Top Banks in Nigeria

Overview of Nigeria's leading financial institutions

Overview of Banks in Nigeria

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) serves as the country’s central monetary authority. Established under a 1958 Act of Parliament, the Nigerian central bank commenced operations in 1959. CBN oversees the operations of financial institutions and banks in Nigeria, helping ensure high banking standards and financial stability in the industry, as well as promoting an efficient payment system.


Banks in Nigeria


Moody’s Investors Service maintains a stable outlook for banks in Nigeria. Local banks are expected to see a moderation in their foreign currency liquidity risks, due to the government’s more liberal foreign exchange policy and increasing oil prices. However, loan quality risks and bank earnings pressure are expected to continue, according to the rating agency.

For anyone considering a banking career in Nigeria, this list of top banks in Nigeria is a helpful guide on where to start. To learn more, see our list of financial institutions.


The top banks in Nigeria are:


Zenith Bank

Incorporated in 1990, Zenith Bank offers retail and SME banking, private banking, corporate and investment banking, foreign exchange, treasury, trade services, and other financial services. In 2004, it became a public limited liability company and subsequently listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

The bank currently serves more than 1.6 million customers and employs about 7,000 staff. It operates through a network of over 500 branches, as well as subsidiaries and representative offices in Ghana, Gambia, South Africa, Sierra Leone, the United Kingdom, China, and UAE (Dubai).

Revenue:  NGN 673.64 billion (2017)

Net income: NGN 157.14 billion (2017)

Total assets: NGN 4.83 trillion (2017)


Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank)

Founded in 1990, Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) started its banking operations in 1991. GTBank offers a full range of financial services, including retail, corporate, investment banking, online/internet banking, and asset management. In 2007, it held its IPO on the London Stock Exchange, becoming the first African bank to list on the LSE.

Headquartered in Lagos, GTBank employs 6,459 individuals and serves over eight million customers. It operates a network of 220 domestic branches, 1,165 ATMs, and 44 e-branches, as well as several branches in other African countries and in the UK.

Revenue: NGN 349.176 billion (2018)

Net income: NGN 186.31 billion (2018)

Total assets: NGN 3.43 trillion (2018)


First Bank of Nigeria

Headquartered in Lagos, First Bank of Nigeria operates through four major Strategic Business Units (SBUs): Retail Banking, Commercial Banking, Corporate Banking, and Public Sector Banking. Established in 1894, FirstBank became a public company in 1970 and joined the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 1971.

The bank oversees subsidiaries in West African countries and the UK, as well as representative offices in Abu Dhabi, Beijing, and Johannesburg. It employs more than 7,000 staff and oversees a network of around 760 branches and over 2,600 ATMs.

Revenue: NGN 469.59 billion (2017)

Net income: NGN 40.01 billion (2017)

Total assets: NGN 5.24 trillion (2017)


Ecobank Nigeria

Founded in 1986, Ecobank Nigeria is a subsidiary of the pan-African banking group, Ecobank Transnational Inc. The universal bank offers retail, corporate, wholesale and transaction banking services, as well as capital markets and investment banking services. It operates through three major units: Retail Banking, Wholesale Banking, and Treasury and Financial Institutions. Ecobank currently oversees more than 600 branches across Nigeria.

Revenue: NGN 506.17 billion (2017)

Net income (loss): (NGN 52.6 billion) (2017)

Total assets: NGN 6.26 trillion (2017)


Access Bank

The Central Bank of Nigeria granted Access Bank a commercial banking license in 1988. In 1989, it became a privately owned commercial bank. The bank operates through four major segments: Personal Banking, Business Banking, Commercial Banking, and Corporate and Investment Banking.

Access Bank currently employs 2,965 individuals and operates 317 branches in Nigeria, as well as two branches in the UK and a representative office in the Republic of China, UAE, India (Mumbai), and Lebanon (Beirut).

Revenue: NGN 381.32 billion (2016)

Net income: NGN 71.4 billion (2016)

Total assets: NGN 3.48 trillion (2016)


United Bank for Africa

Founded in 1949 as the British and French Bank Limited (BFB), United Bank for Africa is one of the oldest banks in Nigeria. In 1970, it held an IPO, becoming the first Nigerian bank to list its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The company caters to retail, commercial, and corporate customers, providing a wide range of financial products and services.

United Bank employs about 12,500 staff and serves more than 14 million customers around the world. It operates a network of over 1,000 branches and touch points, 13,500 POS terminals, and 1,740 ATMs in Africa.

Revenue: NGN 222.78 billion (2017)

Net income: NGN 42.34 billion (2017)

Total assets: NGN 3.69 trillion (2017)


Diamond Bank

Diamond Bank started its operations as a private limited liability company in 1991. A decade later, in 2001, the bank received its universal banking license. It offers banking and other financial services to individual and corporate customers, including loans and advances, money market, and corporate finance activities.

The company employs about 4,400 staff and manages over 270 branches and 1,059 ATMs across Nigeria.

Revenue: NGN 203.35 billion (2017)

Net income: NGN 869.44 million (2017)

Total assets: NGN 1.70 trillion (2017)


Union Bank of Nigeria

Founded in 1917 as Colonial Bank, Union Bank of Nigeria offers retail and commercial services to individuals, SMEs, and major corporations. It adopted its current name after it became a wholly-owned Nigerian entity, as well as to comply with the Companies and Allied Matters Act of 1990.

The bank currently employs more than 2,700 individuals and serves 4.3 million customers through a network of 300 sales and service centers, over 950 ATMs, and 7,000 active POS terminals.

Revenue: NGN 157.57 billion (2017)

Net income: NGN 13.18 billion (2017)

Total assets: NGN 1.33 trillion (2017)


Fidelity Bank

Incorporated in 1987, Fidelity Bank started its banking operations in 1988 as a merchant bank. It became a commercial bank in 1999 and obtained its universal banking license two years later. The bank offers a wide range of financial products and services to individual and corporate customers, with a strategic focus on retail and electronic banking, SMEs, and niche corporate banking. It currently oversees 240 business offices, 774 ATMs, and 4,046 POS terminals.

Revenue: NGN 152 billion (2016)

Net income: NGN 9.73 billion (2016)

Total assets: NGN 1.3 trillion (2016)


Careers in investment banking

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Additional resources

This has been a guide to the top banks in Nigeria. For anyone looking for a career in banking, this list is a great place to start your networking. Please also see these additional resources:

  • Top banks in South Africa
  • Top 100 investment banks
  • Investment banking interview questions
  • Walk me through a DCF
  • Financial modeling guide

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