With over 127 years of being woven into the fabric of society, First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FBN) has been at the forefront of promoting growth and development in Nigeria, extending its financial services footprints through its subsidiaries to over half a dozen countries across three continents.
The holding company despite the challenging operating environment, has been able to withstand and scale through hard times and still came out stronger, remaining a major player in the Nigerian financial space.
FBNH which started out as just a banking entity promoting commerce and extending loans way back in 1894, has grown, maintaining a top spot in business activities as well as national development.
For example its nation-building traits had emerged as far back as 1955, when it began partnering with the government in building infrastructure, starting with the expansion of the railway lines in the country.
Its drive for financial inclusion began over a century ago as it had spread its tentacles as far back as 1963, just three years after Nigeria’s independence with 114 branches spread across the country and beyond its borders.
The financial conglomerate is yet to relent in its drive as it remains at the forefront of financial inclusion and presently it has the largest number of banking agents across the country. The number of its agents had risen from just about 20,000 just two years ago, to over 100,000, penetrating almost all the 774 local government areas of the country.
Through a tumultuous period that saw a gargantuan and sudden change in leadership, the holding company still came out strong as international rating agency, Fitch affirmed FBN Holdings’ ratings at ‘B-’/Negative.
The Central Bank of Nigeria dissolved the board and management of the holding company after the sudden retirement of the managing director of its banking entity. In spite of the whirlwind, Fitch said.
“We have assessed the near-term financial impact of these actions on FBNH and FBN and believe this is tolerable at the rating level, even though the final outcome is uncertain.
“In our view, any remedial actions imposed by the CBN, including a potential reclassification of related-party exposures as impaired, will not have a material effect on the group’s asset quality, profitability and capitalisation. The new boards appointed to FBNH and FBN comprise individuals with sufficient experience and expertise.”
As stability returned to the entity, the financial conglomerate was ranked the second ‘most admired financial services brand’ in Africa for the second straight year at the 2021 Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands event.
FBN Holdings Plc also has in its feathers, the 2020 World Finance Best Corporate Governance in Nigeria Award. World Finance is renowned for its comprehensive coverage and analysis of the global financial services industry, international business and the global economy.
It won the award for the second consecutive year on the back of its strong corporate governance practices and outstanding leadership in the Nigerian financial services industry.
Commenting on the award on behalf of FBNHoldings, group managing director, UK Eke said, “Winning the award in quick succession is a demonstration of not only the strength of our corporate governance practices but also its resilience. As a holding company, we emphasise the highest standards in corporate governance across all operating entities in our quest to deliver value to our numerous stakeholders.”
Last year, one of the subsidiaries of FBN Holdings, FBN Quest Trustees, a leading Trusteeship Company, recorded that its liquid trust assets under management (AUM) is in the excess of N40 billion and has at done transactions also exceeding N6 trillion.
Chief executive officer of the company, Mr Adekunle Awojobi who was speaking at the 40th anniversary celebrations of FBN Quest Trustees, said, “In terms of growth and financial performance, the company has continuously delivered shareholder value in alignment with the mandate of the Group.
“From a share capital of about N30 million, the company has increased to a share capital of N3billion In 2019; and has grown its profit after tax (PAT) year-on-year consistently, with liquid trust assets under management in excess of N40 billion as at June 30 2019 and we currently have our fingerprints in transactions in excess of N6 trillion.”
He also emphasised the firm‘s impact on trusteeship business in Nigeria, and by extension, the economy. He said: “From when we began our journey in 1979, FBNQuest Trustees has delivered impeccable solutions for the safekeeping of our clients’ assets, the transfer of generational wealth and the preservation of their legacies.
“We are extremely proud to be a part of the 125 year-old legacy of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, and the rich heritage of FBN Holdings as we celebrate a 40 year track record of distinction, dependability and professionalism in the trustee business.”
FBN Holdings has shown that with age comes an experience that can see you through hard and tough times, as it stands resilient. Last year its profit before tax grew 11.2 per cent to N83.7 billion a non-interest income recorded a growth of 26.7 per cent to N174.7 billion.