Here is Proof That Your Bank Might be Older Than You



The Nigerian banking sector is a vibrant hub of financial activity, marked by a diverse range of banks that have contributed significantly to the country’s economic growth and development.

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From the early days of independence to the present digital age, these banks have evolved and adapted to the ever-changing financial landscape.

In this article, we will delve into the histories of 20 prominent Nigerian banks, highlighting their names, age ranges, and startup dates, to show the that some of these Nigerian banks like First bank, and Union Bank have had a long standing.

Bank Name: First Bank of Nigeria 

Age Range: 129 years

Startup Date: 1894

Established during the colonial era as the Bank of British West Africa (BBWA), First Bank of Nigeria is the oldest and one of the most enduring banks in Nigeria. Its journey began in 1894, when Sir Alfred Jones founded the Nigerian bank to facilitate trade and commerce within the region.

Bank Name: Union Bank of Nigeria

Age Range: 106 years

Startup Date: 1917

Originating as Colonial Bank in 1917, Union Bank of Nigeria has transformed over the years to become a significant player in the banking sector, contributing to economic growth and unity within the country.

Bank Name: Access Bank

Age Range: 35 years

Startup Date: 1988

Access Bank, established in 1988, has rapidly grown to become one of the largest banks in Nigeria. Its focus on innovation and customer-centric services has played a pivotal role in its success.

Bank Name: Zenith Bank

Age Range: 33 years

Startup Date: 1990

Zenith Bank, founded in 1990, has consistently ranked among Nigeria’s top financial institutions. Its commitment to excellence and technological advancement has propelled its growth.

Bank Name: Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank)

Age Range: 33 years

Startup Date: 1990

GTBank, founded in 1990, is renowned for its exceptional customer service and innovative digital solutions, which have solidified its position as a leading Nigerian bank.

Bank Name: United Bank for Africa (UBA)

Age Range: 75 years

Startup Date: 1949

Starting as the British and French Bank Limited (BFB), UBA has a rich history spanning over seven decades. It has played a vital role in shaping Nigeria’s financial sector.

Bank Name: Ecobank Nigeria

Age Range: Over 37 years

Startup Date: 1986

Ecobank Nigeria, established in 1986, is part of the larger Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI). Its presence across various African countries highlights its commitment to regional integration.

Bank Name: Stanbic IBTC

Bank Age Range: 34 years

Startup Date: 1989

Stanbic IBTC Bank, founded in 1989, is a subsidiary of Standard Bank Group. Its focus on innovation and sustainable practices has contributed to its enduring success among Nigerian Banks.

Bank Names: Fidelity Bank

Age Range: 35 years

Startup Date: 1988

Since its establishment in 1988, Fidelity Bank has grown to provide a range of financial services to its customers. Its community-oriented approach sets it apart from other Nigerian banks.

Bank Name: Wema Bank

Age Range: Over 76 years

Startup Date: 1945

Wema Bank, founded in 1945, has a rich history of providing banking services in Nigeria. Its adaptability and commitment to growth have enabled it to stay relevant among Nigerian banks.

Bank Name: Sterling Bank

Age Range: 63 years

Startup Date: 1960

Founded in 1960, Sterling Bank has been an integral part of Nigeria’s financial sector for over six decades. Throughout its history, the bank has shown dedication to innovation, customer service, and community development, positioning itself as a dynamic player in the Nigerian banking landscape.

Bank Name: Diamond Bank (Now Merged with Access Bank)

Age Range: 32 years

Startup Date: 1991

Diamond Bank, established in 1991, merged with Access Bank in 2019, creating a larger entity poised to offer enhanced services to its customers.

Bank Name: FCMB (First City Monument Bank)

Age Range: 41 years

Startup Date: 1986

Established in 1986, FCMB has grown to become one of Nigeria’s leading financial institutions. With a focus on delivering tailored financial solutions and personalized customer service, FCMB has played an essential role in supporting the financial needs of individuals and businesses in Nigeria.

Bank Name: Citi Bank

Age Range: 41 years

Startup Date: 1981

Citi Bank, a global financial institution, made its presence felt in Nigeria in 1981. Bringing its international banking expertise to the country, Citi Bank has contributed to the growth of Nigeria’s economy and the development of its financial markets.

Bank Name: Skye Bank (Now Polaris Bank)

Age Range: 34 years

Startup Date: 1989

Originally established as Prudent Bank in 1989, the bank underwent various changes before becoming Polaris Bank in 2018, after a central bank intervention.

2020, showcases the trend toward digital banking solutions. It underscores the importance of accessible financial services.

Bank Name: Polaris Bank

Age Range: Over 9 years

Startup Date: 2012

Originally founded as Prudent Bank in 1989 and later becoming Skye Bank, the institution finally transitioned into Polaris Bank in 2018 following regulatory intervention.

Bank Name: Unity Bank.

Age Range: 17 years

Startup Date: 2006

Founded in 2006, Unity Bank has made its mark in Nigeria’s banking sector over the past 15 years. With a commitment to providing financial solutions to diverse segments of the population, Unity Bank has contributed to financial inclusion and economic development across the country.

In coonclusion, the history of Nigerian banks is a testament to the country’s economic growth, adaptability, and resilience. From the pioneering days of First Bank and Union Bank to the digital-driven era of Access Bank and GTBank, each institution’s journey has contributed to shaping Nigeria’s financial landscape.


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