• The purpose of a strong commercial brand is to attract customers, boost loyalty and motivate staff. Most banks make huge investments in the design, launch and ongoing promotion of their brands. In the very broadest sense, a brand is the focus for all the expectations and opinions held by customers, staff and other stakeholders about an organisation and its products and services. In this rapidly changing world, banks have to keep up with customers’ changing needs by continuously monitoring what their clients want. Banks strive to offer a seamless, user-friendly experience across all platforms and channels in an environment pleasing to their customers. In this article, The African Exponent shares the 10 most valuable banking brands in Africa in 2015.

    1. ABSA

    Brand Value: US$ 1,585,000,000

    Headquarters: South Africa

    CEO: Maria Ramos

    Today, Absa is a household name, and besides being the best banking brand again this year, it has been the coolest Banking Brand in SA for the 6th consecutive year. Absa is a wholly owned subsidiary of Barclays Africa Group Limited. The bank offers personal and business banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking, wealth and investment management as well as bancassurance services in countries such as South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Mauritius, Nigeria and  Zambia. Their key values are respect, integrity, service, excellence and stewardship.

    2. First National Bank

    Brand Value: US$ 1,385,000,000

    Headquarters: South Africa

    CEO: Jacques Celliers

    FNB is the oldest bank in South Africa, and can be traced back to the Eastern Province Bank formed in Grahamstown in 1838. Today, FNB trades as a division of FirstRand Bank Limited. The Acacia tree in its brand logo is a suitable representation of the bank’s history. FNB’s roots run deep in South Africa, and they have grown thanks to its commitment to serving the needs of its clients and communities. FNB provides a full range of banking services to individuals, including savings, deposit and cheque accounts, credit cards, overdraft facilities, mortgage finance and loans. It also provides a complete range of banking products to the business community.

    3. Standard Bank

    Brand Value: US$ 1,264,000,000

    Headquarters: South Africa

    CEO: Ben Kruger

    With a heritage of over 150 years, Standard Bank is a leading integrated financial services group on the African continent. The bank has an on-the-ground presence in 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, fit-for-purpose representation outside Africa and a strategic partnership with ICBC. This unique footprint supports its strategy to connect African markets to each other and to pools of capital globally. In line with the realities of risk, regulation, technology and competition that are shaping the African landscape, Standard Bank is investing significantly in its diversified operations, its people and culture, its systems and infrastructure, and lastly, its brand. The bank’s three main products are commercial banking, investment banking and investment management.

    4. Nedbank

    Brand Value: US$ 1,169,000,000

    Headquarters: South Africa

    CEO: Michael William Thomas Brown

    Nedbank is a bank holding company that operates as one of the four largest banking groups in South Africa. The company's shares have been listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange since 1969. The group offers a wide range of wholesale and retail banking services through four main business clusters, namely Nedbank Capital, Nedbank Corporate, Business Banking and Nedbank Retail. The principal services offered by the group comprise business, corporate and retail banking, property finance, investment banking, private banking, foreign exchange and securities trading. Nedbank Group also generates income from private equity, credit card issuing and processing services, custodial services, unit trust administration, asset management services and bancassurance services

    5. Wesbank

    Brand Value: US$416,000,000

    Headquarters: South Africa

    CEO: Chris de Kock

    WesBank is a wholly owned subsidiary of FirstRand and currently trades as a division of FirstRand Bank Limited. Voted the No. 1 Bank in Vehicle and Asset Finance, WesBank provides asset finance and fleet management solutions across South Africa from large corporate accounts to accounts for individuals. It also holds more than 40% of the vehicle market share; has an international footprint in Sub-Saharan Africa and the UK; and is bringing its service offering to customers in line with global sustainability standards.

    6. Ecobank

    Brand Value: US$392,000,000

    Headquarters: South Africa

    CEO: Albert Essien

    Incorporated in Lomé, Togo, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) is the parent company of the leading independent pan-African banking group, Ecobank. It currently has a presence in 36 African countries.The Group employs nearly 19,000 people from 40 different countries in over 1,200 branches and offices. It is the leading independent regional full-service banking group in West Africa and Central Africa, providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organizations, medium, small and micro businesses and individuals. As of December 2012, ETI's customer base was estimated at 13.7 million, with 9.6 million (70.2%), located in Nigeria, the continent's most populous nation. At that time, the group's total assets were valued at US$20.0 billion, with shareholders' equity of US$2.176 billion.

    7. Attijariwafa Bank

    Brand Value: US$330,000,000

    Headquarters: Morocco

    CEO: Mohamed El Kettani

    Attijariwafa Bank is the leading bank in Morocco and is part of king Mohammed VI's holding company, the National Investment Company. It was established after a merger between Banque Commerciale du Maroc and Wafabank and is headquartered in Casablanca. It is the third largest bank in Africa. The bank maintains offices in London, Paris, Brussels, Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, Shanghai, The Netherlands, Tunisia, Senegal, Mauritania and Mali. It has been listed on the Casablanca Stock Exchange since 1943. It provides the following services: asset management, commercial banking, investment banking and investment management.

    8. First Bank of Nigeria 

    Brand Value: US$300,000,000

    Headquarters: Nigeria

    CEO: Stephen Olabisi Onasanya

    As the leading player in the Nigerian financial services sector, FirstBank has solidified itself as a brand of fortitude, strength and innovation since its inception in 1894. In the ever evolving Nigerian financial sector, its brand essence of being “Dependably Dynamic” stands firmly on its four pillars of success: Leadership, Safety & Security, Enterprise and Service Excellence. As of June 2013, the bank had assets totaling approximately US$21.3 billion.

    9. Commercial International Bank (CIB)

    Brand Value: US$297,000,000

    Headquarters: Egypt

    Chairman and Managing Director: Hisham Ezz Al-Arab

    The CIB is the largest private-sector bank in Egypt. The company corporate headquarters are located in Cairo, Egypt. The bank serves more than 500,000 clients and has more than 6,000 employees. CIB is one of the strongest banks in the Middle East and Africa. It is also the largest listed corporation in Egypt with a market value of $4.8 Billion, revenues of $1.3 billion and total assets of $16.4 Billion. The company is ranked in the Forbes Global 2000 listing which represents the largest corporations in the world.

    10. Zenith Bank

    Brand Value: US$235,000,000

    Headquarters: Nigeria

    CEO: Peter Amangbo

    With its headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria, Zenith Bank has over 500 branches and business offices spread across all states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. Zenith Bank has presence in the United Kingdom, Ghana, Sierra Leone and The Gambia. The Bank also has representative offices in South Africa and China and plans are afoot to take the Zenith franchise to other Sub-African regions as well as the European and Asian markets while consolidating our position as a leading financial provider in Nigeria and locations where they operate.

    Top Ten Banking Brands in Africa

    RankNameCountryBrand ValueCEO
    1ABSASouth AfricaUS$ 1,585,000,000
    Maria Ramos
    2First National BankSouth Africa
    US$ 1,385,000,000
    Jacques Celliers
    3Standard BankSouth Africa
    US$ 1,264,000,000
    Ben Kruger
    4NedbankSouth Africa
    US$ 1,169,000,000
    Michael William Thomas Brown
    5WesbankSouth AfricaUS$416,000,000
    Chris de Kock
    6EcobankSouth AfricaUS$392,000,000
    Albert Essien
    7Attijariwafa Bank
    Mohamed El Kettani
    8First Bank of Nigeria
    Stephen Olabisi Onasanya
    9Commercial International Bank (CIB)
    Hisham Ezz Al-Arab
    10Zenith Bank
    Peter Amangbo