First Bank of Nigeria

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First Bank of Nigeria
Industry Finance
Founded 1894 (as Bank of British West Africa)
1979 (Renamed FirstBank of Nigeria)
Headquarters Lagos, Lagos State, Nigeria
Key people
Prince Ajibola Afonja
Stephen Olabisi Onasanya
Group Managing Director[1]
Gbenga Francis Shobo, ACA

Executive Director (Lagos & West Region)[2]
Urum Kalu (UK) Eke, MFR

Executive Director , South[3]
Dr. Adesola Kazeem Adeduntan

Executive Director/Chief Financial Officer[4]
Dauda Lawal

Executive Director, Public Sector North[5]
Adetokunbo Abiru

Executive Director, Corporate Banking[6]
Products Financial Services
Revenue IncreasePretax:542.5 million (NGN:86.2 billion) (2012)
Total assets US$20.052 billion (NGN:3.186 trillion) (2012)
Website Homepage

First Bank of Nigeria, sometimes referred to as FirstBank, is a Nigerian multinational bank and financial services company. It is the country's largest bank by assets.[7]


As of December 2014, the Bank had assets totaling approximately US$23.4 billion (NGN:4.336 trillion).[8] The Bank's profit before tax, for the twelve months ending 31 December 2014 was approximately US$486.5 million (NGN:90.1 billion). At that time, the bank maintained a customer base in excess of 10 million individuals and businesses.[9] First Bank of Nigeria has solid short and long term ratings from Fitch, the Global Credit Rating Company, partly due to its low exposure to non-performing loans. The Bank has strong compliance with financial laws and maintains a strong rating from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of Nigeria.


The subsidiaries of First Bank of Nigeria include the following:[10]

FBN Holdings[edit]

Due to changes in Nigerian banking laws, following the Great Recession of 2007-2009, FBN re-organized itself into four business groups under a holding company called FBN Holdings. Bello Maccido, who was executive director (retail, north), was nominated to be the CEO of the new parent company. The shares of the holding company are listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. FBN Holdings is the parent company of all companies in the FirstBank Group. The four business groups of FBN Holdings are:[13]

  1. Commercial Banking – includes First Bank of Nigeria and all its commercial banking subsidiaries listed in the previous section.
  2. Investment Banking and Asset Management – includes FBN Capital Limited, FBN Securities Limited, First Funds Limited and First Trustees Nigeria Limited.
  3. Insurance – includes FBNInsurance Limited, FBN General Insurance Limited and FBN Insurance Brokers Limited.
  4. Other Financial Services – consists of FBN Microfinance Bank Limited.



The Bank traces its history back to 1894 and the Bank of British West Africa.[14] The bank originally served the British shipping and trading agencies in Nigeria. The founder, Alfred Lewis Jones, was a shipping magnate who originally had a monopoly on importing silver currency into west Africa through his Elder Dempster shipping company. According to its founder, without a bank, economies were reduced to using barter and a wide variety of mediums of exchange, leading to unsound practices.[15] A bank could provide a secure home for deposits and also a uniform medium of exchange. The bank primarily financed foreign trade, but did little lending to indigenous Nigerians, who had little to offer as collateral for loans.


In 1957, Bank of British West Africa changed its name to Bank of West Africa (BWA). After Nigeria's independence in 1960, the Bank began to extend more credit to indigenous Nigerians. At the same time, citizens began to trust British banks since there was an 'independent' financial control mechanism and more citizens began to patronise the new Bank of West Africa.

In 1965, Standard Bank acquired Bank of West Africa and changed its acquisition's name to Standard Bank of West Africa. In 1969, Standard Bank of West Africa incorporated its Nigerian operations under the name Standard Bank of Nigeria. In 1971, Standard Bank of Nigeria listed its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and placed 13% of its share capital with Nigerian investors. After the end of the Nigerian civil war, Nigeria's military government sought to increase local control of the retail-banking sector. In response, now Standard Chartered Bank reduced its stake in Standard Bank Nigeria to 38%. Once it had lost majority control, Standard Chartered wished to signal that it was no longer responsible for the bank and the bank changed its name to First Bank of Nigeria in 1979. By then, the bank had re-organized and had more Nigerian directors than ever.

In 1982 First Bank opened a branch in London, which it converted into a subsidiary, FBN Bank (UK), in 2002. Its most recent international expansion was the opening in 2004 of a representative office in Johannesburg, South Africa. In 2005 it acquired FBN (Merchant Bankers) Ltd. Paribas and MBC International Bank Ltd.; a group of Nigerian investors had founded MBC in 1982 as a merchant bank, and it became a commercial bank in 2002.

In June 2009, Stephen Olabisi Onasanya was appointed Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, replacing Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who had been appointed Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. Onasanya was formerly Executive Director of Banking Operations & Services.[16]

Corporate Identity Refresh[edit]

2014 saw FirstBank mark 120 years from when it was founded, as the Bank for British West Africa. 2014 also saw the Bank refresh its corporate identity, 10 years after the previous refresh. The brand, synonymous with the colour blue and iconic elephant, kept the elephant, but with a few noticeable changes.

The elephant's head has been lifted, the tusk is larger, the forehead wider, the ears less pointy, the trunk longer and the eyes are now looking upwards.

More noticeable is the absence of the hind legs of the elephant which has instead been replaced by the company name.

According to the Bank, the raised head of the elephant in the refreshed identity is a promise to all customers that, with the bank in their corner, they can face challenges with their head held high. The new deep blue colour, on the other hand, represents momentum, innovation and evolution.

The raised foot of the elephant is a promise to always put their best foot forward for their customers, and the adoption of the complementary colours platinum and gold, precious metals identified with value, serves as a reminder of the inherent value and durability of the 120-year-old brand.

The Bank revealed the rationale for the refresh as part of a wider strategic plan to ensure that, as a group, FBN Holdings was delivering more efficient services that were closer in line with the needs of their customers.

The refreshed identity was revealed on 27 January 2014 in Lagos at two separate events for staff, partners, suppliers and friends.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]