By KAYODE TOKEDE, Lagos
About 15 commercial banks operating in the country have reported N4.47 trillion in shareholders’ funds in 2016 attributed to their efforts at enhancing the quality and ensuring financial system stability.
The said banks had reported N3.99trillion shareholders’ funds in the previous year, an increase of 11.7 per cent or N471 billion. The banks include Zenith Bank Plc, a Tier-1 commercial bank with the highest shareholders’ funds in the banking industry. It was followed by First Bank Holdings Plc and Eco Transnational Incorporated Plc.
LEADERSIP investigations showed that most of the Tier-1 banks shareholders’ funds crossed the N300 billion mark while Union Bank of Nigeria and Diamond bank Plc, two Tier-2 with shareholders’ funds crossed the N200 billion threshold.
The breakdown also revealed that Zenith Bank’s shareholders’ funds rose by 18.5 per cent to N704 billion in 2016 from N594.35 billion in 2015 while FBN Holdings reported 0.6 per cent from N578.8 billion in 2015 to N582.6 billion in 2016.
The investigation also showed Zenith Bank as the biggest and most profitable banks in Nigeria. The bank, established in May 1990, started operations in July same year as a commercial bank. It became a public limited company on June 17, 2004 and was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange on October 21, 2004 following a highly successful Initial Public Offering (IPO).
The bank presently has a shareholder base of over one million, an indication of the strength of the Zenith brand. It is headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria. With over 500 branches and business offices nationwide Zenith Bank has presence in all the state capitals.
The bank’s expansion is not limited to Nigeria as Zenith became the first Nigerian bank in 25 years to be licensed by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in the UK for the commencement of banking operations by Zenith Bank (UK) Limited in April, 2007. Eco Transnational Incorporated’s shareholder’s funds rose by 6.9 per cent to N502.9 billion in 2016 from N538 billion recorded in 2015.
Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and Access Bank Plc shareholders’ funds grew by 22.1 per cent and 23.6 per cent respectively. Guaranty Trust Bank shareholder’s funds moved from N413.56 billion in 2015 to N504.9 billion in 2016 while Access Bank’s shareholder’s funds hits N454.49 billion in 2016 from N367 billion in 2015. United Bank for Africa Plc’s shareholder’s funds moved from N332.6 billion in 2015 to N448 billion in 2016, representing an increase of 34.7 per cent.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2007 proposed a maximum shareholders’ funds of N100 billion for banks operating in the country from N3billion. Under the new regime that replaces universal banking; three tiers of banks are to come into effect with the lowest shareholder’s funds – N15 billion – set aside for those classified as regional banks.
According to the classification, banks with the maximum shareholder’s funds could operate internationally while national banks whose operations are confined to the country will be required to have N25 billion. On the other hand, regional banks which are allowed to operate in a minimum of five and a maximum of 10 contiguous states are required to have N15 billion.
Under tier-2 Commercial Banks shareholder’s funds, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc’s shareholder’s funds closed 2016 at N271.7 billion, 10 per cent above N246.8 billion recorded in 2015 while Diamond Bank’s shareholder’s funds moved from N214 billion in 2015 to N226.7 billion in 2016. First City Monument Bank Group shareholder’s funds increased by 10 per cent to N178.87 billion in 2016 from N162.39 billion in 2015.
Fidelity Bank Plc’s shareholders’ funds up by one per cent to N185 billion from N183.5 billion in 2015 while Stanbic IBTC Holdings shareholders’ funds rose by 9.5 per cent from N128.6 billion in 2015 to N140.8 billion in 2016. Furthermore, Sterling Bank shareholder’s funds dropped by 10.4 per cent from N95.6 billion in 2015 to N85.66 billion in 2016.
Also, Wema Bank’s shareholder’s funds added 5.2 per cent to N48.47 billion from N46.06 billion while Unity Bank’s shareholder’s funds moved to N83 billion from N82.57 billion in 2015.