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First Bank of Nigeria Plc: Nigeria's biggest and most profitable bank

Updated on July 27, 2011

Background and History

First bank of Nigeria plc as the name implies is the first indigenous bank in Nigeria. Established in 1894, the bank is easily Nigeria’s largest bank with over 600 branches and 15,000 employees. A member of the FBN group, it is the largest bank in Nigeria in almost all respects (staff strength, customer base, deposits, gross earnings, profit after tax, dividend payout, growth rate etc).

Despite having lost over a $100 million in a failed share acquisition scheme it entered in the early 2000’s with a major investor in the NITEL privatization deal (something which could easily have led to the collapse of many banks), the bank still waxed strong and remains the only company listed on the Nigerian stock exchange that either pays bonus shares or high dividend or both every year to its share holders since being listed on the Nigeria stock exchange. While other banks struggled to meet up the CBN 2005 deadline for raising bank’s capital base to N25 billion, first bank had already met and surpassed that mark even before the CBN’s announcement.

Customer base

A choice bank with practically all classes of the Nigerian Economy, the bank has customers from the low income group including pensioners, artisans, petty traders, students, housewives, farmers and junior civil servants. It is also the preferred bank among the elite of Nigeria’s society especially with business moguls who are into trading of commodities.


For the half year ended June 2010, the bank made a whopping N35.7 billion naira profit before tax against N31.3 billion recorded the previous year. A feat like this is hard to come by among Nigerian banks how much more companies listed on the stock Exchange. It achieved this feat with total earnings of N139.7 billion over the given period. The bank’s strategy was to grow and diversify its income streams and so far it has been doing a marvelous job at that. Operating income

Corporate Strategy

All this is testament to the fact that the bank’s corporate transformation is achieving the desired results despite the harsh economic environment and the challenges that hit the Nigerian banking industry in 2008 nearly leading to its collapse.

With a total Assets base of N2.9 Trillion (in June 2011) representing a 20% growth over the previous year’s and deposits of N1.4 trillion, first bank is the largest bank in Nigeria and one of the top 5 banks in Africa in terms of Assets. The bank has many subsidiaries and with some of the best brains in the industry.

Products and services

Indeed among all Nigerian banks, first bank Nigeria plc is remains truly the first. The choice bank among all strata of the Nigerian society, no wonder it never seems short of customers, Nigerians know best. That is why they patronize her various products and services such as Internet Banking, Bills Payment, retail banking, foreign currency banking among other services too numerous to mention.


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