Elder Dempster shipping magnate, Alfred Lewis Jones and George William Neville – the local agent of Elder Dempster & Co. of Liverpool, attempted to develop a banking operation along the Guinea coast in 1891. This plan was executed, leading to the incorporation of Bank of British West Africa (now known as First Bank of Nigeria Limited) in the Elder Dempster & Co’s office in Marina Lagos, Southern Nigeria. This became the first branch of FirstBank in Nigeria.
The Bank of British West Africa Limited (BBWA) was later registered as a limited liability company in March 1894 (three years after it started in Lagos) with its Head Office in Castle Street, Liverpool, England. Subsequently, branches were set up, first in different regions of Nigeria, then Sierra Leone, Ghana (Gold Coast), UK, DRC, and The Gambia.
FirstBank, after acquiring its predecessor, the African Banking Corporation, went on to become a leading financial services provider in West Africa, recording impressive growth and working closely with the Colonial Government and the Central Bank. As a response to the change and growth in the financial industry over the years, the Bank has constantly evolved.
In 1957, the Bank changed its name from Bank of British West Africa to Bank of West Africa, and in 1969 it was incorporated locally as the Standard Bank of Nigeria Limited, in line with the Companies Decree of 1968.
Other changes to First Bank of Nigeria Limited and First Bank of Nigeria Plc, also occurred in 1979 and 1991 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 the new regulations by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
We have come a long way from the first branch on Marina Street, to over 700 branches nationwide, with offices across Sub-Sahara Africa UK, and China, making us the largest financial network in sub-Sahara Africa.
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