Nigerian Shake-Up Not Yet Complete
Ford, Neil, African Business
Nigeria dominates our table of the Top 30 West African banks more completely than the far larger South African banking sector is able to dominate its equivalent survey.
Incredibly, the first 19 places in the regional table are filled by Nigerian institutions, with the rest of West Africa apparently left to pick up the crumbs. Yet these results are a sign both of Nigeria's strength and its weakness. It may possess the largest banking sector in the region and the largest financial institutions, but such a large number of banks, in what is still a fairly limited economy, is certainly a sign of weakness.
Thankfully, the Nigerian government has already implemented a deep-seated banking reform programme and there has been a major programme of mergers and acquisitions over the past year or so.
Once the bank results for the current financial year have been filed, our table should have a very different composition in 2007. There will almost certainly be fewer Nigerian banks than at present, but the gap between the largest Nigerian banks and other banks in West Africa should be much greater. At present, the biggest bank in West Africa is United Bank for Africa, with capital of $411m, closely followed by Intercontinental Bank, with $400m, although First Bank of Nigeria has the largest asset base in the country with $3,784m.
The highest ranked non-Nigerian bank in the regional table is Ecobank Transnational in Togo, with capital of $165m. Ecobank has offices and operations spread across the region in its efforts to develop as a truly West African bank. It is perhaps surprising that the three largest economies in the region after Nigeria, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana and Senegal do not possess larger financial institutions than those listed here, but at least Ghana benefits from having five banks of some size, although Ghana International Bank is registered in the UK.
The severe downturn in Cote d'Ivoire's economic fortunes since the country's descent into civil strife is demonstrated by its limited representation on our table.
Since our survey of Africa's Top 100 Banks last year, Standard Chartered Bank Ghana has overtaken Ghana International Bank as Ghana's largest financial institution. While the latter's capital has grown from $54m to $59m, Standard Chartered has grown from $49m to $71m.
However, this is not quite the picture of the new, private bank overtaking the establishment bank, as Standard Chartered Bank did formerly act as Ghana's central bank. It now controls 20% of the total Ghanaian banking market and has promoted the use of cash machines and personal loans in the country.
As last year, no banks from the Sahel or the Mano River states are listed. This demonstrates how far the Mano River countries must go to redevelop their economies after years of destructive civil war and also indicates the extent to which the region remains rooted to colonial era economic structures in that wealth is still concentrated in coastal areas.
Survey by Neil Ford
West Africa Regional Ranking in CAPITAL Ranking our Top 100 BANK COUNTRY ($M) 1 13 United Bank for Africa plc* Nigeria 411 2 14 Intercontinental Bank plc* Nigeria 400 3 17 First Bank of Nigeria plc* Nigeria 328 4 20 Ecobank Transnational Togo 304 5 21 Zenith International Bank Nigeria 293 plc* 6 22 Union Bank plc* Nigeria 292 7 26 Guaranty Trust Bank plc* Nigeria 271 8 27 Skye Bank plc* Nigeria 269 9 28 Diamond Bank plc* Nigeria 241 10 30 IBTC Chartered Bank plc* Nigeria 232 11 31 Afribank plc* Nigeria 225 12 32 Fidelity Bank plc* Nigeria 225 13 33 Oceanic Bank plc* Nigeria 218 14 34 First City Monument Bank Nigeria 215 plc* 15 35 Wema Bank plc* Nigeria 203 16 36 Nigerian International Bank Nigeria 201 [Citigroup] 17 37 Access Bank plc* Nigeria 200 18 38 FirstInland Bank plc* Nigeria 197 19 39 Platinum-Habib Bank plc* Nigeria 194 20 41 Sterling Bank plc* Nigeria 193 21 66 Standard Chartered Bank Ghana 71 Ghana Ltd 22 70 Societe Generale de Banques Ivory 64 en Cote d'Ivoire Coast 23 73 Ghana International Bank plc United 59 Kingdom 24 77 Societe Generale de Banques Senegal 55 au Senegal SA 25 81 Ghana Commercial Bank Ltd Ghana 53 Regional Ranking in ASSETS PROFITS Ranking our Top 100 BANK ($M) ($M) 1 13 United Bank for Africa plc* 3,712 2 14 Intercontinental Bank plc* 2,058 3 17 First Bank of Nigeria plc* 3,784 4 20 Ecobank Transnational 2,199 74 5 21 Zenith International Bank 2,874 plc* 6 22 Union Bank plc* 3,562 7 26 Guaranty Trust Bank plc* 1,660 8 27 Skye Bank plc* 899 9 28 Diamond Bank plc* 1,187 10 30 IBTC Chartered Bank plc* 778 11 31 Afribank plc* 893 12 32 Fidelity Bank plc* 950 13 33 Oceanic Bank plc* 2,179 14 34 First City Monument Bank 583 plc* 15 35 Wema Bank plc* 792 16 36 Nigerian International Bank 692 [Citigroup] 17 37 Access Bank plc* 907 18 38 FirstInland Bank plc* 479 19 39 Platinum-Habib Bank plc* 792 20 41 Sterling Bank plc* 722 21 66 Standard Chartered Bank 565 25 Ghana Ltd 22 70 Societe Generale de Banques 753 11 en Cote d'Ivoire 23 73 Ghana International Bank plc 376 7 24 77 Societe Generale de Banques 780 14 au Senegal SA 25 81 Ghana Commercial Bank Ltd 573 10…