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First Bank of Nigeria Limited (“FirstBank”), established in 1894, is the premier Bank in West Africa, Nigeria’s number one bank brand and the leading financial services solutions provider in Nigeria. The Bank was founded by Sir Alfred Jones, a shipping magnate from Liverpool, England. With its head office originally in Liverpool, the Bank commenced business on a modest scale in Lagos, Nigeria under the name, Bank of British West Africa (BBWA).
In 1912, the Bank acquired its first competitor, the Bank of Nigeria (previously called Anglo-African Bank) which was established in 1899 by the Royal Niger Company. In 1957, the Bank changed its name from Bank of British West Africa (BBWA) to Bank of West Africa (BWA). In 1966, following its merger with Standard Bank, UK, the Bank adopted the name Standard Bank of West Africa Limited and in 1969 it was incorporated locally as the Standard Bank of Nigeria Limited in line with the Companies Decree of 1968.
Changes in the name of the Bank also occurred in 1979 and 1991 to First Bank of Nigeria Limited and First Bank of Nigeria Plc, respectively. In 2012, the Bank changed its name again to First Bank of Nigeria Limited as part of a restructuring resulting in FBN Holdings Plc (“FBN Holdings”), having detached its commercial business from other businesses in the FirstBank Group, in compliance with new regulation by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). FirstBank had 1.3 million shareholders globally, was quoted on The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), where it was one of the most capitalised companies and also had an unlisted Global Depository Receipt (GDR) programme, all of which were transferred to its Holding Company, FBN Holdings, in December 2012.
Building on of its solid foundation, the Bank has consistently broken new ground in the domestic financial sector for over a century and two decades.
FirstBank is present in the United Kingdom and France through its subsidiary, FBN Bank (UK) Limited with branches in London and Paris; and in Beijing with its Representative Offices there.
In October 2011, the Bank acquired a new subsidiary, Banque International de Credit (BIC), one of the leading banks in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In November 2013, FirstBank acquired ICB in The Gambia, Sierra-Leone, Ghana and Guinea, and in 2014, the Bank acquired ICB in Senegal.
These were major landmarks in its plan for growing its sub-Saharan African footprint and all the African subsidiaries now bear the FBN Bank brand.