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BANKING

Nigeria Best Bank:Union Bank of Nigeria

Botswana I Ethopia I The Gambia I Ghana I Kenya I Malawi I Mauritius I Namibia I Nigeria I Senegal I South Africa I Swaziland I Tanzania I Togo I Uganda I Zambia I Zimbabwe Africa’s most populous country has benefited hugely from record oil prices – GDP grew 6.2% in 2005 – but observers are concerned that it will distract the government from a ambitious reform agenda that aims to get the country’s non-oil economy off its knees.

Certainly Central Bank of Nigeria governor Charles Soludo’s reform of the banking sector has been a great success resulting in a much slimmed-down and better-capitalized industry. In this very different environment, Union Bank of Nigeria – not to be confused with United Bank for Africa, which won Euromoney’s award last year – became the largest bank in Nigeria in 2005, overtaking First Bank of Nigeria.

Union Bank of Nigeria, which has 379 branches, 340 of which are electronically connected, has actively taken part in the consolidation urged by the central bank and recently acquired Universal Trust Bank, Broad Bank and Union Merchant Bank. With the successful acquisition of the three banks, Union Bank of Nigeria is one of the best-capitalized banks in Nigeria and has shareholders’ funds of N57.32

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