a commercial bank in Nigeria.
It is one of the oldest commercial banks licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, the national banking regulator.
Ecobank Nigeria is a member of Ecobank, the major independent Pan African bank, headquartered in Lomé, Togo.
The bank started operations in 1989. It operates as a universal bank, giving wholesale, retail, corporate, investment and transaction banking services to its customers in the Nigerian market.
9. Fidelity Bank
Fidelity Bank of Nigeria was incorporated in the year 1987 and started its operations in 1988. It initially began with a Merchant Banking license.
It turned into a Public Limited Company likewise in the year 1999, in the long stretch of August. It re-branded to Fidelity Bank Plc that year.
It secured its Universal Banking License in February 2001 and furthermore got its International Banking License in the year 2011.
Fidelity Bank of Nigeria has developed to a steady banking establishment, during the 2005 Nigeria Banking solidification, Fidelity Bank acquired FSB International Bank Plc (“FSB”) and Manny Bank Plc to get one of the top financially stabled banks in Nigeria.
10. Access Bank
Access Bank plc, usually known as Access Bank, is a Nigerian multinational commercial bank, owned by Access Bank Group.
It is the last bank on our list of oldest banks in Nigeria. It is licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, the national banking regulator.
Initially a corporate bank, the association acquired personal and business banking platforms from Nigeria’s International Commercial bank in 2012.
The merger of Access Bank and Diamond Bank on 1 April 2019 has made Access Bank the biggest bank in Africa.
Banks play a critical role in keeping economies vibrant and societies stable and for Nigeria a strong banking sector is critical for this country in maintaining its status as the largest economy in Africa.
According to the latest news from Nigeria, this West African state is also set to launch its eNaira digital currency, and banks in the country are already integrating the eNaira feature as the country looks to lead Africa into the future of digital currency.