UBA and Access Bank top the chart as Nigerian banks generate N96.483bn e-business revenue

Godfrey Elimian
UBA, Access bank led banking industry in e-business income in Q1
UBA, Access bank led banking industry in e-business income in Q1

Nigeria’s top commercial banks, United Bank of Africa (UBA) and Access Holdings top the list of banks in e-business revenue in the Q1 of 2023. Cumulatively, Nigeria’s banking sector generated N96.483 billion in e-business revenue in Q1 2023, a 23.84% rise over the prior quarter.

According to a Nairametrics report, UBA generated N20.929 billion in revenues attributed to its e-business, while Access Holdings earned N20.664 billion. Zenith Bank Plc, FirstBank Nigeria Limited, and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc complete the top 5 with an e-business revenue of N12.079 billion, N17.876 billion and N11.425 billion respectively.

The 23.84% rise in total revenue demonstrates the huge and vital impact that fintech has played in boosting the sector’s performance, inclusivity, and commerciality. The recent currency shortage brought on by the naira redesign policy may also have been responsible for the increase in revenue, which led to a boom in e-banking services.

In the first quarter of the year, Nigerians were left with little or no choice but to turn to fintech solutions and channels, particularly, the reliable ones to conduct their daily transactions which would have been done in cash instead. This was in the wake of the cash crunch that accompanied the CBN’s Naira redesign policy.

It is therefore no surprise that commercial banks that have successfully integrated technology into their service offering benefitted from this surge in online banking.

UBA and Access Bank top the chart as Nigerian banks generate N96.483bn e-business revenue

However, despite creating a surge, which created an opportunity for increased e-banking services, the naira redesign policy also left a devastating mark and an obvious truth for Nigerians to see: The banking industry desperately needs to catch up with technology for it to efficiently cater to the economic demands.

However, the growth in e-business income could mean that banks are adapting to the changing needs of customers and are well-positioned to benefit from the growth of the digital economy. 

E-business income includes revenue from electronic channels, card products, and related services. These channels include mobile applications, USSD channels, automated teller machines (ATMs), agency banking, internet banking, and point of sales (POS) payments. 

Read also: African Fintech is projected to generate $65 billion with a 32% CAGR by 2030, but certain issues must be addressed

Nigeria’s growing need for Fintech

Fintechs are platforms or companies that employ technology into solving and providing financial services that are accessible, available and affordable to everybody, including those who naturally are excludable based on environmental and economic factors.

These companies, or perhaps, platforms can reach people who were previously unbanked or underbanked by providing services that can be accessed through mobile phones, right from their comfort. This solves a problem that has become a mantra globally: Financial inclusion.

In 2019, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, warned that tech companies that utilize big data and AI would disrupt the financial landscape. Fast-forward to 2023, an overwhelming surge of financial technology (FINTECH) driven services has continued to gain momentum in the financial sectors of the Nigerian and global economy.

Statistics indicate that between 2018 and 2021, Fintech start-ups increased from 12,131 to 26,346. In Nigeria, between 2019 and 2021, a fintech provider recorded an increase from 8,000 to 50,000 agents. This is notwithstanding the continual deployment of technology and innovation to the traditional banking system in Nigeria to enhance financial service delivery.

Recent research conducted by Technext revealed that fintech app installation saw an impressive growth of 160% from the numbers in the second quarter of 2020. A breakdown showed that loan apps were the highest at 43.3%. Financial services followed at 35.6% while investment apps saw just 20.3% growth.

Read also: 84.5% of Nigerians negatively affected by CBN’s Naira redesign policy, with youths bearing the brunt- SBM report

Why commercial banks should catch up with technology

Among the several factors that have contributed to the rise of fintech in the country is a lack of trust in conventional banking institutions to deliver services that are all-inclusive and efficient. Recently, the naira scarcity also showed why Nigeria and Nigerians needed more fintech platforms to enjoy financial services like the rest of the world. The unexpected surge in digital banking overwhelmed many banks, leading to unreliable and irregular service delivery.

To make up for this shortcoming emanating from banks, many individuals and business owners turned to using FINTECH-enabled services to access financial services as they proved to be more efficient and reliable. For example, Moniepoint and O-pay became household names, especially among petty traders and informal business owners that comprise Nigeria’s informal economy. 

If there is anything the current numbers have shown, it is that commercial and conventional banking institutions need to hurriedly catch up in terms of integrating technology into their services. This successfully creates a win-win situation for the industry, as commercial banks will become even more profitable while also meeting the needs and demands of their customers through efficient service delivery and financial inclusivity to unbanked Nigerians.


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