DON'T MISS : Talking Africa Podcast – Mozambique's insurgency: After Palma, what comes next?

Did Nigeria’s banks resist Covid-19? Access, UBA, GT, First and Zenith under the microscope

In depth
This article is part of the dossier: Banking Africa

By Ruth Olurounbi
Posted on Wednesday, 17 November 2021 10:29

A Zenith Bank logo is seen on a sign on top of the bank in Freetown
A Zenith Bank logo is seen on a sign on top of the bank in Freetown, Sierra Leone August 19, 2017. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Have Nigeria's banks weathered the Covid-19 storm? We look under the hood of five of Nigeria's biggest banks - Access Bank, FIrst Bank, United Bank for Africa, Guarantee Trust Bank and Zenith Bank - to see how the machinery is running, as part of our wider series on Africa's top 200 banks.

Despite a tough 2020 driven by shocks from the global coronavirus pandemic that crippled most economies, the Nigerian Central Bank says it sees a “broad improvement in all banking system parameters, despite the downside risks posed by the pandemic to the smooth running of businesses,” according to Governor Godwin Emefiele, during the September monetary policy committee briefing in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Access Bank

Last year, the difficult macroeconomic environment made the attainment of financial targets very difficult for several banks, including Access Bank, Nigeria’s biggest lender, according to its chairperson, Dr. Ajoritsedere Awosika.

Also in this in Depth:

Top 200 African banks: Shaken by Covid-19, but showing resilience

Pushed off balance, like the rest of the continental economy, by the Covid-19 crisis, Africa’s big banks have nevertheless shown adaptability during this period, and some are already bouncing back.

Standard Bank says South Africa needs a new banking model

Standard Bank plans new partnerships in products and distribution as it seeks to sustain its first-half recovery, head of South Africa Lungisa Fuzile tells The Africa Report.

AZA Finance plans corporate FX, treasury entry into Ethiopia, Egypt

Africa’s largest non-bank foreign exchange firm AZA Finance plans expansion into Ethiopia and Egypt, CEO Elizabeth Rossiello tells The Africa Report.

Will AI risk analysis really expand access to credit in Africa?

By analysing new-age mobile and web data, fintechs are starting to expand credit to individuals and SMEs without financial footprints. But concerns remain about reliability of the metrics used and customer privacy.

Nigeria: MTN and Airtel furious at being locked out of mobile money market

After years of uncertainties, Nigeria's Central Bank finally gave the green light to mobile phone companies to offer mobile money services. However, the licence was issued to only two of the four biggest telecom operators in Nigeria - the domestic players, not the foreign-owned ones. The Africa Report has learnt that MTN and Airtel have been making tremendous efforts to get the regulator on their side, but to no avail. Why is the CBN keeping them out, and what is at stake for the players? What does this say about Nigeria as a destination for Foreign Direct Investment? 

Top 200 African Banks: Optimism over Egypt’s banking sector outlook

Egyptian banks have proven to be robust in the face of the pandemic, owing to government backing in different forms as well as favourable conditions.

Top 200 African Banks: ‘Nigeria is a long-term strategic, important market’, says Ecobank’s Ayeyemi

The CEO of Ecobank Ade Ayeyemi says Nigeria is crucial to the pan-African bank’s fortunes and that the troubles exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis will not hurt its long-term trends.

Top 200 African Banks: Visa VS Mastercard VS UnionPay

China’s UnionPay is giving the US payments giants Visa and Mastercard a run for their money in Africa; fighting back, the two are investing in new financial services, from purchasing fintechs to buying stakes in telecoms firms

Top 200 African Banks: Morocco’s Attijariwafa shows its digital agility

Five years ago, Attijariwafa Bank (AWB), the leading bank in Morocco, set the tone: the group’s ambition was to position itself as ‘the top customer-­centred bank, focused on satisfying the needs of its clients [by] taking advantage of new technologies linked to digitalisation’. With 27 major programmes and 105 projects, its strategic plan ‘Energies 2020’ put the emphasis on digital technologies.

Kenya: Should over-liquid banks return capital to shareholders?

In the middle of the pandemic, Kenyan banks doubled their net earnings year-on-year to KSh50bn ($458m) during the second quarter of 2021. However, upon review, these ‘strong’ earnings were primarily driven by reduction in loan impairment charges, as bad ones were down by half year-on-year during the quarter.