Top 7 favourite Nigerian banks

This post should have been titled the best and worst Nigerian banks, but didn't want to increase  market for some and spoil for others, afterall am not getting paid for doing either. But surely, whatever deserves commendation deserves to be applauded and the not so commendable flaws should be pointed out. The banks are judged based on overall experience of their customers experiences including mine and friends, so  here are my top Nigerian banks:
Nigerian banks
Nigerian banks

1.  GTB (Guaranty trust bank Plc ): 

This bank comfortably sits on top, talk of structure,banking hall ambience, adverts, sensational music you hear when you pass through her doors, consistency, customer support, Zero balance savings, no hidden charges , 24/7 call support, instant replacement of retracted cash,no frequent robbery attacks despite not fencing their banks, Superb atm and online service, tokens, ease of transaction in topping up recharge credit, transferring funds and mobile banking .For every 100 Nigerians you ask, he/she will tell you that GTB is the most supportive  and friendliest bank.  Whoever makes their management decisions or roll out their bank policies sure knows what they are doing.

 The only flaw they have is that in recent times, their customer service is dropping rapidly, Thankfully I do most transactions online but anytime I have to go to a branch centre, I  dread the confrontation with their staff, most times hostility oozes out of  them, I use to put it down to pressure and stress of dealing with many customers in a day (GTB has the longest queues in the banking halls, maybe it is because most of the customers are savings account holders) but that is not a reasonable excuse . The customer service staff  are superb, it is the ones at the counter who are the headache, they tend to snap, bristle and take umbrage at the slightest opportunity usually acting like they are reluctant in doing you a favour when its actually a service you are paying for.Thrice I have considered closing my account  but there is no better alternative. So I  just try as much as possible to avoid going to banking halls except it is a fatal emergency. All in all GTB is the safest haven for savings account holders, it is the only Nigerian bank likely to give interest on savings, though am not convinced she does (forget that I=PRT logic you were taught in secondary schools, they don't really apply to Nigerian banks)

2. Zenith Bank Plc : 

This used to  be the rich men's bank, previously there used to be fund limits in opening and maintaining a banking relationship with Zenith but I believe her current management is making its policies more encompassing  of all income grades now. You can imagine my joy when Nysc mandated Zenith to open an allowance account for me , otherwise I might have been a Zenith customer years later or not all.  The first thing that attracted me to the bank was the staff's good dress sense, comportment and confidence. Also,when other banks were laying off staff right, left and center many years ago in the  name of bank consolidation and merger, Zenith tried to keep their staff by asking them to take pay cuts instead of outright sack though most of their top brass had to go.  Their strengths also include: neat and mirrored banking halls, little or no queues, but they have excess charges even if you doing intra bank transfers. Ideal for only current account holders.

3. Diamond Bank Plc : 

DB started out gradually but gained new grounds and expanded as she grew, she has loyal customers who have remained consistent over the years. The marketing storms and customer relation trainings  contributed to my business and entrepreneurship growth as Diamond bank was my primary place of assignment during Nysc, I had good bosses who were ready to share knowledge and build character too whether you become eventually retained or not. Diamond bank is a strong bank to reckon with and it is becoming  increasingly popular in Nigeria. Asides the major flaw of poor customer service  and slow operation processing times , an example is one time a cashier attended to 5 customers only in 2 hours, another time I  waited patiently for about 20 minutes for a customer service staff  who was receiving a  personal call to attend to me as she is the only one manning the post.  But truth be told, DB has amazing packages and events to reward customers, Diamond woman, Diamond savings extra, Car purchase and home mortgages.  She is also a major contributor to artistes endorsements, her biggest being Bovi (Nigerian comedian).

4. Ecobank Nigeria Plc : 

This is a bank that has been able to combine its strengths of having a presence in major west African cities and the merger with Oceanic bank (Oceanic bank used to be my  favorite and the first  bank I independently opened on my own, more so Cecelia Ibru is my foremost business mentor, that woman was a trailblazer).  Ecobank banking halls are so serene and the staff go about efficiently, one wonders if they are on an automaton.  Financial transaction processing is smooth and she has great accounts for cooperatives, joint and welfare societies.

5. Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Ltd:

 This is the ideal bank for business men and companies, importers and exporters , whose business transactions transcends beyond Nigerian borders to foreign lands especially Asian countries. The bank raises Form M, shipping documents, letter of introduction and gives  credit facility but you must have  a reliable and consistent banking relation for a specified  period of time before you can access these additional benefits. It is one of the few banks recognised worldwide for international business.

6. First Bank of Nigeria Plc : 

FBN is Nigeria's oldest bank and the most unrelenting, its capacity and verve in competing with the newer generation banks is astonishing. She has been able to keep up to times and stay up to date, combining the flair for old with the zeal for the new and staying strong like a solid rock that so many waters cannot move. She also has one of the best saving accounts program , am sure thats where many of her  monies comes from,old monies that keeps generating interests, forgotten savings, uncollected pensions and neglected investments.  Though she is yet to catch up with the internet age, it is one of the few banks that still insists on withdrawal booklets, also one of my friends complained that funds disappears without no explanation from her account and takes several threats and  weeks for the error to be corrected.

7. United Bank For Africa Plc (UBA): 

 And my worst bank award will definitely be won by United Bank For Africa Plc (UBA) hands down. Its supposed to be a favourites list  (But excuse this one please) Unfortunately this bank  happens to be the worst bank in Nigeria , at least so says everyone including me,  we all have had an unmemorable experience with UBA and it doesn't seem the bank has gotten better over times. UBA should have been a favorite because it has been around a long time, ironically it has good programs but the execution is poor making customers suffer in return, I hope the bank regains its old image and resturtures its band to everyone's satisfaction.  
Kudos to all their loyal customers , am sure there must still be a benefit they are enjoying that I am not aware of  because  I have been  forced to close my Uba account ever since there was a N105 deduction for every withdrawal. 

As of August 2015 there are 22 Nigerian banks, including those listed above ,the others include:

8. Citibank Nigeria Limited
9. Enterprise Bank
10. Fidelity Bank Plc
11. First City Monument Bank Plc
12. Heritage Banking Company Ltd.
13. Key Stone Bank
14. MainStreet Bank
15. Skye Bank Plc
16. Stanbic IBTC Bank Ltd.
17. Sterling Bank Plc
18. Access Bank Plc
20. Union Bank of Nigeria Plc
21. Unity Bank Plc
22. Wema Bank Plc

With some bank  names on this list, you may be busy asking "Say What, You mean this bank is still in operation? " because it is  either silent, ineffective or lost in the glory of others ,you wonder if it has been merged with other banks.
My advice: If you are a small scale  business and thinking of getting a loan less than a Million naira (N 1M), don't consider any of these commercial banks, think Microfinance bank instead, their repayment schedule is more suited to yours.

The opinions stated in this review are mine  and others as deduced from endless conversations with friends, colleagues and other customers, still they do not represent the general view of the Nigerian populace. If am right or right, you can also express your views below.

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