See the most profitable bank in Nigeria – 2023

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Nigeria’s banking sector has shown remarkable resilience and performance in the first half of 2023, despite the challenging economic and regulatory environment.

The total profit after tax (PAT) of the 10 listed banks increased by a whopping 193% year-on-year, from N498 billion in H1 2022 to N1.4 trillion in H1 2023.

Much of the rise in profits has been due to reported gains on foreign exchange balances held by the banks through several swaps and hedging instruments held by the banks.

As expected, the FUGAZ, which represents the 5 largest banks in Nigeria, contributed N1.2 trillion of the profits or 87% up from 82% recorded in 2022.

We also have a new number 1 for the first time since 2020.

Methodology – The list is sorted based on profits reported in H1 2023, in ascending order, and compared against the figures from the same period in 2022.

All figures are represented in Nigerian Naira, denoted by “N.”

10. Sterling Bank

  • Profit 2022 H1: N8,013 million
  • Profit 2023 H1: N10,680 million

Sterling Bank initiates our list with a 33.3% year-over-year profit growth.

The bank retained the last position same as it did in the corresponding period in 2022,

9. Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN)

  • Profit 2022 H1: N11,711 million
  • Profit 2023 H1: N12,633 million

UBN shows a modest 7.9% profit increase, indicating stable performance.

Their profit growth is the lowest in the sector.

The bank is also going through a transition period with new owners taking over.

8. FCMB (First City Monument Bank)

  • Profit 2022 H1: N13,663 million
  • Profit 2023 H1: N35,410 million

FCMB experienced a significant 159.4% surge in profits, marking it a high-growth bank. They are however still rooted at the 8th position as it were last year.

7. Fidelity Bank

  • Profit 2022 H1: N23,307 million
  • Profit 2023 H1: N61,995 million

Fidelity Bank’s profits shot up by 165.9% as its profit was helped by a spike in income from its forex business.

However, it retained its 7th position from last year.

6. Stanbic IBTC

  • Profit 2022 H1: N30,669 million
  • Profit 2023 H1: N67,919 million

Stanbic IBTC posted a profit growth of about 121.5%, highlighting the impact of the gain from its forex business. It also retained the 6th position.

5. FBNH (FBN Holdings)

  • Profit 2022 H1: N56,602 million
  • Profit 2023 H1: N187,237 million

FBNH exhibited a considerable 230.7% profit growth, also mostly due to gains in its forex division.

Its 230.7% spike in profits was the third highest in the period under review.

It was also 5th this time last year.

4. Access Holdings

  • Profit 2022 H1: N95,486 million
  • Profit 2023 H1: N135,439 million

Access Bank secured the fourth rank with a solid 41.8% profit growth.

The largest bank in Nigeria by total assets dropped two notches from its second position this time last year in terms of profits after tax.

3. GTCO (Guaranty Trust Holdings)

  • Profit 2022 H1: N77,557 million
    Profit 2023 H1: N280,482 million

GTB’s profits escalated by a staggering 261.6% growth in pre-tax profits also on the back of its strong forex business.

Despite the incredible growth in profits, it remained in third position.

2. Zenith Bank

  • Profit 2022 H1: N111,413 million
  • Profit 2023 H1: N291,731 million

Zenith Bank followed closely with a 161.8% increase in profits as its forex business also helped boost profits.

However, for the first time since 2020, Zenith is losing this position to another bank that is not GTB.

Zenith’s ceding of second position could also be due to the huge loan impairment charge it incurred during the year.

1. UBA (United Bank for Africa)

  • Profit 2022 H1: N70,334 million
  • Profit 2023 H1: N378,235 million

Topping the chart for the first time is UBA, with an extraordinary 437.7% profit growth, making it the most profitable bank in Nigeria for the first half of 2023.

UBA has led not just in absolute profits but also in profitability growth.

UBA also appears to be the bank that made the most money (interns of growth) when it came to its net trading income (excluding interest and commissions).

It raked in over N427 billion in the second half of the year. No bank came close by our records. Only Zenith Bank did better in absolute terms.

Finally, the outlook for the banking sector remains positive for the rest of the year, as the banks continue to leverage on their strong capital base, innovative products and services, change in forex policy, and robust risk management framework to deliver value to their shareholders and customers.