FirstBank Wins 2024 Best SME Bank in Nigeria and Best SME Bank in Africa by Asian Banker Awards


Nigeria’s premier financial institution and financial inclusion services provider has
bagged two awards: Best SME Bank in Africa and Best SME Bank in Nigeria at the
highly converted Asian Banker Global Excellence Retail Awards 2024.
The Excellence in Retail Finance Awards Programme, which includes the Global
Excellence in Retail Finance Awards and The Annual Digital Bank Awards, is one of
the most established awards of its kind, recognising exceptional innovation,
leadership, management, and performance in the financial sector.

The 130-year-old institution bagged these two awards because of its full suite of
solutions across its franchise to serve the needs of medium and small enterprises in
regard to core financial needs and offer flexible financing options across the entire
lifecycle needs of customer's business.
According to The Asian Banker’s Strategic Business Intelligence for the Financial
Services Community “FirstBank demonstrated exceptional performance, notably in
its SME sector, by achieving more than 100% revenue growth while maintaining a
reduced cost-to-income ratio of 16.5%. Small and medium-sized enterprises
contributed 26% of overall bank revenue. Furthermore, the institution's SME
customer base grew by 7%, reaching a total of more than one million. For its
significant growth in the SME business, the award for Best SME Bank in Nigeria and
in Africa goes to FirstBank”.
FirstBank supports its customer by providing exceptional value proposition around
each industry sectors, digital innovation of the bank’s processes and financing
options, and a strong relationship banking approach to create best in class customer
engagement. The Bank’s integrated platform not only help businesses grow and
reduce operational costs but also facilitates expansion into regional and overseas
markets through its Sub-Saharan Africa subsidiaries.
Expressing her delight on the recognition, the Group Head, Marketing & Corporate
Communications, Ms. Folake Ani-Mumuney said: “We thank the Asian Banker
Awards for the recognition and dedicate these awards to our esteemed SME
customers that have progressively impacted the socio-economic growth of not just

Nigeria but also the African continent given their critical role as the engine of any
“For 130 years, FirstBank has continued to enable the giants in our customers
including our SMEs as well as other stakeholders, and we remain committed to
delivering the ultimate ‘gold standard’ of value and excellence.” she concluded.

Amongst other awards, FirstBank recently added to its awards kitty, Best Private
Bank in Nigeria and Best Private Bank for Sustainable Investment in Africa by Global
Finance, for its exceptional leadership in integrating sustainable practices into its
banking operations.
About FirstBank
First Bank of Nigeria Limited “FirstBank”, established in 1894, is the premier bank in
West Africa, a leading financial inclusion services provider in Africa, and a digital
banking giant.
FirstBank’s international footprints cut across three continents ─ Africa, Europe and
Asia, with FirstBank UK Limited in London and Paris; FirstBank in The Democratic
Republic of Congo, Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea and Sierra Leone; FBNBank in
Senegal; and a FirstBank Representative Office in Beijing, China. All the subsidiary
banks are fully registered by their respective Central Banks to provide full banking
Besides providing domestic banking services, the subsidiaries also engage in
international cross border transactions with FirstBank’s non-Nigerian subsidiaries,
and the representative offices in Paris and China facilitate trade flows from Asia and
Europe into Nigeria and other African countries.
For 130 years, FirstBank has built an outstanding reputation for solid relationships,
good corporate governance, and a strong liquidity position, and has been at the
forefront of promoting digital payment in the country with over 13 million cards issued
to customers (the first bank to achieve such a milestone in Nigeria). FirstBank has
continued to make significant investments in technology, innovation and
transformation, and its cashless transaction drive has been steadily accentuated with
virtually 23 million active FirstBank customers signed up on digital channels including

the USSD Quick Banking service through the nationally renowned *894# Banking
With over 42 million customer accounts (including digital wallets) spread across
Nigeria, UK and subSaharan Africa, the Bank provides a comprehensive range of
retail and wholesale financial services through more than 820 business offices and
over 233,500 agent locations spread across 772 out of the 774 Local Government
Areas in Nigeria.
In addition to banking solutions and services, FirstBank provides pension fund
custody services in Nigeria through First Pension Custodian Nigeria Limited and
nominee and associated services through First Nominees Nigeria Limited.
FirstBank’s commitment to Diversity is shown in its policies, partnerships and
initiatives such as its employees’ ratio of female to male (about 39%:61%; and 32%
women in management) as well as the FirstBank Women Network, an initiative that
seeks to address the gender gap and increase the participation of women at all
levels within the organisation. In addition, the Bank’s membership of the UN Women
is an affirmation of a deliberate policy that is consistent with UN Women’s Women
Empowerment’s Principles (WEPs) ─ Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and
For six consecutive years (2011 – 2016), FirstBank was named “Most Valuable Bank
Brand in Nigeria” by the globally renowned The Banker Magazine of the Financial
Times Group and “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” eight times in a row, 2011 – 2018, by
the Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards.
In 2022, the Top 100 African Bank rankings released by The Banker Magazine
ranked FirstBank as number one in Nigeria in terms of Overall Performance,
Profitability, Efficiency and Return on Risk. Also in 2022, the Bank received the “Most
Innovative Retail Banking Product in Nigeria (FastTrack ATM)” and “Best Retail Bank
in Nigeria” awards from International Finance Magazine. FirstBank was also
awarded “Best Corporate Banking Western Africa, 2022” and “Best CSR Bank
Western Africa, 2022’’ by Global Banking and Finance Magazine.
Other notable awards in FirstBank coffers include: “Best Bank in Nigeria” by Global
Finance magazine – fifteen times in a row; “Best Private Bank in Nigeria-2021”

awarded by Global Finance magazine; “Best Internet Banking Nigeria” and ‘’Best
CSR Bank Africa’’ by International Business Magazine.
In 2023, FirstBank received notable awards including “Best Private Bank for
Sustainable Investing in Africa 2023” by Global Finance Awards; “Best Sustainable
Bank in Nigeria 2023” by International Investors Awards; “Best Bespoke Banking
Services in Nigeria 2023” by International Investors Awards; “Best Financial
Inclusion Service Provider in Nigeria 2023” by Digital Banker Africa; and “African
Bank of the Year” by African Leadership Magazine; ’’Best Corporate Bank in Nigeria
2023’’ by Euromoney Awards and ‘’Most Innovative Banking Brand – Nigeria 2023’’
by Global Brands Award.
Other laudable feats in 2023 include FirstBank’s international recognitions on major
indices by Euromoney Market Leaders, an independent global assessment of the
leading financial service providers where FirstBank was crowned:
• Market Leader: (tier-1 recognition) in Corporate Banking,
• Market Leader: (tier -1 recognition) in Digital Solutions,
• Highly Regarded: Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR),
• Highly Regarded: Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG),
• Notable: in SME Banking.
Significantly, FirstBank’s Global Credit Rating was A+ with a positive outlook while
ratings by Fitch and Standard & Poor’s were A (nga) and ngBBB+ respectively both
with Stable outlooks as at September 2023. FirstBank maintained the same level of
international credit ratings as the sovereign; a milestone that was achieved in 2022
for the first time since 2015.
Our vision is ‘To be Africa’s Bank of first choice’ and our mission is ‘To remain true to
our name by providing the best financial services possible. This commitment is
anchored on our core values of EPIC – Entrepreneurship, Professionalism,
Innovation and Customer-Centricity. Our strategic ambition is ‘To deliver accelerated
growth in profitability through customer-led innovation and disciplined execution and
our brand promise is always to deliver the ultimate “gold standard” of value and
excellence to position You First in every respect.

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