The women bankers who took leadership in 2021, and what 2022 has in store for them


Until recent years, seeing women running Nigerian banks was quite rare. However, the rise of businesswomen in Africa has seen more and more women reach the peak of their banking careers, and even reach the top position in managerial and even non-managerial positions.

Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, CEO, Fidelity Bank

Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe opened the year with her appointment as Managing Director and CEO of Fidelity Bank on January 1, 2021. It would be the first time the bank has had a female MD in nearly 35 years, and Onyeali -Ikpe got the job after spending about five years in the bank.

Onyeali-Ikpe has sufficient training in management and management of global institutions, and she was already overseeing banking activities in the six states that make up the southwest region, including Lagos state.

Upon taking office on January 1, 2021, Onyeali-Ikpe announced plans to raise the bank to premier status by 2025 through an aggressive brand refresh exercise. There were several campaigns during the year, including the launch of a fifth season of its savings rewards program labeled Get Alert in Millions (GAIM) Season 5 where it is said to distribute over 125 million naira to lucky customers.

During the year, the bank successfully completed its Eurobond exercise where it raised $ 400 million in international capital markets. Fidelity Bank also won the ‘Fastest Growing Bank’ and ‘MSME and Entrepreneurship Corporate Bank of the Year’ award at the Banks & Other Financial Institutions 2021 Business Day. Also the Bafi prices and the 2020 Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) service price for the highest disbursement at the locations targeted by DBN.

Nor can we ignore the financial results of the nine months of 2021 when the bank posted a 31.4% growth in profits to the tune of 28.1 billion naira. The year 2022 will be a year for Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe to continue its efforts to make the bank a level 1 bank.

Yemisi Edun, MD / CEO, FCMB

Yemisi Edun was appointed head of the bank after a progressive career spanning more than 34 years, including 20 at FCMB. A career that began with auditing corporate finance files from financial institutions with Akintola Williams Deloitte, evolved into basic banking about two decades ago. And now Edun will go all out with FCMB.

Unaudited results for the nine-month period ended September 2021 show overall growth in gross income, loans and advances, non-interest income and total assets. However, this growth was offset by higher operating expenses, lower net interest income and after-tax profit.

However, on a quarterly basis, the group recorded a 57% increase in net income to N6.2 billion from N4 billion recorded in the second quarter of 2021, showing that there may be more. improvements to come in subsequent reports.

Anchoria Asset Management appoints new directors
Hajia Halima Buba

Halima Buba, Managing Director, SunTrust Bank

Halima Buba has also been appointed CEO of SunTrust Bank. This appointment will allow him to enter banking, his banking experience of more than two decades acquired with several banks such as Allstates Trust Bank, Zenith Bank, Inland Bank Plc, Oceanic Bank Plc and Ecobank Nigeria Limited.

Although the commercial bank was licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria in 2001 under the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA), it does not appear to have achieved many milestones over the years. They seem to have done a bit of everything from commercial banking to mortgages and at one point even described as “Nigeria’s premier fintech bank”.

Buba has her work cut out for her, and she will at least have to shed light on the bank and position it correctly on the “bank card”.

Miriam Olusanya, CEO, GTBank

Also this year, Guaranty Trust Bank, Nigeria Plc obtained its first female MD after more than 3 decades. After working for around 23 years with GT Bank, Miriam Olusanya succeeded Segun Agbaje, the now retired CEO. Although she has been a pharmacist since her first degree, Olusanya holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Liverpool and has been working for GT Bank since 1998 as an executive trainee.

GT Bank prides itself on being one of the most profitable banks, but not the biggest, and indeed the bank has maintained impressive records over the years with a network and customer base that gives it an edge. competitive. The 2021 semi-annual report shows the resilience of banks with a clear growth in fees, from 26.5 billion naira in the first half of 2020 to 38.3 billion naira in the first half of 2021.

Olusanya has a bigger hurdle to overcome as it falls to him to ensure that the records only increase.

Bukola Smith, MD, FSDH Merchant Bank

In April, Bukola Smith took over from Hamda Ambah as CEO of the investment bank FSDH, a subsidiary of the FSDH group. Smith has 28 years of experience in the banking industry, with a membership in top institutes in the financial industry.

As a subsidiary, FSDH Merchant is not a regular name in the news, but we do know that during the year FMDQ Securities Exchange Limited approved the bank’s commercial paper series and issued it. accepted for listing on its platform. The series includes 2.28 billion naira series 3, 1.79 billion naira series 4 and 15.53 billion naira series 5 issued under the 40 billion naira commercial paper issuance program of the stock market.

Kafilat Araoye, Managing Director / Managing Director, Lotus Bank

From holding the fort of former CEO of Lotus Bank, Kafilat Araoye was confirmed CEO of Lotus Bank when the bank finally received an interest-free banking license from the Central Bank of Nigeria in July 2021, making it the most recent and the third without interest. bank in Nigeria. The bank began operations in September and has a physical presence in four locations in Lagos State.

Essentially, Araoye must bring Lotus Bank on the path already traced by Jaiz Bank and gain its presence in the banking landscape in Nigeria.

Bola Adesola, Chairman of the Board of Ecobank Nigeria

On the non-executive side, Bola Adesola became the first female chairperson of the board of directors of Ecobank Nigeria Ltd, succeeding Mr. John Aboh. Adesola is also a seasoned banker, having retired from Standard Chartered Bank where she was Senior Vice President for Africa; Chairman of the Board of Directors of Standard Chartered Bank Mauritius and Director of Standard Chartered, Ghana. She was also Managing Director / Managing Director of Standard Chartered Nigeria and West Africa for eight years, overseeing the bank’s West African subsidiaries including Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Sierra Leone and Cameroon.

It has indeed been a year of many firsts for women in Nigerian banking, but not an easy trip as they clearly won’t just sit and sip tea in air-conditioned offices. They have mountains to cross in 2022.


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