The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2021 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Nigerian banks: First Bank – the advantage and disadvantage of size

First Bank would undoubtedly be the elephant – the biggest. The brand even features an image of an elephant. CEO Bisi Onasanya
First Bank CEO Bisi Onasanya< td="">

If Nigeria’s top five banks were the big-five African game animals, First Bank would undoubtedly be the elephant – the biggest. The brand even features an image of an elephant. CEO Bisi Onasanya acknowledges that his bank has always had a reputation, like the elephant, for strength and reliability. The relative trust First Bank enjoys is crucial in a country where depositors have learnt harsh lessons of banks with shorter histories. First Bank is the oldest bank in Nigeria – it was once part of Standard Chartered – and its branding trumpets a foundation date of 1894.

But in a similar way to Sberbank – the biggest and oldest bank in Russia – First Bank is trying to shake off an image of itself as lumbering, while still trying to keep the cheap-deposit advantages of reputational reliability. Indeed, First Bank has risen to second place in Euromoney’s survey of best-managed banks.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree