Africa’s best bank 2023: Standard Bank
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Africa’s best bank 2023: Standard Bank

In many African countries, Standard Bank is not as large as it would like to be. But it has a physical presence in 20 African countries and is already by far the biggest pan-African group in terms of its scale in the main sub-Saharan markets, the size of its balance sheet and its absolute profit.

The result was evident in 2022, with record group headline earnings of R34.2 billion ($1.85 billion), up 37% on 2021, and a similar year-on-year increase reported for the first quarter of 2023.

The group’s lead by balance-sheet size reflects its home in South Africa, the continent’s most developed banking market. Nevertheless, in Nigeria, for example, no other international lender comes close to its scale in the country.

Although Standard Bank’s share of Nigerian retail banking is in the low single digits, local subsidiary Stanbic IBTC’s 2022 return on equity of 20.4% beat the largest incumbent Nigerian banks. That is thanks to a big position in Nigeria in corporate and investment banking, as well as in asset management and pensions – the latter being businesses that some of those big Nigerian banking groups have recently started to focus on.

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