EXCLUSIVE: Best performing Nigerian banks in 2022 judging by their numbers 

The Nigerian banking industry remained resilient in the 2022 financial year, despite economic headwinds and the impact of the restructured debt by the Ghanaian government on their financial statements. 

Twelve of the major Deposit Money Banks listed on the Nigerian Exchange posted an aggregate profit after tax of N1.07 trillion in 2022, representing a 6.4% increase when compared to N1.01 trillion recorded in the previous year. 

The significance of the banking industry in Nigeria cannot be overstated due to its pivotal role in allocating capital from surplus regions or sectors to limited sectors through the provision of credit facilities to the real sector. 

How the sector performed in 2022 

The Nigerian banking industry grew by 17.24% in real terms in 2022, representing the fastest growth recorded in 10 years.

The only time the banking industry recorded such fast-paced growth was in 2012 when it grew by 29.4% in real terms.  

  • Additionally, the Nigerian banking industry is one of the major growth drivers of the Nigerian economy, contributing 3% to the aggregate GDP with a nominal value of N6.05 trillion (2022 estimate).  
  • The sector plays host to some of the biggest companies listed on the Nigerian equities market, with the likes of Zenith Bank. GT Bank and Stanbic IBTC are part of the elite list of companies on the NGX known as NGX 30. 
  • According to an analysis by Nairalytics, five of the most profitable Nigerian quoted companies in 2022 were commercial banks while two of the 10 most valuable companies in the country are also banks. 
  • However, despite the impressive GDP growth, the sector only managed to grow by 2.81% in the stock market in the review year. 

Meanwhile, the increased level of competition in the Nigerian banking industry has helped spur innovation, through service delivery as well as improvement in their top and bottom lines respectively.

In light of this, Nairametrics presents a ranking of the best-performing Nigerian commercial banks listed on the NGX in 2022. 

Leading Banks by Profits After Tax (PAT) growth 

The twelve banks posted an aggregate profit after tax of N1.07 trillion in 2022, a 6.4% increase compared to N1.01 trillion recorded in the previous year. The banks were able to increase their margin despite economic challenges affecting most business entities in the country. 

Union Bank recorded the highest gain (growth) in terms of year-on-year growth with a 54.1% increase to N29.8 billion, followed by FCMB with 48.8% to N31.1 billion. However, Unity Bank saw its profit after tax decline by 57.5% to N3.17 billion to claim the bottom position.

Meanwhile, Zenith Bank recorded the highest post-tax profit of N223.9 billion, followed by UBA and GT Bank with a net profit of N170.33 billion and N169.2 billion respectively. 

  • First position – Union Bank (+54.1%) 
  • Second position – FCMB (+48.8%) 
  • Third position – UBA (+43.5%) 
  • Fourth position – Stanbic IBTC (+41.9%) 
  • Fifth position – Fidelity Bank (+32.6%) 

Upshot: Net profit serves as a crucial indicator for assessing a company’s performance, reflecting its operational profitability. The declared net profit directly influences shareholder payouts by banks, thereby establishing it as a pivotal performance metric considered by stakeholders. 

Leading Banks by Asset Growth 

The aggregate asset value of the twelve banks under consideration increased by a whopping 22.6% from N58.55 trillion recorded as of the end of 2021 to N71.78 trillion by December 2022. This is largely driven by an increase in loans to customers by the banks. 

Zenith Bank recorded the highest growth in terms of total assets with a 30% increase, followed by Access Holdings with 27.8%. On the flip side, Unity Bank recorded a 5.1% decline in its asset value in the period under review. 

It is worth noting that in terms of asset value, Access Holdings boasts as the largest banking firm in Nigeria with N14.99 trillion, followed by Zenith Bank and UBA with N12.29 trillion and N10.86 trillion respectively. 

  • First position – Zenith Bank (+30%) 
  • Second position – Access Holding (+27.8%) 
  • Third position – UBA (+27.1%) 
  • Fourth position – Wema Bank (+22.7%) 
  • Fifth position – Fidelity Bank (+21.6%) 

Upshot: Asset growth is a crucial indicator in assessing a bank’s performance. An increasing asset base shows that the bank has been successful in securing new loans and deposits, which boosts interest revenue. Monitoring asset growth is therefore essential to determining a bank’s success and sustainability since it offers insightful data on the general health and performance of the bank. 

Leading Banks by Change in Returns on Average Equity (ROAE) 

The analysis by Nairalytics revealed that 8 of the twelve banks improved on their ROAE in the period under review, while four of them recorded a decline compared to 2021.

Specifically, Stanbic IBTC recorded the highest improvement at 5.5% points from 15.1% to 20.6%. 

Stanbic IBTC was followed by UBA with an improvement of 4.2% points to land at 19.7% in 2022 compared to 15.5% recorded in the previous year.

However, Access Holdings recorded the highest decline of 4.4% to stand at 13.4% in the review year. 

In terms of the most profitable bank in 2022 based on ROAE, Stanbic IBTC tops the list with 20.6%, followed by UBA with 19.7%. 

  • First position – Stanbic IBTC (+5.5%) 
  • Second position – UBA (+4.2%) 
  • Third position – Union Bank (+3.3%) 
  • Fourth position – FCMB (+3.1%) 
  • Fifth position – Fidelity Bank (+2.6%) 

Upshot: ROAE is a key metric that evaluates the profitability and efficiency of a bank in generating returns for its shareholders.

It measures the bank’s ability to generate profits from the capital invested by its owners.  

A higher ROAE indicates that the bank is utilizing its equity effectively to generate income and maximize shareholder value. 

Leading Banks by Growth in Customer Deposit 

The banks recorded a 25% increase in customer deposits in 2022, closing the year at N47.74 trillion from N38.18 trillion recorded at the end of the prior year.  

Zenith Bank recorded the highest growth in terms of customer deposits, with a staggering increase of 38.7% year over year to N8.97 trillion, followed by Access Holdings with a 33% growth rate to N9.25 trillion, while Unity Bank recorded the least growth with 1.6% to N327.4 billion. 

Access Bank boasts of the highest customer deposits amongst the listed banks, accounting for 19.4% of the total deposits in the books of the twelve banks. 

  • First position – Zenith Bank (+38.7%) 
  • Second position – Access Holdings (+33%) 
  • Third position – Fidelity Bank (+28%) 
  • Fourth position – Wema Bank (+25.7%) 
  • Fifth position – FCMB (+25.1%) 

Upshot: Customer deposits are an important metric for banks to track as they serve as a fundamental source of funding for the bank’s lending activities and other operations.

Monitoring customer deposits provides valuable insights into the bank’s liquidity position and its ability to meet the financial needs of its customers.  

Leading Banks by Growth in Customer Loans 

The twelve banks under consideration grew their loan books by 20% from N20.79 trillion recorded as of the end of 2021 to N24.96 trillion in 2022.

This is impressive considering the tight monetary policy adopted by the CBN in the review year, which saw the benchmark interest rate increase from 11.5% to 16.5% by the end of the year. 

FBN Holdings recorded the highest loan book increase, with 31.5% growth to N3.79 trillion, closely followed by Stanbic IBTC with an increase of 30.8% to N1.2 trillion, while Sterling Bank recorded the lowest increase of 3.6% to N737.7 billion in the review year. 

In terms of loan size, Access Holdings has the highest customer loans of N5.1 trillion while Unity Bank has the lowest loan book of N289.4 billion. 

  • First position – FBN Holdings (+31.5%) 
  • Second position – Stanbic IBTC (+30.8%) 
  • Third position – Fidelity Bank (+27.6%) 
  • Fourth position – Wema Bank (+24.5%) 
  • Fifth position – Access Holdings (+22.6%) 

Upshot: Customer loans serve as a primary source of revenue for the bank and reflect its lending activities. Monitoring customer loans provides insights into the bank’s ability to attract borrowers, manage credit risk, and generate interest income.  

Leading Banks by changes in Cost-to-Income ratio 

Stanbic IBTC recorded the highest decline in terms of cost-to-income ratio, indicating more efficient management of its expense line in relation to generated revenue.

Specifically, the holding company saw its cost-to-income ratio decrease from 62.3% recorded in 2021 to 53.9% in 2022, representing an 8.4% points decrease. 

Union Bank followed in the same vein, with a 6.9% points decrease to stand at 72.5%, while Unity Bank recorded an increase of 6.87% points in its cost-to-income ratio to a whopping 95.13% in 2022. 

  • First position – Stanbic IBTC (-8.4%) 
  • Second position – Union Bank (-6.9%) 
  • Third position – FCMB (-6.9%) 
  • Fourth position – UBA (-3.6%) 
  • Fifth position – Access Holdings (-0.9%) 

Upshot: The cost-to-income ratio is a vital metric for evaluating the operating efficiency of a bank. It measures the efficiency of a bank’s operations by comparing its operating expenses to its operating income.

A lower ratio indicates better cost management and higher profitability, as it signifies that a smaller portion of the bank’s income is being consumed by operating expenses. 

Leading Banks by Changes in Capital Adequacy Ratio 

UBA led the list of banks with the highest increase in their Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) with a 3.4% increase to stand at 28.3% in 2022.

GT Bank followed with an increase of 0.28%, while Stanbic IBTC recorded a 0.1% increase to close the year at 21.2%. 

Data from the research from Nairalytics showed that only three banks improved their capital adequacy ratio in 2022 compared to the previous year, two maintained the status quo, while seven of the listed banks saw their CAR decline. 

  • First position – UBA (+3.4%) 
  • Second position – GTCo (+0.28%) 
  • Third position – Stanbic IBTC (+0.1%) 
  • Fourth position – FCMB (0%) 
  • Fifth position – Unity Bank (0%) 

Upshot: The capital adequacy ratio measures the bank’s financial strength and ability to absorb potential losses.

A higher ratio indicates a stronger capital base, which enhances the bank’s resilience and ability to support its operations and absorb unexpected losses. 

Leading Banks by Changes in Non-performing Loans Ratio 

FBN Holdings led the list of commercial banks in 2022 in terms of their ability to reduce non-performing loans in proportion to their total loan books.

The holding company reduced its NPL ratio from 6.1% in 2021 to 4.3% in 2022. 

Access Holding followed with a 0.9% reduction from 4% in 2021 to 3.1% in the review year. Unity Bank, on the other hand, recorded an increase in its NPL ratio to stand at 3.2% in 2022 from 0.04% in the previous year. 

  • First position – UBA (+3.4%) 
  • Second position – GTCo (+0.28%) 
  • Third position – Stanbic IBTC (+0.1%) 
  • Fourth position – FCMB (0%) 
  • Fifth position – Unity Bank (0%) 

Upshot: The Non-Performing Loans (NPL) ratio is a crucial metric to track for banks. It measures the proportion of loans that are in default or at risk of default.

A lower NPL ratio indicates a healthier loan portfolio and demonstrates the bank’s ability to minimize credit losses. 


  • The final ranking allocated varying weights based on the Nairmetrics Weighted Index (NWI) to each of the metrics considered in this analysis, which positioned UBA as the best-performing bank in 2022 with a weighted average of 3.65 points. 
  • The company ranked first in one category, second in one, third in two, fourth in two, sixth and seventh position in one category each. 
  • Stanbic IBTC followed with a composite score of 4.5 points, ranking first in two categories, second in one category, and third in one category. FCMB ranked third with an aggregate index point of 5.2. 
  • Data were sourced from the various audited accounts and investor presentations publicly released by the banks. 
  • Ecobank Transnational Incorporated was not included in the study due to the size of its operation in Nigeria, while Jaiz Bank was exempted as a result of the unavailability of complete and verifiable data. 

Note: The lower the score of the bank, the better the performance  

About our NWI: Nairametrics weights PAT growth, ROAE growth, CIR performance, and NPL ratio change by 15% each while the other metrics have 10% weighting.