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Nigerian women in banking: The most powerful in 2021



When it comes to exerting influence in the banking industry, the Nigerian women of today are no pushovers. 

Through sheer force and zeal, they have risen through the ranks and are presently seated at the table where key decisions that affect the industry are made. 


Here are the women who are the heads of banks across the country: 

Miriam Olusanya


(Managing Director, Guarantee Trust Bank)

Miriam Olusanya is the latest and first female Managing Director at Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) since its establishment in 1990. 

Her appointment was announced in a statement on Wednesday, July 14 by Erhi Obebeduo, the company’s secretary.


She has under her belt over 23 years of banking experience across various units, including Transaction Services, Asset and Liability Management, Financial Markets, Corporate Finance, and Investor Relations.


Halima Buba 

(Managing Director, Suntrust Bank)


Halima is a seasoned banker with over 20 years’ cognate experience obtained from working in Allstates Trust Bank, Zenith Bank, Inland Bank Plc, Oceanic Bank Plc and Ecobank Nigeria Limited. 

She holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree in Business Management from the University of Maiduguri and an MBA from the same University. 

Halima is an Alumnus of the Lagos Business school Senior management programme. She is a senior Honorary Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers and a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants. 


Yemisi Edun 


(Managing Director, First City Monument Bank)

Yemisi Edun holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Ife, Ile-Ife and a Master’s degree in International Accounting and Finance from the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.

She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and a CFA® Charter holder. She is also an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers; an Associate Member of the Institute of Taxation of Nigeria; a Member of Information Systems Audit and Control, U.S.A; and a Certified Information Systems Auditor.


She began her career with Akintola Williams Deloitte (member firm of Deloitte Touché Tohmatsu) in 1987, with main focus in Corporate Finance activities. She was also involved in audit of Banks and Other Financial Institutions. She joined FCMB in 2000 as Divisional Head of Internal Audit and Control before assuming the role of Chief Financial Officer of the Bank.

She is now the Managing Director of FCMB.


Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe 


(Managing Director /Chief Executive Officer, Fidelity Bank)

Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe assumed office as Managing Director/CEO, Fidelity Bank on January 1, 2021. 

Mrs. Onyeali-Ikpe had been an integral part of the transformation team at Fidelity Bank in the last six years. She was formerly Executive Director, Lagos and South West, overseeing the bank’s business in the six states that make up the south-west region of the bank. She led the transformation of the Directorate to profitability and sustained its impressive year-on-year growth, across key performance metrics, including contributing over 28% of the Bank’s PBT, Deposits and Loans. 


She is a consummate professional of over 30 years’ experience across various banks including Standard Chartered Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc and Citizens International Bank Limited, where she held several management positions in Legal, Treasury, Investment Banking, Retail/Commercial Banking, Corporate Banking. She has been involved in the structuring of transactions in various sectors including oil & gas, manufacturing, aviation, real estate and exports. 


Oluwatomi Somefun 

(Managing Director, Unity Bank)


Oluwatomi Somefun is an award-winning Nigerian banker. She is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO)/ Managing Director (MD) of Unity Bank, making her the first woman in the bank’s history to hold this position. 

Mrs. Somefun also had a successful career at the United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA). While at UBA, she managed and sat on the boards of several subsidiaries, including UBA Trustee, UBA Plc, UBA Capital, and Trustee Ltd. 

The phenomenal banker was the pioneering Managing Director (MD)/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UBA Pension Custodian Ltd. She managed UBA Pension Custodian Ltd for eight years and also supervised the South-West region of the bank at the same time. 


Ireti Samuel-Ogbu


(Managing Director, Citibank Nigeria

Ireti Samuel-Ogbu became the first Nigerian head of Citigroup Inc, an American multinational investment bank and financial services corporation, after 36 years of the company operating business in Nigeria. 

Prior to her appointment, Ireti Samuel-Ogbu was the Managing Director, EMEA Payments and Receivables Head with Citibank’s Treasury and Trade Solutions division. She was responsible for the P&L, Product development, and Solutions utilized by Financial institutions, Corporates, and Public sector customers. 


Ireti has had a 31-year career at Citigroup working in 3 countries; Nigeria, UK, and South Africa performing various roles which span Relationship Management with Global Subsidiaries Group and the Public Sector Banking Team, Corporate Finance and as Transaction Services Head for two of the largest markets in Africa. She has been the leading voice for the institution on open banking, following Citi’s announcement that it was the first corporate bank to enroll as a payment initiation service provider.

Kafilat Araoye 


(Managing Director, Lotus Bank)

Kafilat Araoye is a seasoned talent that has crossed three decades in the banking industry, 

She has expertise in virtually all areas of core banking, with emphasis on International and Domestic Operations, Payments, General Management, Business Development, Risk Management, Human Resources and Strategy.


She is currently the Managing Director Lotus non-Interest Bank.

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