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Nigeria’s Banking Industry: Ecobank

Ecobank Nigeria is part of a pan-African network of financial institutions, with offices in more than half of the countries on the continent. The parent company, Ecobank Transnational, offers a full range of banking and financial advisory services through its subsidiaries, and has established itself as a leading banking brand in West Africa.

Close to half of the bank’s branches are located in Nigeria, which is its largest market. As at 2016, it was said to have about 476 offices spread over the various regions of the country. The Nigerian subsidiary also held $5.8 billion in total assets by mid-2017.

History of Ecobank Nigeria

Although Ecobank was founded in 1985, its Nigerian subsidiary didn’t begin operations until 1989. The bank grew gradually through the 1990s, and benefited from the economic recovery of the early and mid-2000s.

Following the financial crisis of the late 2000s, authorities in Nigeria moved to strengthen the local banking industry. An increase in capitalization requirements caused a series of bank mergers. In 2011, Ecobank Transnational acquired Oceanic Bank, making it one of the top five largest banks in the country at the time.

Today, Ecobank Nigeria is the biggest segment of the wider Ecobank Group, with several thousand employees working at its branches and millions of Nigerians banking with it. Ecobank operates in about 30 countries, including Ghana, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Products and Services

Ecobank offers retail banking services to individuals and businesses. The packages in this category include bank cards, banking via a mobile app and USSD, internet banking, and several loan types. All of these services are available to people who have opened an account with the bank. Accounts can be opened at any of its branches, or applied for on its website.

Ecobank’s personal loans can be accessed without tangible collateral; it also has loans for financing the acquisition of homes, vehicle purchases, travels, and plugging cash flow gaps for salary earners and businesses.

The bank says it serves over 1.5 million low income individuals and small scale entrepreneurs in the regions in which it is present. These persons and businesses enjoy micro-savings and loans, bill payments, and tailor-made mobile banking, all of which helps them to build thriving enterprises and meet pressing financial needs.

Investors who work with Ecobank can benefit from its strong presence in several countries. By leveraging this geographical spread, they are able to add an extra dimension to risk reduction, and boost the chances of reaping good returns.

Other Engagements

In 2017, Ecobank introduced the Fintech Challenge, a competition in which innovative teams are rewarded for coming up with new technology applications to improve banking services.

The bank has also committed to functioning in an environmentally sustainable way. It puts out periodic reports about its progress in this respect. In 2018, it received the Sustainability Bank of the Year award from the CBN.

Ecobank points to the financial assistance it has rendered to governments, individuals, and small business as part of its agenda to help the development efforts in the countries in which it operates. 

Featured image source: Ecobank

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Ikenna Nwachukwu

Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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