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Nigerian banks: GTB – profits before size

GT Bank CEO Segun Agbaje
GT Bank CEO Segun Agbaje

It is little wonder that GT Bank comes top in Euromoney’s survey of Africa’s best-managed banks. It was one of the first in Nigeria to implement international standards of accounting and issue international bonds and shares. CEO Segun Agbaje says there are only two of the original shareholders on the board. Agbaje, a long-standing employee, became the bank’s third CEO in 2011 after the second of the two founders to have been CEO, Tayo Aderinokun, died. Agbaje has already enjoyed the highest profit in Nigeria banking and the largest market capitalization – despite having the lowest total assets of the big five.

Within the next four years, Agbaje aims to be in the top-three most profitable banks in Africa – including South Africa – perhaps earning around $1.6 billion annually. He says he has already broken into the top 10 in Africa over the past year.

"We’re not talking about size," he says, although he admits scale helps. "We want to be the most efficient and profitable, not the largest."

Like its much older rival, First Bank, GT has focused on attracting Nigeria’s burgeoning youth.