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Digital Banking

Nigeria’s Top 10 Banks Ranked by Branch Count

First Bank of Nigeria

Nigeria has a lot of commercial bank branches— over 4,437 in total—spread across 33 banks. These banks have different licenses, like international, national, or regional, which affect where they can operate in Nigeria and abroad.

At the top of this landscape full of branches are the top 10 banks. They stand out because they have a lot of branches all over Nigeria. Let’s take a closer look at them.

1. Unity Bank: 210 Branches

Established in 2006, Unity Bank wields a national-level license, permitting operations across all Nigerian states. Despite its modest branch count, its presence resonates across the nation’s banking scene, recording a notable profit before tax of ₦1.1 billion in 2022.

2. Guaranty Trust Bank: 235 Branches

Since its licensing in 1990, Guaranty Trust Bank has solidified its position with 235 branches and an international-level license, enabling offshore banking endeavors. While its profit margin experienced a slight dip in 2022, a promising trajectory unfolds with a 36.5% surge in Q1 2023 earnings.

3. Union Bank: 240 Branches

An enduring figure in Nigeria’s banking history, Union Bank, licensed since 1969, boasts 240 branches nationwide, tracing its roots back to 1917. Despite its longstanding presence, its profitability trails behind newer counterparts.

4. Fidelity Bank: 244 Branches

With just four branches more than Union Bank, Fidelity Bank commands the seventh spot, empowered by an international authorization and a staggering 112.9% annual profit growth in 2022.

5. Polaris Bank: 252 Branches

Polaris Bank emerges from the ashes of Skye Bank with 252 branches under its belt, navigating Nigeria’s financial landscape since 2018. Despite a profit decline, its presence remains palpable on the banking frontier.

6. Ecobank: 273 Branches

Licensed in 1988, Ecobank spans its operational network across Nigeria with 273 branches, epitomizing its commitment to national financial accessibility.

7. Zenith Bank: 393 Branches

Zenith Bank, licensed in June 1990, boasts 393 branches and transcends borders akin to Guaranty Trust Bank. Its robust financial performance underscores its stature as a banking powerhouse.

8. United Bank for Africa (UBA): 460 Branches

With roots dating back to 1961, UBA stands tall with 460 branches, leveraging its authority to operate beyond Nigeria’s borders, marking a substantial profit uptick in 2022.

9. Access Bank: 583 Branches

Access Bank, a titan since 1988, orchestrates a formidable presence with 583 branches, extending its influence beyond Nigeria. Its commendable financial performance further solidifies its prominence.

10. First Bank of Nigeria: 591 Branches

Nigeria’s banking pioneer, First Bank of Nigeria, founded in 1894, leads the pack with over 591 branches, epitomizing longevity and resilience. Amidst a competitive landscape, it continues to thrive, registering notable profits.

The Need for More Banking Outposts

Although there are many bank branches, Nigeria still needs more banks to ensure that everyone has access to financial services. However, setting up new branches is challenging for most banks because it requires a lot of money. Also, many banks prefer to invest in big cities like Lagos, where they can make more profit, even though there are already many banks there.

Simply put, Nigeria’s banking sector is a dynamic story where different institutions compete for importance in a changing financial world, driven by the need to promote fairness and access for all.

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