The Nigerian Banking sector is one of the most competitive sectors in the economy and perhaps the most profitable. Despite having about 23 deposit money banks in the country, only a dozen are listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
Banking sector performance is something we track regularly at Nairametrics using several well-known metrics. Most of the data can be found in the financial statements of the banks within our repository of reports. While we track all banks, the following banks are included in our universe of measuring financial performance. They are Access Bank, GT Bank, Fidelity Bank, FCMB, Sterling Bank, FBNH, Union Bank, Zenith Bank, UBA, Stanbic IBTC and Wema Bank.
In this report, we take a cursory look at the performance of listed banks in Nigeria based on the six (6) metrics, these include Total Assets, Net Assets, Total Deposits, Profit After Tax, Return on Average Equity and Return on Total Assets.
Best Banks by Total Assets.
In this case, banking assets include equity plus bank deposits. According to the data, 11 of the listed banks reported a combined total asset of N42.4 trillion as at the first quarter of 2020.
This represents a 10.3% rise from total assets of N38.4 trillion as at December. Growth in Total Assets is indicative of how strong our financial institutions are particularly banks.
The size of their total assets also indicates how much support they can give to the Nigerian Economy. At N42 trillion bank total assets represent roughly 29% of Nigeria’s GDP of N145 trillion. That is roughly one-third of our GDP. When you compare to South Africa at 77% and the US at about 62.4% you realize there is room for growth.
So who are the leaders?
First Position – Access Bank N7.28 trillion
Second Position– Zenith Bank – N7.12 trillion
Third Position – FBNH N7.02 trillion
Fourth Position – UBA N6.3 trillion
Upshots – Access Bank has maintained the number one position since 2019 after overtaking Zenith Bank following its merger with Diamond bank However, Zenith bank’s asset jumped 12.3% in the first quarter of 2020 to N7.1 trillion compared to Access Bank’s 1.8% rise.
We won’t be surprised if Zenith Bank takes this position again come August when we update this ranking. Also interesting to note that the 4 banks make up more than half the entire total assets. Suffice to say these are indeed “too big to fail” banks.
Banks’ net assets represent the total equity or shareholders’ funds of all the banks on our list. It includes the bank’s share capital, reserves, and its retained earnings in a period. The net asset is a very strong metric for measuring how strong banks are and it is also used by the CBN in assessing banking sector ability to withstand credit losses.
We observed that at the end of Q1 2020, bank net assets rose from N4.64 trillion at the end of 2019 to N4.7 trillion. This presents a 1.4% rise over the three months period. However, this also represents a 20.5% jump from N3.9 trillion posted in 2018. Banks’ net assets are also circa 10% of their total assets.
The top 4 by Net Assets
First Position – Zenith Bank, N925.9 billion
Second Position – FBNH, N680.3 billion
Third Position – GT Bank, N661 billion
Fourth Position – Access Bank, N635.5 billion
Upshots: We noticed a remarkable rise from FBNH and Stanbic IBTC two bank holding companies. After falling 21.8% to N530.6 billion in 2018, FBNH clawed back 21% to N642.6 billion in 2019 and posted N680.3 billion as at March 2020. Also, Stanbic IBTC increased its net assets by 26.1% in 2019 to 302.2 billion respectively.
The bank now has a net asset of N320.7 billion. Zenith Bank at N925.9 billion is down from the N941.8 billion reported at the end of 2019. This may be due to dividend payments.
It should be noted that most banks recorded a drop in their total net assets in the first quarter, it may largely be due to dividend payments. However, we expect Zenith Bank to crack the N1 trillion mark in net assets by the end of the year.
Customer deposits are perhaps one of the most competitive banks’ performance metrics to track. The more deposits a bank has the more money it can make. In a country where a lot of cash remains outside the banking system, how well a bank can mobilize deposits from its customers shows how well it can compete in a very aggressive market.
Analysis of the data collected showed that total banks’ deposits rose from N19.1 trillion in 2017 to N29.1 trillion in the first quarter of 2020. Whilst this is impressive growth, it did not adjust for the defunct Diamond Bank.
Thus, a better comparison would be between the N26.8 trillion in deposits recorded in December 2019 and N29.1 trillion in the first quarter of this year. This implies an 8.8% rise in just three months. Listed banks are on track to cross N30 trillion in customer deposits.
Top banks based on deposits
First Position – Access Bank, N5.6 trillion
Second Position – FBNH. N5.4 trillion
Third Position – UBA, N4.6 trillion
Fourth Position – Zenith Bank, N4.4 trillion
Upshots: UBA’s total deposits rose a whopping 14% to N4.6 trillion in the first quarter of 2020, adding about N467 billion in new deposits in just 3 months. An even more notable jump was from Stanbic IBTC with a 31.6% rise to N1.1 trillion in three months. The bank broke into the N1 trillion club from N886 billion it had at the end of 2019.
The bank has now leapfrogged Sterling Bank and is on the heels of Fidelity Bank and FCMB. Fidelity Bank also impressed with a 10.4% rise in its numbers. FBNH, one of the oldest banks also rose 12.5% and at its rate could outpace the number one on the list, Access Bank.
Profits After Tax
Corporate Profits are often viewed positively or negatively depending on how you view the impact of capitalism. For banks, it can attract scrutiny if it comes at the expense of small businesses or the wider economy. Nigerian banks reported a total profit after tax of N815.5 billion at the end of 2019. This, compared to N754.7 billion reported in 2018 and N630.3 billion in 2017.
Though banks have often been criticized for reporting fat profits at the expense of the wider economy, we are better off having profitable banks than unprofitable ones. The more profitable banks are (consistently) over time, the more robust they are to support economic growth.
Banks that declared the most profits.
First Position – Zenith Bank, N208.8 billion.
Second Position – GT Bank, N196.8 billion
Third Position – Access Bank, N97.5 billion.
Fourth Position – UBA – N89 billion
Upshots – Zenith Bank and GT Bank appear to be in a world of their own as they make more than double their closest rival. Both banks are neck and neck again in the first quarter with N50 billion in profits for GTB and N50.5 billion for Zenith Bank.
In terms of the most improved bank based on profitability growth year on year, the winner goes to Wema Bank with a 56.3% rise in profits to N5.2 billion. Union Bank also saw its profits rise by 34.7%. Others with significant profit increases in 2019 were Sterling Bank, FCMB, and UBA with 17.2%, 13.2%, and 13.3% respectively.
Return on Equity
This is another important metric used in assessing how well a bank has performed in terms of returns to shareholders. We consider this the most important in terms of performance and efficiency. You can post the largest profits but just like any regular investment you want to know what that translates to in terms of return on equity capital.
Based on our pool of banks’ data, a return on average asset of 18.1% was achieved in 2019 compared to 17.5% a year earlier. This is higher than the inflation rate for 2019, higher than MPR, and just lower than banks’ lending rate. This figure was 11.39% in the US
How have they performed?
First Position – GT Bank, 31.2%
Second Position – Stanbic IBTC, 27.7%
Third Position – Zenith Bank, 23.8%
Fourth Position – Access Bank, 17.7%.
Upshots – Whilst Stanbic yielded the first place to GTB after catapulting to the top in 2018 with a return on average assets of 35%, it was interestingly the only notable drop from all the banks except Access Bank. Union Bank’s numbers increased from 6.3% to 10.2% one of the most improved performances in 2019. We note FBNH broke the single-digit ceiling to 10.6% as the bank continues with its growth comeback.
Return on Average Assets
This measures how well a bank is sweating its assets to generate profits. It is one thing for a bank to have all the assets in its balance sheet but is it providing returns to all providers of capital? We like this metric at Nairametrics because it tells us how well a bank is able to run efficiently using all the resources at its disposal to generate profits for its shareholders.
Best Banks based on ROAA
First Position – GT Bank, 5.6%
Second Position – Stanbic IBTC 4.2%
Third Position – Zenith bank, 3.4%
Fourth Position – UBA, 1.7%
Upshots – Just like the impressed with ROAE, GT Bank is again the best bank based on Return on Average Assets at a whopping 5.6%. That just shows how very well run the bank is and that it maintained this return in a struggling economy is even more remarkable. We noticed a drop in return on assets across most of the banks highlighting how difficult the economy has been for banks.
Which is the best bank overall for the first quarter of 2020? Well, we leave that to you our readers to judge.