By By Omoh Gabriel, Business Editor
TWELVE of the 24 Nigerian banks have been listed in the Global 1,000 bank ranking by the Banker magazine that does global ranking of banks in the last 20 years.
The Banker, a subsidiary of the Financial Times of London, released its 2009 ranking of banks globally on Friday.
This implies that Nigerian banks are solid without any distress.
According to the list, First Bank Plc tops the Nigerian banking scene but fifth in Africa and occupies the 215 position out of 1,000 banks in the global banking arena with a shareholders’ fund of $2.993 billion.
Following closely is the leader of the first generation banks in the country, Zenith, which is ranked second in the Nigeria banking industry, sixth in Africa and 218 in the global market place with a shareholders’ fund of $2.935 billion.
Another new generation bank, Oceanic International, ranked third in the Nigerian banking space, seventh in Africa and 327 in the global player list and has a shareholders’ fund of $1.750 billion.
Intercontinental Bank is fourth in the Nigerian banking map, eighth in the African banking hierarchy and 335th in the global player listing with a shareholders’ fund of $1.699 billion.
Another bank that made the Global 1000 list is United Bank for Africa, which is listed as fifth in Nigeria, ninth in Africa and 356 in the world and has $1.541 billion as shareholders’ fund.
Next on the list is Access Bank which is ranked sixth in Nigeria, 10th in Africa and 392 in the global banking place with $1.431 billion shareholders’ fund.
Guaranty Trust Bank made the list of Global 1,000 banks and was listed as 11th in Africa and 402 in the banking world having a shareholders’ fund of $1.382 billion.
According to the Banker magazine, Fidelity Bank occupies the 12th position among African banks and 450 position in global bank ranking with a shareholders’ fund of $1.163 billion.
In the same vein, Union Bank is the 14th largest bank in Africa and the 556th in the global banking arena for its $826 million shareholders’ fund.
Skye Bank was ranked 15th in Africa and 580th in the world, having a shareholders’ fund of $776 million.
Ecobank Transnational is 16th in Africa and 651 in the world with a shareholders’ fund of $620 million.
Diamond Bank ranked 18th in Africa and 802 in the globe having $423 million as shareholders’ fund just as Afribank was ranked 19th and 895 in the world with a shareholders’ fund of $321 million.
Banks insulated from financial crisis
Commenting on the ranking of African banks in the global ranking of banks, the Banker said: â€œAfrican banks have so far been relatively insulated from the wider financial crisis, and results for calendar year 2008 reflect this. However, with plummeting commodities prices and a dearth of foreign external financing so far in 2009, next yearâ€™s results might look so rosy.
â€œOf the top 21 sub-Saharan African banks that made it into The Bankerâ€™s Top 1,000 rankings, five were South Africa, 13 Nigerian, two Mauritian and one, EcoBank, was from Togo.
“Nigerian banks continued to amass Tier 1 capital in calendar year 2008, making them even stronger than last year, when compared with the traditionally dominant South African banks.
“Whereas last year, Nigeriaâ€™s banks made up 34 per cent of total Tier 1 capital from the sub-Saharan banks, this year, they made up 43.4 per cent. South Africaâ€™s share of total Tier 1 capital fell from 62 per cent in last yearâ€™s ranking to 52.8 per cent.
â€œA tough year in global banking did not directly affect Africaâ€™s bank profits for calendar year 2008.
“Total pre-tax profits for sub-Saharan Africa grew a healthy 8.9 per cent to $11.4 billion, moving up from $10.7 billion in calendar year 2007.
“The Nigerian banking sector as a whole boosted its total pre-tax profits substantially in calendar year 2008, from $1.9 billion in 2007 to $3.1 billion last year.
â€œHowever, a dark cloud looms over the sector. The Nigerian banks have been hit hard in 2009 by the financial crisis as oil revenues plummet in the country and external finances dry up.
A collapse in the Nigerian Stock Exchange in late 2008 which wiped 60 per cent of the value of stocks, left banks reeling and exposed many of them to staggering losses from their margin trading activities.
Banker projects much better ratings next year
“Next yearâ€™s rankings will undoubtedly reveal a somewhat more sober set of results.
â€œSouth African bank profits were slightly down on the year before. Total pre-tax profits from South African banks in the Top 1000 fell by about 20 per cent in calendar year 2008 from about $8 billion in calendar year 2007 to just over $6 billion.
“In terms of regional rankings, South Africaâ€™s banks remain static. In Nigeria, however, the picture is much more fluid. First Bank of Nigeria tops the Nigerian league for Tier 1 capital and is placed fifth in the regional total. Oceanic Bank has slipped from fifth in the sub-Saharan category to seventh.
“The seemingly unstoppable march of the Nigerian banks up the global rankings appears to have cooled somewhat. Whereas last year Nigerian banks dominated the highest movers category of the Top 1000, this year their performance has been solid rather than spectacularâ€ the Banker said.