Business & Finance

Best bank in Nigeria judging by the numbers

The Nigerian Banking sector is one of the most competitive sectors in the Nigerian economy and perhaps the most profitable

Best bank in Nigeria judging by the numbers

The Nigerian Banking sector is one of the most competitive sectors in the Nigerian economy and perhaps the most profitable. Despite having about 23 deposit money banks in the country, only a dozen are listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

At fabpulse, we track Banking sector performance regularly, using several well-known metrics. Most of the data can be found in the financial statements of the banks within our repository of reports. While we track all banks, the following banks are included in our universe of measuring financial performance. They are Access Bank, GT Bank, Fidelity Bank, FCMB, Sterling Bank, FBNH, Union Bank, Zenith Bank, UBA, Stanbic IBTC and Wema Bank.

In this report, we take a cursory look at the performance of listed banks in Nigeria based on six (6) metrics, these include Total Assets, Net Assets, Total Deposits, Profit After Tax, Return on Equity and Return on Total Assets.

Best Banks by Total Assets

In this case, banking assets include equity plus bank deposits. According to the data, 11 of the listed banks reported a combined total asset of N45.4 trillion as at the second quarter of 2020.

This represents a 7.1% rise from total assets of N42.4 trillion as at June 2019. Growth in Total Assets is indicative of how strong our financial institutions are, particularly banks.

So, who are the leaders?

First Position – Access Bank N7.76 trillion

Second Position– Zenith Bank – N7.58 trillion

Third Position – FBNH N7.13 trillion

Fourth Position – UBA N6.78 trillion

Upshots – Access Bank has maintained the number one position since 2019 after overtaking Zenith Bank following its merger with Diamond bank. Compared with the previous corresponding year, the assets of these banks dipped; with Zenith recording the highest growth representing 28.50 % from N5.89 trillion to N7.58 trillion, and FBHN also grew its assets by 28%. It is also important to note that the assets of these four banks make up more than half the entire total assets in the Banking sector. Suffice to say these are indeed big banks.

Net Assets

Banks’ net assets represent the total equity or shareholders’ funds of all the banks on our list. It includes the bank’s share capital, reserves, and its retained earnings in a period. The net asset is a very strong metric for measuring how strong banks are and it is also used by the CBN in assessing the Banking sector’s ability to withstand credit losses.

We observed that at the end of Q2 2020, bank net assets rose from N4.1 trillion at the end of June 2019 to N4.9 trillion in June 2020. This presents an 18.7% rise.

The top 4 by Net Assets

First Position – Zenith Bank, N998.9 billion

Second Position – GT Bank, N720.9 billion

Third Position – FBNH, N704.0 billion

Fourth Position – Access Bank, N670.3 billion

Upshots: We noticed a sharp rise in in the Net Assets of both FBNH (26%) and Zenith (20.7%). Year on Year, GT Bank also grew its net assets by 19.6%.

Customer Deposits

Customer deposits are perhaps one of the most competitive banks’ performance metrics to track. The more deposits a bank has the more money it can make. In a country where a lot of cash remains outside the banking system, how well a bank can mobilize deposits from its customers shows how well it can compete in a very aggressive market.


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Analysis of the data collected showed that total banks’ deposits increased from N22.2 trillion in the corresponding quarter of 2019 to N27.6 trillion in the second quarter of 2020. This implies a 9.4% increase.

Top banks based on customer deposits

First Position – Zenith Bank, N4.9 trillion

Second Position – UBA, N4.8 trillion

Third Position – Access Bank, N4.6 trillion

Fourth Position – FBNH. N4.3 trillion

Upshots: Compared with the corresponding previous quarter, UBA’s total deposits rose sharply by 36.75% to N4.8 trillion in the second quarter of 2020. Zenith also increased by 29% and FBNH by 22% in the same period.

Profits After Tax

Corporate Profits are often viewed positively or negatively depending on how you view the impact of capitalism. For banks, it can attract scrutiny if it comes at the expense of small businesses or the wider economy. The banks considered reported a total profit after tax of N436.9 billion at the end of June 2019. This compared to N415.5 billion recorded in June 2020 indicates a 5% decline.

Though banks have often been criticized for reporting fat profits at the expense of the wider economy, it is better off having profitable banks than unprofitable ones. The more profitable banks are (consistently) over time, the more robust they are to support economic growth.

Banks that declared the most profits.

First Position – Zenith Bank, N103.8 billion.

Second Position – GT Bank, N94.2 billion

Third Position – Access Bank, N61 billion.

Fourth Position – FBNH – N49.4 billion

Upshots – Zenith Bank and GT Bank appear to be in a world of their own as their reported profits are significantly higher than their closest rival. In the second quarter of 2020, the gap between the profits of both were close; with N103.8 billion in profits for Zenith Bank and N94.2 billion for Zenith Bank.

In terms of the most improved bank based on profitability growth year on year, the winner goes to FBNH Bank with a 55.95% rise in profits to N49.4 billion from N31. billion. In a period where the profits of a majority of the banks considered dipped, Stanbic IBTC managed to grow its profit 24.7%.

Return on Equity

This is another important metric used in assessing how well a bank has performed in terms of returns to shareholders. We consider this the most important in terms of performance and efficiency. You can post the largest profits but just like any regular investment you want to know what that translates to in terms of return on equity capital.

How have they performed?

First Position – Stanbic IBTC, 13.4%

Second Position – GT Bank, 13%

Third Position – Zenith Bank, 10.5%

Fourth Position – Access Bank, 9.1%.

Upshots – Compared to the corresponding period in the previous year, Stanbic IBTC (13.7) replaced GTB (16.4) at the top spot. However, Zenith Bank (10.8%) and Access Bank maintained their position, compared to the previous period.

Return on Assets

This measures how well a bank is sweating its assets to generate profits. It is one thing for a bank to have all the assets in its balance sheet but is it providing returns to all providers of capital? We like this metric at fabpulse because it tells us how well a bank is able to run efficiently using all the resources at its disposal to generate profits for its shareholders.

Best Banks based on ROA

First Position – GT Bank, 2.1%

Second Position – Stanbic IBTC 1.4%

Third Position – Zenith bank, 1.3%

Fourth Position – Access, 0.7%

Upshots – Just like they impressed with ROE, and only second to Stanbic IBTC, GT Bank is the best bank based in terms of Return on Assets, with 2.1% and Stanbic IBTC, with 1.4%. These ratios show that these banks are well-run. However, compared with the previous corresponding period, the ratios indicated that the ROA of these banks declined.  

Although these computations mirror the performance of the banks, the question regarding the overall best bank for the second quarter of 2020 may be judged by readers in line with the information provided in this report.

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