Zenith took over the leadership of the Nigerian banking industry by the size of the balance sheet in 2016. It accelerated growth from 6.7% in 2015 to 18.3% in 2016 and closed the year with an asset base of N4.739 trillion.
The bank has maintained a faster growth rate than FBN Holdings over the past three years and with a decline in asset base of FBN Holdings in 2015, the leadership gap narrowed significantly.
As expected last year, fiscal 2016 has registered a landmark in Nigerian banking when FBN Holding’s status as Nigeria’s largest bank was upset, eight years after a similar step down in 2008. Zenith Bank’s asset growth in 2016 was driven mainly by a 69% leap in due from other banks compared to FBN’s 15% increase. Zenith Bank carries the largest credit portfolio in the Nigerian banking industry, which it grew by 15% to N2.29 trillion in 2016.
FBN Holdings stepped down from its leadership position of the Nigerian banking industry by the size of the balance sheet in 2016 to take the second position with an asset base of N4.736 trillion. This is despite stepping up growth in assets from a decline of 4.1% in total assets in 2015 to achieve a growth of 13.7% in 2016. The average growth rate has been comparatively weak for the bank since 2014 when it suffered a drop of 16.5% in loans and advances. Except for a temporary step down in 2008, the bank has held the position of the largest bank in Nigeria for so long.
United Bank for Africa retained its third position on the banking industry leadership table at the end of 2016 with total assets of N3.50 trillion. The bank made a strong rebound from a slight decline in asset base in the preceding year to a top industry record growth of 27.3%. With the high jump in 2016, the bank seems to wake up to the close possibility of being overtaken in the competitive race. Two years of apparent standstill in the size of the balance sheet had permitted faster growing banks to close in. They remained too close for comfort at the end of 2016.
Access Bank maintained the 4th position on the top 10 banking industry ranking it won for the first time in 2015. It has been the fastest growing bank among the top 10 members for the second year. It grew asset base by 34.4% to N3.48 trillion in 2016, up on the industry leading growth of 23.1% in the preceding year. Its growth was driven by the doubling of derivative financial assets, a 49% expansion in cash-based assets and an increase of over 32% in loans and advances. If the high growth momentum is maintained in the current year, there will be a competitive clash with UBA as to who takes the 3rd position on Nigeria’s largest banks’ table in 2017.
Guaranty Trust Bank stayed on the 5th place on the table in 2016 after stepping down for Access Bank in 2015. It closed 2016 with total assets of N3.12 trillion, which was attained with an accelerated growth of 23.4%. This is one of the top industry growth records in the year, recovering from the slowdown in 2015 that made way for the faster growing Access Bank to surge ahead. Its accelerated growth in 2016 was led by a growth of 79% in cash-based assets, a leap of over 34% in investment securities and an expansion of about 16% in loans and advances.
Diamond Bank moved up one step to regain the 6th position it lost in the preceding year with an asset base of N2.05 trillion at the end of 2016. It had lost its 6th position in the preceding year after recording one of the highest drops in total assets in the year at 9.3%. The recovery equally follows a rebound of 18.9% in asset base in 2016, which followed the rebuilding of its credit portfolio after a drop of 24.2% in the preceding year. The bank raised total loans and advances by 33% to N1.09 trillion in 2016.
Ecobank Nigeria steps back to the 6th position on the banking industry’s top 10 ranking by asset base from which it moved up to displace Diamond Bank in 2015. A drop in asset base by Diamond Bank was its gain in 2015. Conversely, a strong recovery by Diamond Bank in 2016 pushed it back to its former position. The bank is the only top 10 member that failed to step up asset growth in 2016. From a marginal improvement in the prior year, total assets were flat for Ecobank Nigeria at N1.81 trillion at the end of 2016.
Fidelity Bank defended its 8th position on the league of top 10 largest banks in Nigeria after pushing Skye Bank one step down the ladder in 2015. Growth remained low for the bank at 5.4% in 2016 though improving from 3.8% in the preceding year. It closed 2016 operations with total assets of N1.30 trillion.
Union Bank came from outside the table to register its presence as the 9th largest bank in Nigeria by total assets in 2016. This position was held by Skye Bank last year and the final ranking will have to wait for Skye Bank’s 2016 report, which was yet to be issued at press time. Skye Bank had stepped down to the 9th position last year following a drop of 13.6% in total assets in 2015.
Union Bank’s advance was made possible by a top record growth of about 20% in asset base in 2016, accelerating from 3.8% increase in 2015. Its renewed strength came from a 38% expansion in loans and advances to N507 billion in the year.
Even with its 2015 asset base, Skye Bank retains membership of the top 10 largest banks in Nigeria, sending FCMB, which occupied the 10th position in the preceding year packing from the top 10 chart. Its asset base as at the end of 2015 stood at N1.2 trillion. It was a N1.4 trillion bank at the end of 2014.