Discovering the best banks in Nigeria is no small feat. As a powerhouse in Africa’s economy, Nigeria boasts a robust financial system and a wide array of well-established institutions.
This industry is filled with traditional and innovative players, making finding the optimal banking solution essential for hassle-free transactions and financial growth.
Our team of financial experts has meticulously sifted through crucial data and factors that customers seek when looking for the best bank in Nigeria. We understand that making this decision involves more than just superficial attributes; it’s about finding a financial partner that aligns with your needs and aspirations.
From the financial side, we’ve delved into key performance indicators that matter most to customers. This includes a comprehensive analysis of profitability, which gives insights into how well a bank manages its operations and delivers value to its customers.
We examined profits, considering standout players like Zenith Bank and Guaranty Trust Bank, which registered remarkable earnings of 594 million U.S. dollars and 425 million U.S. dollars, respectively, as of 2021.
But it’s not just about profits. We recognise that customers want to know how solid a bank’s foundation is. Our research has taken us deep into the world of assets, understanding how much financial backing a bank has to support its services. Nigeria’s Access Bank, for instance, showcased assets reaching approximately 28.5 billion U.S. dollars, while Zenith Bank and First Bank of Nigeria were just a little behind, registering assets of 22.2 billion and 20.2 billion U.S. dollars, respectively.
Our dedication to providing a comprehensive guide goes beyond numbers. We’ve also assessed customer satisfaction, an indispensable factor in selecting a bank. We’ve considered customer reviews, feedback, and surveys to gauge how well these banks cater to their client’s needs. This ensures that you’re not only joining a financially stable institution but also one that places your satisfaction at the forefront.
So, when we say we’re presenting you with the cream of the crop, it’s not just a tagline. Our approach has been shaped by what customers seek – a detailed understanding of financial performance, a solid foundation of assets, and a track record of satisfied clients. Whether you’re aiming for the latest digital solutions or a more traditional banking experience, our guide has been tailored to assist you in making a decision that aligns with your financial aspirations.
Buckle up as we uncover the institutions that are not only shaping the banking industry but also contributing to Nigeria’s economic development, trade facilitation, and financial inclusivity.
Access Bank is one of Nigeria’s largest and most successful banks, standing out as a leader in the country’s financial industry. Established in 1989, the bank has grown significantly over the years, and a significant milestone was reached in 2018 when it acquired Diamond Bank Plc, becoming the largest bank in Africa by customer base and the biggest in Nigeria by assets. In 2022, Access Bank transformed into a holding company, Access Holdings PLC, reinforcing its commitment to growth and development.
A highlight of Access Bank’s accomplishments is its introduction of the Access Bank American Express® Gold Card and the metal Platinum® Card in 2023, making it the first bank in Nigeria to issue American Express Cards. The bank’s performance has been impressive, excelling in disbursing consumer loans and generating substantial interest income. It also made history by giving the continent’s first corporate green bond, showcasing its dedication to sustainable financing and environmental responsibility.
Access Bank is highly regarded for its digital banking services, with its Access More app earning the highest consumer satisfaction rating for digital banking in Nigeria. The app offers various convenient features, such as quick account opening, personalised themes, QR-based transfers, investment services, foreign currency transfers, and bill payments, making banking more straightforward and more accessible for its customers.
- Access Private Bank provides exclusive banking for personal money and business assets.
- They offer top-notch Investment Management for financial and non-financial assets.
- Access Bank offers insurance for health, property, and more.
- They have a unique Black Card with exceptional benefits.
- *901# service lets you do banking on your phone.
- Access Bank has banking on WhatsApp.
- They have a system to report suspicious activities.
- Access Bank offers a range of banking and investment solutions for individuals and businesses.
- They offer special cards like AMEX Gold and Platinum for different currencies.
- Diverse account services
- Easy and flexible account opening process.
- Convenient mobile banking for on-the-go management.
- User-friendly banking services
- Customers complained of delayed response from the customer care
- Increased Bank charges
Zenith Bank is a top bank in Nigeria known for providing excellent customer service. In 2022, the bank saw a big increase in customer deposits, reaching N8.04 trillion. This growth was due to more people putting their money in the bank.
Established in 1990, Zenith Bank has become one of Nigeria’s largest and wealthiest banks. It offers various financial services, including banking for individuals and businesses, foreign exchange services, and investment options.
With a workforce of 7,000 employees and over 500 branches, Zenith Bank serves more than 1.6 million customers in Nigeria and other countries like Ghana, Gambia, South Africa, Sierra Leone, the U.K., China, and the UAE.
The bank has been recognised for its success and safety in the banking industry, making it a trusted choice for many people in Nigeria. Its strong financial performance and commitment to customer satisfaction have earned it a spot among the top 10 banks in the country.
- Zenith Bank emphasises delivering excellence in banking services.
- They prioritise customer satisfaction through exceptional service and innovative technology.
- Zenith Bank also attracts and retains a highly talented pool of diverse professionals.
- As a pioneer in digital banking, they continue to provide cutting-edge solutions to meet the dynamic needs of their customers.
- Zenith Bank children’s account
- Whatsapp banking for easy transactions
- Offers diverse banking services to cater to individual and business needs
- Provides loans to customers
- Poor response rate online to customer complaints
- Delay in transactions
United Bank African PLC (UBA)
United Bank for Africa (UBA) is one of Nigeria’s top banks, with its customer deposits growing by 15.53 per cent to N7 trillion in 2022. UBA offers various financial services, including wholesale banking, corporate banking, investment banking, trade finance, savings, consumer banking, mobile banking, and Internet banking. The bank has earned recognition for its efficiency in internet banking and was awarded the International Bank of the Year in 2020.
With headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria, and subsidiaries in over 21 African countries, UBA is a leading pan-African financial institution. It is the largest bank in Nigeria and one of the largest in Africa, with a strong presence across the continent, over 500 locations, and 10 million customers in Nigeria alone.
UBA is renowned for its top-notch digital banking services and excellent customer service. The bank has over 1,000 branches, 13,500 POS terminals, and 1,740 ATMs throughout Africa, ensuring convenient service access.
Founded in 1949 as the British and French Bank Limited, UBA has a rich history and has received numerous accolades in the financial industry. Its successful merger with Standard Trust Bank in 2005 was one of the largest in the history of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
UBA has consistently been recognised for its contributions to the banking industry, from introducing Nigeria’s first Cash Deposit ATMs to partnering with MoneyGram to open the country’s first MoneyGram location. The bank’s dedication to innovation and customer satisfaction has earned it high rankings and awards locally and globally.
As one of Nigeria’s best banks, UBA continues to provide reliable and efficient banking services, catering to the needs of millions of customers across the continent.
- It has a Pan-African presence with operations in 20 African countries and international reach in the U.K., USA, UAE, and France.
- Quickly open an account online, withdraw from any ATM, and receive real-time transaction notifications.
- UBA offers a range of corporate and commercial banking services to support the development of the real sectors of the economy.
- Flexible credit options with longer tenures and lower equity requirements.
- UBA supports infrastructural development in Africa and acts as a lead bank in the continent’s renaissance.
- Proven expertise in critical sectors such as Oil and Gas, Infrastructure Finance, and Agric.
- Flexible loan options
- Additional 1% interest rate on advantage savings
- Diverse banking services
- Complex mobile app design
- Poor customer response rate
Ecobank is a successful and well-established bank in Nigeria, with a significant increase in customer deposits, reaching N8.06 trillion in 2022. The bank offers deposit options like savings and current accounts, serving customers in 36 African countries. Ecobank focuses on retail, corporate, and investment services in Nigeria, making it a preferred choice for salary earners and public officials seeking reliable banking solutions.
With nearly 600 branches nationwide and a user-friendly mobile app, Ecobank ensures easy and convenient banking for customers. They prioritise quality service, evident from their impressive revenue of NGN506.17 billion in 2022. The bank also emphasises customer privacy and security, complying with all applicable regulations.
Beyond banking services, Ecobank encourages smart savings for a better future and supports entrepreneurs through initiatives like the Fintech Challenge, offering a cash prize of $50,000. Their commitment to empowering small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has earned them recognition as Africa’s Best Bank for SMEs by Euromoney.
- Debit, credit, and prepaid cards for fast, easy, and secure transactions.
- Various loan options, from salary advances to mortgages, help achieve financial goals.
- They are providing insurance coverage for peace of mind about the future.
- Access to a wide range of investment opportunities across Africa.
- Offering essential financial services throughout your pilgrimage.
- Digital products for existing Ecobank account holders.
- Financing options for unemployed or low-income individuals.
- Impressive deposits and strong financial position.
- User-friendly mobile banking for convenience.
- Commitment to quality service and customer satisfaction.
- Support for intelligent savings and financial advice.
- High charges on transfers
- Low limits on daily transfers
- Slow response to customer’s complaint
Guaranty Trust Bank
Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) is a leading Nigerian bank that offers various banking services to the public. Established in 1990, GTBank has become one of Nigeria’s most respected banks. It became a publicly quoted company in 1996 and has won several awards.
The bank focused on retail banking and underwent a major rebranding in 2005 to improve its services and expand its reach. GTBank made history in 2007 as the first Nigerian bank to issue a Eurobond and a Global Depositary Receipt.
It has also successfully issued bonds and raised funds from international markets, showcasing its strong brand reputation globally. With a commitment to excellence and a vibrant identity, GTBank continues to provide top-notch banking services to its customers.
- Exclusive banking centres with a relaxing ambience and dedicated concierge service for personalised wealth management.
- Securely deposit essential documents and prized possessions in specially designed boxes.
- Access to guarantees, mortgages, term loans, and corporate borrowing facilities.
- Expert advice on finance and wealth-building, including debtor services, creditor advisory, and bank advisory.
- GTBank World MasterCard with increased spending limits, global acceptance, and premium benefit
- Wide range of banking services.
- Strong financial reputation.
- Customer satisfaction focus.
- User – Friendly mobile app
- The complex configuration of the updated mobile app
First Bank of Nigeria
First Bank of Nigeria is one of the country’s oldest and most reputable banks, established in 1894 and based in Lagos. It is known for providing excellent financial services to its customers. With over 760 branches and 2,600 ATMs all over Nigeria, it is easily accessible to people nationwide. The bank offers various services to individuals, businesses, and the government.
They have different divisions that cater to different needs, such as retail banking for individuals and commercial banking for businesses. First Bank takes pride in its large customer base, with approximately 18 million clients, making it the bank with the most customers in West Africa.
The bank has received several awards and recognition for its outstanding performance and service quality. It is considered a trustworthy and reliable option for those looking for a safe place to keep their money and manage their finances.
- First Bank offers easy loan options.
- It offers digital solutions for various banking needs, making it faster and hassle-free.
- Get banking assistance through chat services.
- Explore the FirstMonie service for quick and easy banking.
- With a vast agent network, you can access banking services anywhere
- User-friendly mobile banking app
- The low-interest rate on Loans
- User-friendly mobile banking app
- Great banking reputation
- Significant and non-performing insider loans
- Poor corporate governance practices
Fidelity Bank Plc, established in 1988, has emerged as one of the top banks in Nigeria, known for its financial stability, integrity, and efficient services. With an annual revenue of NGN152 billion and a net income of NGN9.73 billion, Fidelity Bank focuses on retail and electronic banking, SMEs, and niche corporate banking.
Over the years, the bank has experienced remarkable growth, solidifying its position as the 10th-best bank in Nigeria. It acquired FSB International Bank Plc and Manny Bank Plc in 2005, expanding its reach and influence in the industry.
Fidelity Bank’s commitment to serving SMEs earned it the title of Best SME Bank in Nigeria by the Global Banking & Finance Review in 2022, highlighting its dedication to supporting the growth of this crucial sector.
The bank’s CEO received the prestigious banker of the Year 2022 award, recognising his exemplary leadership and achievements.
Fidelity Bank’s offerings, including fund transfers, bill payments, mobile top-ups, and flight reservations, provide customers with convenience and accessibility, making it the fourth-best bank in the retail market segment.
With an international banking license secured in 2011, the bank has expanded its services globally and acquired Union Bank U.K. in 2022 to further strengthen its global presence.
Customer deposits have substantially increased, reaching N2.29 trillion in the nine months of 2022, reflecting customers’ trust and confidence in the bank.
- Personal Checking: Offers basic checking accounts and accounts with earning potential.
- Personal Savings: Provides a range of competitive and flexible saving account options.
- Digital Banking: Allows users to manage accounts, pay bills, set alerts, deposit checks, and more online or via mobile devices.
- Home Equity Line of Credit: This lets customers utilise their home equity for projects like home improvements, college expenses, etc.
- Mortgage Solutions: Offers mortgage options for various needs, including buying homes and vacation properties.
- Designed for modern students, offering checking and savings accounts with convenient digital solutions.
- Support for SMEs
- Convenient access to services
- Customer-centric approach
- Convenient digital banking options
- Complex mobile app design
- High-interest rates on loans
Union Bank of Nigeria, established in 1917, is one of Nigeria’s oldest and most reputable financial institutions. With over 293 service centres and 937+ ATMs nationwide, the bank has been committed to empowering individuals, families, and businesses for almost a century.
The bank’s vision is to be Nigeria’s most reliable and trusted partner, while its mission is to make lives better by delivering simple and smart solutions with the best customer experience.
Union Bank has received numerous awards, including the Best SME Bank Award in 2023 and the SME Financier of the Year Award in 2022, highlighting its dedication to supporting small and medium-sized enterprises.
With an asset base of $6.8 billion and a customer base of 4.3 million, Union Bank is trusted by Nigerians for its strong financial standing and low-interest financing options.
The bank’s network includes over 400 branches, 2,700 employees, and 7,000 POS terminals, making it easily accessible to nationwide customers.
In 2022, Union Bank reported a 19.53 per cent increase in customer deposits, reaching N1.53 trillion, demonstrating its popularity and reliability.
- The bank actively helps manufacturing businesses with valuable contacts and financial solutions.
- Union Bank offers funding options to buy machinery and equipment.
- They assist in managing your company’s money effectively.
- Union Bank provides financing for day-to-day business expenses.
- They help with exchanging money for international transactions.
- The bank issues letters of credit to ease trade transactions.
- Smart savings calculator
- Customers can get financial assistance with low-interest options.
- They have loans with low-interest rates.
- They focus on making banking simple and easy for their customers
- You can choose from different types of accounts that suit your needs.
- They support and help small businesses grow.
- Collateral required for loans
- The transfer process takes time for receiver to get credited
Sterling Bank Plc
Sterling Bank is a renowned commercial bank in Nigeria, established in 1960, with a strong emphasis on innovation, technology, sustainability, and social responsibility. Its customer deposits grew by 8.70 per cent in the nine months of 2022, reaching N1.25 trillion.
The bank offers comprehensive financial services, including asset management, investment banking, corporate banking, and retail banking. One of its main advantages is its commitment to sustainability and social responsibility, demonstrated through various programs to support local communities and promote ethical business practices.
Sterling Bank is a leader in financial inclusion, providing cutting-edge products and services. Its Private Banking and Wealth Management arm caters to High Net Worth individuals, offering services like Trust and Fiduciary Services, Philanthropy Management, and Investment Advisory.
In line with global best practices, Sterling Bank provides non-interest banking services through its Sterling Alternative Finance (SAF) arm. SAF offers transactional, investment, and financing products approved by an Advisory Committee of Experts (ACE) to ensure compliance with Islamic commercial jurisprudence.
As a full-service national commercial bank, Sterling Bank is licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria and serves individuals, SMEs, and large corporations. With a branch network of 141 and total assets exceeding NGN 1.6 trillion, Sterling Bank remains a top choice for customers seeking reliable and innovative banking solutions in Nigeria.
- Tailor-made products and services for businesses and individuals.
- Skilled staff to provide advisory services aligned with your goals.
- Credit facilities for large-scale enterprises to enhance food security and increase agricultural produce.
- Tailored services for import and export transactions, following best banking practice
- They provide convenient digital banking.
- Sterling Bank also makes available personalised services
- It makes investment opportunities present
- Delays in fulfilling requests due to slow network
- A limited number of branches
Polaris Bank is a leading financial institution in Nigeria with assets worth over $4 billion. It emerged as a newer-generation bank after acquiring the assets of the defunct Skye Bank in September 2018. Despite its relatively short existence, Polaris Bank has earned a reputation as one of the best banks in Nigeria thanks to its excellent customer care and exceptional customer experience.
Listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Polaris Bank operates in Nigeria and other African countries like Sierra Leone, the Republic of Guinea, Angola, and Liberia. The bank’s commitment to innovation and technology has enabled it to provide industry-defining products and services across various market segments, serving individuals, SMEs, large corporate organisations, and professional groups.
Polaris Bank stands out in revenue collection, holding collection mandates in about 30 states in Nigeria, including Lagos State. The bank’s strong emphasis on financial inclusion ensures its services are accessible to diverse customer bases, making banking more convenient for everyone.
Polaris Bank has garnered significant brand loyalty across demographics and industries as a market leader in various banking operations, including retail, commercial, corporate, and investment banking. The bank’s vision is to be the preferred partner, providing superior financial solutions to customers, and its mission is to leverage knowledge and innovation to facilitate customers’ enterprise.
With its dedicated leadership, strategic growth plans, and commitment to sustainability, Polaris Bank is well-positioned to continue its journey as one of Nigeria’s best banks, prioritising its valued customers’ needs and aspirations.
- Free account maintenance charge for balances of N200,000 and above.
- Polaris Exclusive Club Access
- A free annual complimentary subscription to an online newspaper.
- Free visa signature card.
- VIP lounge access at the local airport (MM2).
- Free monthly data bundle.
- Easy access to loans
- A large number of physical branches
- Easily understandable mobile app
- They have a digital bank – VULTE
- Delayed response to customer complaints
- App layout seems a bit difficult to navigate
Structure of Banks in Nigeria
The banking system in Nigeria is composed of six distinct layers, each serving a unique purpose within the country’s financial framework.
At the top of this hierarchy is the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), established in 1958. The CBN is the chief monetary authority responsible for ensuring financial stability and regulating the entire banking sector. It manages the nation’s foreign reserves, controls the national debt, and acts as the government’s banker. Additionally, the CBN is a lender of last resort and supervises other banks to maintain a secure and sound financial system.
Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), such as First Bank of Nigeria, GTBank, and Zenith Bank, form the core of Nigeria’s banking system. These banks provide various services like accepting deposits, granting loans, and offering financial advice. They are instrumental in serving the general public and driving economic activities in the country.
Merchant banks like FBN Merchant Bank, Nova merchant bank specialise in offering wholesale banking services, long-term finance, and investment management. These banks contribute to the growth of industries and enterprises by providing essential financial support and expertise.
Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) like the Bank of Industry (BOI) and the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) focus on targeted economic development. They provide funds and resources for sectors like industry and agriculture, supporting the country’s growth and infrastructural development.
Microfinance Banks cater to the underserved population by offering basic financial services to low-income individuals and small businesses. Institutions like LAPO Microfinance Bank are crucial in enhancing financial inclusion and supporting local economies.
Mortgage Banks like the Haggai mortgage bank and Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria specialise in financing housing projects. They offer loans for property acquisition and contribute to the expansion of the real estate sector, making homeownership more attainable.
In summary, Nigeria’s banking structure consists of the Central Bank, Deposit Money Banks, Merchant Banks, Development Finance Institutions, Microfinance Banks, and Mortgage Banks. This diverse arrangement ensures the provision of various financial services, drives economic growth, and fosters financial inclusion across different segments of the Nigerian population.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Bank
There are different banks in Nigeria, each of them offering a range of services. Before selecting a bank in Nigeria, here are factors you should consider:
- Range of Services and Products: The range of services matters when selecting a bank, you should look for banks offering services specific to your needs but don’t limit it to that. Look for diverse accounts like savings, current, and fixed deposits. Additionally, explore their mobile and online banking features for easy account management on the go.
- Accessibility and Branch Network: Consider a bank’s accessibility and branch network. Look for a good number of branches and ATMs for easy transactions. Also, check if they have coverage in different regions. This ensures you can access your money conveniently, whether close to home or travelling.
- Customer Service and Support: When selecting a bank, consider their customer service and support. Look for 24/7 customer care to assist you anytime. Also, consider their responsiveness to queries and complaints.
- Technology and Innovation: Finally, consider a bank’s technology and innovation. Check for solid digital capabilities, ensuring you can do your banking online easily. Look for robust security features to keep your information safe. User-friendly interfaces make managing your money simple and convenient. A technologically advanced bank offers a modern and secure way to handle your finances.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which bank is more reliable in Nigeria?
Determining the most reliable bank in Nigeria can vary based on individual needs and preferences. However, some of the well-established banks known for their reliability and reputation in Nigeria include First Bank of Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank), Access Bank, and Zenith Bank.
What is the richest bank in Nigeria?
Nigeria’s richest bank is Access Bank, which has an asset base of N15 trillion as of December 2022. It has consistently been among the top banks in Nigeria, both in terms of asset base and profitability.
Which bank is best in Nigeria?
Nigeria’s “best” bank can vary based on individual preferences and needs. Some of Nigeria’s famous and well-regarded banks are listed above. Each of these banks has its strengths and offerings, ranging from customer service, technological innovation, range of products, accessibility, and more. It’s essential to consider your specific requirements and preferences when choosing the best bank for you.