Across the 54 countries in Africa there are 763 commercial banks. In some of the countries like Nigeria the commercial banks are categorized into 3. They are Regional banks, National banks and Global or international banks. Today we want to take a look at the biggest banks in Africa according to asset Size. But before we go ahead with the listing of the biggest banks in Africa by asst size let us first consider some other important facts that we aid our understanding of the banking operations and distributions. We shall look at he categorization of commercial banks and also the distribution by countries.
Categories of Commercial Banks in Africa
There are three major categories of commercial banks in some countries in Africa. For the purposes of this post we shall use Nigeria as an example. The three categories are:
Standard Bank of South Africa with a total assets worth $172.9 billion as at 2021
South Africa with with 52 commercial banks
There are 763 commercial banks across the 54 African countries
Regional Banks are those banks with the license to operate within a particular region within the country but not able to operate nationally. The minimum paid-up share capital stipulated by Central Bank for Regional Banks authorization is N10 Billion Naira.
Nigeria for example has 3 regional banks and they are:
National banks can operate anywhere within the country but not in other countries. The implication is that they can open branches and receive deposits in any state within the country. The minimum paid-up share capital for a national bank authorization is N25 Billion Naira.
In other to operate a commercial As a case study, Nigeria has 12 national banks and they are:
- Citibank Nigeria Limited
- Ecobank Nigeria
- Heritage Bank Plc
- Keystone Bank Limited
- Polaris Bank Limited
- Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc
- Standard Chartered Bank
- Sterling Bank Plc
- Titan Trust Bank Limited
- Unity Bank Plc
- Wema Bank Plc
- Globus Bank Limited
Global banks can operate anywhere in the world. International Commercial Banking License in Nigeria is N50 Billion.
Here are the 8 global banks in Nigeria:
- Access Bank Plc
- Fidelity Bank Plc
- First City Monument Bank Limited
- First Bank of Nigeria Limited
- Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc
- Union Bank of Nigeria Plc
- United Bank for Africa Plc
- Zenith Bank Plc
Countries with the highest number of Commercial Banks in Africa
Findings by Business Insider Africa show that South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Egypt and Ghana are the top 5 countries with the highest number of banks in Africa.
South Africa is the leading country in terms of number of commercial banks in Africa. It has a total of 52 commercial banks.
Tanzania ranks second in the list of countries with the highest number of commercial banks. As at April 2022 Tanzania has an impressive 51 commercial banks. That is just one bank short of South Africa.
Kenya is the 3rd country with the highest number of commercial banks in Africa with a total of 42
Egypt is 4th with a total of 40 commercial banks.
Ghana occupies the 5th position with 34 commercial banks
Uganda came a distant 6th with 24 banks, 10 less than that of Ghana in 5th position.
Nigeria completes the list of top 7 countries in terms of number of commercial banks.
10 Biggest Banks in Africa by Asset Size
Some of African banks have done creditably well in terms of asset with with Standard Bank leading the pack with over 150 billion dollars worth of asset.
By assets here we are basically referring to all the properties, cash, account receivables and other valuable resources owned by the bank in question.
And according to statista below are the 10 biggest banks in Africa by asset size:
1. Standard Bank
Assets – $172.9 billion
In the list of the biggest bank in Africa by asset size the Standard Bank of South Africa Limited remains number one. The bank now known as Standard Bank was formed in 1862 as a South African subsidiary of the British overseas bank Standard Bank, under the name The Standard Bank of South Africa. The company’s corporate headquarters, Standard Bank Centre, is situated in Johannesburg. Standard Bank has almost monopolized this position having held it for over a decade. Currently, the bank operates in more than 20 countries in Africa and abroad.
2. National Bank of Egypt
Total Assets: $ $124.9 billion
National Bank of Egypt is second in the list of the biggest banks in Africa based on asset size. The bank overtook First Rand to this position’s based on the previous year’s ranking. The was bank founded in Egypt in June 1898, and is the country’s largest bank in terms of assets, deposits, loans, bank-capital, number of total branches, and employees. It has 338 branches within the country. As at 2007, the National Bank of Egypt accounted for 23% of the Egyptian banking system’s total assets, 25% of total deposits and 25% of total loans and advances. NBE also accounts for 74% of the credit card market and 40% of the debit cards in Egypt. This is the bride of Egypt’s banking sector.
3. Absa Bank
Total Assets – $87.8 billion
Absa Bank Limited (ABL), formerly known as Amalgamated Banks of South Africa, is another South African Bank in the list of the biggest banks in Africa by asset size. It is a subsidiary of Absa Group Limited. The bank’s headquarters are located on the 7th Floor of Absa Towers West, 15 Troye Street, Johannesburg, South Africa. Absa Bank Limited is one of the largest commercial banks in South Africa. Absa Group as a whole has presence in 12 countries across the continent and around 42,000 employees.
4. First Rand
Total Assets: $81.9 billion
FirstRand Limited is yet another South African Banks in the list of the biggest banks in Africa. The bank operates in South Africa, certain markets in sub-Saharan Africa such as Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho, Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania and Ghana as well as in the UK, and India. The group has its headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Total Assets: $78.6 billion
Nedbank Group is a financial services group headquartered in Johannesburg South Africa. Nedbank’s primary market is South Africa, but also operates through subsidiaries and banks in Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe, as well as offices in Angola and Kenya. Outside Africa, Nedbank has offices to provide international financial services for Africa-based clients in Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates. In 2014, Nedbank acquired an associate stake of 20% in Ecobank. The Nedbank-Ecobank Alliance is the largest banking network in Africa, with more than 2,000 branches in 39 countries.
6. Attijariwafa Bank
Total Assets: $63.8 billion
Attijariwafa Bank is a Moroccan multinational commercial bank and financial services company founded and based in Rabat, Morocco. It is the top in Morocco and exists as part of king Mohammed VI’s holding company the SNI. The bank maintains offices in Paris, Brussels, Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, Shanghai, The Netherlands, Tunisia, Senegal, Ghana, Mauritania and Mali.
7. Banque Misr
Total Assets: $57.9 billion
Banque Misr is an Egyptian bank founded in 1920 and nationalized by the government of the United Arab Republic in 1960. The bank has branch offices in all of Egypt’s governorates, and currency exchange and work permit offices for foreign workers in Egypt.
8. Banque Populaire
Total Assets: $$49.9 billion
La Banque Centrale Populaire is a major bank in Morocco that as of 2012, had 27.9% market share of customer deposits in the country. The bank maintains overseas offices in Germany, England, Canada, Spain, France, Gibraltar, Netherlands and Belgium.
Total Assets: $37.3 billion
The Moroccan Bank of Foreign Commerce, or BMCE Bank is a large commercial bank in Morocco that operates over 697 branches in Morocco alone, and 560 branches in the rest of the african continent. BMCE has offices in international Country in Europe, Asia, France, Spain, United Kingdom, China, Italy, Germany, UAE, Belgium, Canada and Netherlands
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Total Assets: $37.3 billion
Investec is an international banking and wealth management group. It provides a range of financial products and services to a client base in Europe, Southern Africa, and Asia-Pacific. Investec employs approximately 8,300 people worldwide and operates primarily in South Africa, the United Kingdom, Australia and Ireland. It also has banking operations in Switzerland, Mauritius, Guernsey, Hong Kong, India, Jersey, and the United States.
As can be seen in the image above, the top 10 biggest banks in Africa are all from just three countries. South Africa leads with 50% of the topmost banks. And on the other hand Morocco and Egypt have 30 and 20% respectively.