The Nigerian banking industry is undergoing substantial restructuring aimed at improving operations, product offerings, and investment returns. As part of this effort, some banks have recently adopted subtle name changes to reflect their new directions. For example, First Bank, Sterling Bank, and Zenith Bank have all announced changes to their names. In addition to these changes, the banks are also taking steps to strengthen their leadership positions by revamping their branding and operational structures.
Nigerian banks seek new frontiers and new profits
In March, Zenith Bank, one of Nigeria’s top banks, announced that it would be rebranding as a Holding Company named Zenith Holding Co. The decision was made to enhance the bank’s competitiveness and improve its service delivery to customers.
Zenith Bank obtained preliminary approval from the Central Bank of Nigeria to restructure its operations as a financial holding company. As part of this restructuring, the bank intends to change its organizational structure by creating a banking subsidiary and other subsidiaries in the financial services sector.
In a statement released on Friday, March 3, 2023, and submitted to the Nigerian Exchange, the Company Secretary, Michael Otu, confirmed the bank’s plans to implement these changes.
Sterling Bank Reorganizes into Holding Company
Sterling Bank Plc has made a significant move in its ongoing transformation from a financial institution to a holding company. The bank announced in April that it had completed a crucial step in this process by delisting, transferring, and relisting all shares to the Sterling Financial Holding Company on the floor of the Nigerian Exchange.
The relisting is a significant development in the bank’s ongoing transition, which was unanimously approved by its shareholders. The move follows the Central Bank of Nigeria’s approval in principle for Sterling Bank to operate as a holding company.
The bank will become a non-operating financial holding firm, allowing it to diversify its investment portfolio and expand its presence in the financial markets. Upon completion of the transition, Sterling Holdings Company will begin operations with two banking subsidiaries: one conventional commercial bank and the other, Alternative Bank Limited, as a non-interest bank.
First Bank Changes Name for African Subsidiaries
In the most recent development, First Bank, Nigeria’s oldest bank, has announced a corporate name change for its African subsidiaries. According to a statement by the bank, the name change aligns with the parent brand’s subsidiaries and leverages the strong heritage and brand equity built by FirstBank Nigeria in its 129 years of existence and industry leadership.
The name change affects the bank’s operations in several African countries where it has a presence. The first set of subsidiaries affected by the name alignment are FBNBank UK, FBNBank Sierra Leone, FBNBank Gambia, and FBNBank DRC, which will now be addressed as FirstBank UK, FirstBank Sierra Leone, FirstBank Gambia, and FirstBank DRC, respectively.
Although the name changes do not affect the banks’ core operations and responsibilities, they will affect public perceptions and customers’ acceptance. The banks’ rebranding and repositioning efforts follow similar moves made by other banks in Nigeria