• Monday, May 27, 2024
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UBA, GTCO, Access, Zenith emerge Africa’s best banks in 2023

Increase in minimum capital requirements For Nigerian banks (Part I)

Four Nigerian-owned banks emerged among the best banks in Africa last year, according to the latest 2024 World’s Best Banks report.

The report published by Global Finance, a monthly financial magazine shows that UBA, GTCO, Access Bank, and Zenith Bank in Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone, Gambia, Ghana, and Nigeria respectively made the list.

“Banks in Africa have recently been operating in challenging environments, owing to economic turmoil. The stress factor has been particularly elevated in big economies. Amid the harsh environment, African banks’ top leadership and management have demonstrated shrewdness and prowess,” the report said.

It said instead of crumbling, banks remain resilient. Some are even posting record-breaking profits and local currency crises in Egypt and Nigeria have caused havoc.

“The ripple effects for banks have heightened risks to asset quality. In South Africa, sluggishness in critical sectors like mining, energy, logistics, construction, and trade saw economic growth nosedive to a mere 0.6 percent in 2023, down from 1.9 percent in 2022.”

According to Global Finance, Standard Bank, its regional winner, led the pack with a 27 percent increase in headline earnings at $2.3 billion from $1.7 billion, while Return on equity rose to 18.8 percent from 16.3 percent.

Read also: Nigerian banks’ three-month net interest income more than doubles

It said Zenith Bank defied Nigeria’s economic mess to post triple-digit profit growth. “In the third quarter of last year, it posted a 149 percent increase to $368.4 million in profit before tax from $146.3 million for the same period in 2022.”

The report added that UBA, the winner in Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone, believes the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is a critical bedrock for development and that in February, the bank was a key backer and the official sponsor of the ECOWAS Mining and Petroleum Forum.

“Ironically, Burkina Faso has joined with Mali and Niger to form a separate alliance and exited the bloc, to which it contributed about 8 percent of GDP. The country, together with Niger, also intends to leave the West African Economic and Monetary Union, whose members use the CFA franc, which is pegged to the euro. These developments are enormous threats to UBA.”

The bank has been building a strategy around cross-border payments, remittances and trade finance in the country. All are interlinked with membership to the two economic and monetary groupings. Despite the worsening political risks, UBA in Burkina Faso is determined to soldier on, said authors of the banking report.

“GTBank is our winner as Best Bank in the Gambia. The bank is not only using its extensive branch network to build partnerships with public bodies to collect revenue but is also deploying digital channels to increase retail-market penetration,” they said.

They noted that the Ghanaian economy is showing signs of stabilisation after a turbulent period. “For Access Bank, the country’s winner, the impacts are already being felt, with net profits surging by 47.1 percent in Q3 to $34.4 million, from $23.3 million in the same period of 2022.”