When talking about banks in Nigeria, it is virtually impossible to avoid mentioning the banking giant that is the First Bank of Nigeria Limited, known as First Bank. It was the very first bank to be established in Nigeria. The bank is a force to be reckoned with across Nigeria and enjoys a solid reputation among the citizens and residents of the country.
History of the First Bank of Nigeria
The Bank was founded in 1894 by Sir Alfred Jones, a shipping magnate from Liverpool, England. The Bank had its first head office in Liverpool, but started its activities on a medium scale in Lagos, Nigeria, under the name Bank of British West Africa (BBWA).
In 1912, the Bank obtained its first competitor, the Bank of Nigeria (formerly Anglo-African Bank) which was created by the Royal Niger Company in 1899. In 1957, the Bank of British West Africa (BBWA) became the Bank of West Africa (BWA). In 1966, the Bank underwent another name change following its merger with Standard Bank of the United Kingdom, adopting the name Standard Bank of West Africa Limited. In 1969, the Bank was also incorporated locally as Standard Bank of Nigeria Limited, in accordance with the Companies Decree of 1968.
There were further changes in the name of the Bank in 1979 and 1991, the 1979 change seeing the name change to First Bank of Nigeria Limited and the 1991 change seeing the name change to First Bank of Nigeria Plc. In 2012, the Bank changed its name again to FirstBank of Nigeria Limited as part of a restructuring process which resulted in FBN Holdings Plc, after separating its business activities from the other companies of the FirstBank group, in accordance with the new regulations. established by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
In December 2012, First Bank made big leaps. It had 1.3 million shareholders worldwide, was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) as one of the most capitalized companies, and also had an unlisted Global Deposit Receipt (GDR) program, which has all were transferred to the Bank’s holding company. , FBN Holdings in December 2012.
The growth and operation of First Bank
The Bank has built on its solid foundation and has consistently innovated in the local financial sector for over 120 years. FirstBank is currently present in the UK and France through its subsidiary FBN Bank Limited with branches in the popular cities of London and Paris; and in Beijing with its representative offices there. In October 2011, the Bank bought a new subsidiary, Banque Internationale de Crédit (BIC) which was one of the first banks in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In November 2013, the Bank continued to acquire ICB in countries such as Sierra Leone, Ghana, Guinea and The Gambia before acquiring ICB in Senegal in 2014.
These acquisitions represented major milestones in the Bank’s plan to develop its presence in sub-Saharan Africa, and all African subsidiaries now carry the FBN Bank brand.
As the operating environment continues to evolve globally, FirstBank follows these changes while continuing to meet the specific needs of its customers, investors, regulators, host communities, employees and other stakeholders. Through a balanced approach to plan execution, the Bank has strengthened its leadership in the financial sector by maintaining an appeal that crosses generations. This prompted the Bank to further strengthen its client base which spans different segments in terms of sectors, structure and size.
Through the use of an experience that spans over one hundred years of reliable service, FirstBank establishes relationships and partnerships with vital sectors of the country’s economy that have been strategic elements for growth, development and general well-being of the country. With the Bank’s vast asset base and extensive branch network coupled with constant reinvention, FirstBank is Nigeria’s strongest banking franchise, maintaining market leadership in all areas of the country’s financial services industry.
The Bank has over 750 shopping locations across Nigeria, all of which operate online and in real time, the Bank has one of the largest national sales networks in the country. As a market leader in the financial services industry, FirstBank has led international money transfer and electronic banking initiatives in the country, serving more than 14 million customer accounts.
The Bank’s strategy has focused on restructuring the company to take full advantage of the growth opportunities within the financial services industry, following the expansion of business lines in strategic business units, by putting continuously implementing a systematic international expansion plan and creating synergies within the FirstBank group.
In terms of international expansion, the Bank is focused on financial services markets in the sub-Saharan region of Africa.
Important milestones of First Bank
- 1894 – Incorporated and based in Marina, Lagos as Bank of British West Africa (BBWA)
- 1912 – The second branch in Nigeria was opened by King Jaja d’Opobo in Calabar, with a branch also opened in Zaria as the first branch in the northern part of the country
- 1947 – BBWA granted the first long-term loan to the then colonial government
- 1955 – Partnership with the government to extend rail lines
- 1957 – Becomes the Bank of West Africa
- 1966 – Becomes Standard Bank of West Africa Limited, following a merger with Standard Bank of the UK
- 1969 – Became locally listed as Standard Bank of Nigeria Limited
- 1971 – The bank’s first listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange
- 1979 – Becomes Nigeria’s First Bank Limited
- 1991 – Becomes First Bank of Nigeria Plc
- 1994 – Launch of the first university endowment program in Nigeria
- 2012 – Becomes a subsidiary of FBN Holdings Plc.
- 2013 – Completion of the acquisition of ICB’s assets in Guinea, Gambia, Sierra Leone and Ghana as part of an expansion program
President – Tunde Hassan-Odukale
Tunde Hassan-Odukale is a graduate of the University of London and the City University of London. He joined the board of directors of First Bank of Nigeria Limited as a non-executive director in 2011, and is currently the Managing Director of Leadway Assurance Company Limited. His management experience spans over 22 years and includes asset management, finance, life insurance operations and IT.
Managing Director / CEO – Adesola Adeduntan
Dr. Adesola Kazeem Adeduntan has been Managing Director / CEO of First Bank of Nigeria Limited and its subsidiaries since January 1, 2016. Prior to that, he was Executive Director and CFO of the Bank since 2014 when he was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Bank. He was a director and pioneer CFO / Commercial Director of Africa Finance Corporation.
He was also Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Citibank Nigeria Limited, Director of Arthur Andersen Nigeria and Senior Director of the Financial Services Group of KPMG Professional Services.
Deputy Managing Director – Olugbenga Francis Shobo
Olugbenga Francis Shobo joined the Board of Directors of First Bank of Nigeria Limited in 2012. He was previously Executive Director overseeing retail / public sector banking activities at Lagos, West and South management prior to his appointment. as Deputy Director General of the Bank. He is the first person to be appointed Deputy Managing Director of FirstBank in the bank’s history spanning more than 120 years.
Executive Director, Public Sector Group – Abdullahi Ibrahim
Abdullahi Ibrahim was appointed Executive Director of First Bank in 2017. Prior to his appointment as Executive Director, he served as Managing Director of North Retail Bank from December 2012 until he was appointed Managing Director , technology and services. He was the first group leader, manufacturing group within the Bank’s institutional group.
Executive Director, Corporate Banking – Remi Oni
Remi Oni was appointed Executive Director, Corporate Banking in April 2016. Prior to his appointment, he was Executive Director, Corporate & Institutional Banking for Nigeria and West Africa at Standard Chartered Bank.