Beyond the significant impacts they are making in the local economy, Nigerian banks are poised to take over the continent as they beat their contemporaries from other African countries to many international awards this year.
UK based Financial Times publication; The Banker Magazine has named United Bank for Africa as the , outperforming many robust South African banks. The bank also won the West Africa Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards 2019, for the West Africa Best Automated Chatbot initiative, application or programme and Best Digital Bank in Nigeria organized by The Asian Banker.
This is coming at a time when several other Nigerian banks were also recognized for their various performances in the continent.
UBA currently operates in 20 African countries and it has plans to expand its operations to more countries in the continent.
Similarly, GTBank also demonstrated its dominance in the continent as it emerged the Best Corporate Bank in Africa and Banking Institution 2019 – Nigeria in MEA Markets 2019 Award by the U.S.-based MEA Business Group, an international financial advisory services provider. The bank also clinched the Best Banking Group, Nigeria and Best Retail Bank, Nigeria at the World Finance Banking Awards organised by the International Finance, a premium business and finance magazine published by UK’s International Finance Publications Limited. Also, New York-based Global Finance Magazine earlier in the year chose GTBank as the Best Bank in Nigeria.
Mr. Ayodele Akinwunmi, Head, Research and Strategy, FSDH Merchant Bank, while commenting on the recognition Nigerian banks have received on the international front this year, explained that “Nigeria is the largest market in Africa. It is the biggest in terms of GDP, although South African banks are more developed in sophistication. So many Nigerian banks are operating in other African markets. We are improving, and we may likely have a recapitalisation for our banks in January to attract more investments both locally and internationally into our banking section”.
“The awards Nigerian lenders have won this year are a boost for the country’s banking industry. It also showed that the industry is prepared to the outside world, at least within Africa. It also showed that they are ready to play a significant role in the continent ahead of the commencement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA),” Moses Ojo, Head, Research and Business Development, PanAfrican Capital is reported to have said.
Access Bank, which is the lender with the highest assest in the country following its merger with Diamond Bank emerged the winner of the 2019 Karlsruhe Sustainable Finance Awards for Outstanding Business Sustainability Achievement organised by the European Organisation for Sustainable Development (EOSD) and its partners in Germany, to celebrate organisations promoting sustainability in the financial industry globally.
The bank’s dedication to promoting women’s economy also earned it international recognition as the Financial Alliance for Women, based in New York, United States, which champions women economic empowerment, honoured Access Bank with the Global Business Alliance (GBA) Women’s Market Champion award.
Also in 2019, Access Bank won the World Finance Award for Best Digital Bank in Nigeria by international finance magazine, World Finance; Ethical Boardroom Award for Best Corporate Governance, Financial Services, Africa, etc
Zenith Bank, Nigeria’s leading tier one lender, also bagged international laurels this year. Its subsidiary in Ghana won Best Bank honours for its innovation and customer service in the Global Finance Award 2019. This same subsidiary of Zenith Bank was also named the best banking group Ghana 2019 by the Global Finance Magazine and most outstanding bank of the year 2019 by Al Global for CV Magazine.
MEA Business Elite in the same vein, crowned Zenith Bank as the 2019 outstanding customer service lender. The International Finance Magazine also celebrated it for the same purpose.
Dr. Boniface Chizea, Managing Consultant, BIC Consultancy Services believes the significance of the recognition Nigerian banks have gotten is hinged on the institutions giving these awards as some of them are paid for.
First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s oldest bank, also earned international recognition as the Best Private Bank and Best Retail Bank in Nigeria Awards respectively by World Finance Magazine and Global Banking and Finance Review.