As COVID shut down businesses in 2020, only four Nigerian banks made more money online


Most Nigerian banks ironically lost e-commerce revenue in 2020 after lockdowns induced by the coronavirus crisis pushed more people online, with an increase in online payments and transfers, with just four of 12 banks examined registering an increase in e-commerce revenues.

Only Access, UBA, First Bank and Fidelity Bank made money that year compared to 2019. Two of the five biggest – Trust bank guarantee and Zenith Bank – lost big, Zenith losing 37% and GTB losing 25% of their e-business income.

Together, the 12 banks recorded more e-commerce revenue in 2020 than the previous year.


E-commerce is experiencing an unprecedented boom in Nigeria, made possible by sustained consumption, a dynamic young population (one of the largest in the world) and a smartphone revolution that seems to erase all social divides: the educated and the the ignorant, the rich and the poor, the young and the old, the men and the women.

Now at $ 12 billion, the market could reach $ 75 billion in 2025, according to an International Trade Administration forecast, highlighting how digitization can radically transform banking and other payment processes in just a few years.

As the decade drew to a close in 2020, the boom took a new turn on a scale so vast that the volume and value of electronic banking transactions initiated by customers through payment channels surpassed the previous year and reached the highest peak since the Nigeria Interbank Settlements Database. began officially recording in 2017.

Amid the pandemic, governments imposed closures and other measures prohibiting contact. But COVID-19 has become a positive disruptive force that has revolutionized where, when and how people conduct day-to-day transactions, which increasingly use various DIY modes on electronic channels.

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With the growth rates of electronic payment transaction volumes and values ​​for 2020 far exceeding those of previous years across most channels and the first data for 2021 showing even a more bullish trend thanks to volume and value levels. higher from January to May, there is no doubt that e-banking has reached its breakthrough moment.

Nigerians conducted electronic transactions in just four payment categories (POS, E-Bills Pay, NIP and ACH) totaling 178 trillion naira in 2020 alone, half more than the 119 trillion naira reported. the previous year, according to the Nigerian interbank regulation. System (NIBSS), which manages the banking sector payments database in Africa’s largest economy.

And that’s not to mention transactions like mobile money transactions, online payments, ATM transactions, and others that are not strictly electronic in nature.

Equally impressive, if not more, has been the progress in volume, with the scale of transactions executed during the year, 77% higher than in 2019 at 3.734 billion.

But perhaps more significant than the numbers are the far-reaching benefits of this rapid shift from a traditional bank to a more digital settlement system, allowing individuals to establish transactions directly for themselves or for others. , will have for banks and their customers, businesses and the economy.

E-banking is imposing a new order that will reduce frequentation at bank service points and reduce traffic in banking halls beyond any measure, helping to alleviate the pressure on staff and operations, and of course to lower the costs.

For example, mobile remittances, clearly more popular among young people due to their deeper obsession with digital services than others, increased 222% to 132.979 million, claiming greater and consistent adoption of electronic products. , when the three previous years are taken into account. In terms of value, mobile remittances nearly tripled during the year, reaching 3.050 billion naira.

Bank profits

Individually, most Nigerian banks have lost e-commerce related income. However, they earned Naira 217.869 billion between them in 2020, which compares to Naira 217.645 billion in 2019. Even though the margin was narrow, the 2020 figure highlights the resilience of lenders to prepare for reforms in the government. sector likely to adversely affect income. .

In January, the Central Bank of Nigeria implemented a rate reduction on e-banking transaction fees for different ranges of transaction values. But that could not prevent a few banks from improving the figures of the previous year.

Interestingly, out of the four banks that posted e-commerce revenue growth from all Nigerian-listed commercial banks (except Ecobank Transnational Incorporated), three belong to the Big 5 banks commonly referred to as FUGAZ after the first letters of their name.

It not only highlights the earning power of Nigeria’s largest banks per asset, but also how huge that power is to enable these three of the 12 banks tracked by PREMIUM TIMES, to ensure that e-commerce revenues of the whole group does not register a drop in a year in which the economy has hit its lowest level in four years and entered a recession.


Banks Ecommerce Income (2020) Ecommerce Income (2019)
GTB N11.771bn N15.662 billion
Access (plus product income from the card) 56.093 billion naira N36.041bn
UBA N44.248 billion 38.766 billion naira
FBN Holdings 48.680 billion naira N48.033 billion
Zenith 27.078 billion naira N42.511 billion
Stanbic IBTC Holdings N2.737 billion N3.394 billion
union N7.041 billion N7.689 billion
FCMB N8.612 billion N11.040 billion
Sterling 4.975 billion naira N6.785 billion
loyalty 1.384 billion naira 1.024 billion naira
Unity N2.643 billion N2.941 billion
Wema N2.607 billion N3.759 billion
Total N217.869 billion N217.645 billion

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