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In a largely male-dominated world, women are beginning to wield significant power and break barriers in the Nigerian banking industry. These women have made strategic contributions to the industry, navigating through challenging times and inspiring others along the way.

From leading Nigeria’s apex bank to driving digital transformation and financial inclusion, Aishah Ahmad, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other women have become true powerhouses in the world of finance. Let’s take a look at some of these women using their power to make a name for themselves in the banking industry.

Yemisi Edun

Yemisi Edun became the Managing Director of First City Monument Bank (FCMB) when Adam Nuhu was suspended in July 2021. She made history by becoming the first woman to hold that position. Before her appointment was approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), Yemisi served as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and the acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the bank.

Yemisi Edun MD FCMB

Yemisi who is a chemistry graduate from the University of Ife, began her career in banking by obtaining a master’s degree in international accounting and finance from the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom. After obtaining her master’s degree she worked at Akintola Williams Deloitte, a member firm of Deloitte Touché Tohmatsu in 1987. At Deloitte, she was exposed to Corporate Finance activities and bank auditing.

As an Associate Member of the Institute of Taxation of Nigeria; a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and a CFA® Charter holder and an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers, Yemisi boasts 35 years of experience in the banking industry.

Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe

With over 28 years of experience in the banking industry, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe has led Fidelity Bank to achieve a remarkable level of growth. In a recent report, the bank doubled its Profit Before Tax (PBT) and recorded a 34.4 per cent growth in year-on-year gross earnings. Celebrating this feat, Managing Director, Onyeali-Ikpe said, “We are happy to report another year of impressive double-digit growth across key income and balance sheet lines. This validates our growth strategy and capacity to deliver superior returns to shareholders.”

Nneka Onyeali Ikpe 1

Onyeali-Ikpe wrote her name in the sand of time by becoming the first female to occupy the position, since the bank’s inception in 1988. As a certified Lawyer, she entered the Nigerian banking industry as a legal officer for the now-defunct African Continental Bank in 1990. From a legal officer, she worked as a treasury officer before moving to Fidelity Bank.

Tomi Somefun

As the Managing Director of Unity Bank, Somefun is a Financial Services Professional with over three decades of hands-on experience spanning Commercial and Investment Banking, Financial and Business Consulting, and Audit and Accounting Services. Her stay at the bank has been largely fruitful as the bank introduced products like UniFi (a mobile banking product with robust digital offerings which now stands as a flagship youth banking product); and Corpreneurship (a youth banking initiative that targets entrepreneurship-minded fresh graduates completing the compulsory one-year national youth service).

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tomi somefun unity bank

Reports say she was pivotal in derisking the balance sheet of the bank and making it the first Nigerian Bank to offer Multi-lingual USSD Banking in the three major Nigerian languages. Somefun won the 2019 Top 25 CEOs Next Bulls award in recognition of the bank’s stellar performance on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

Bukola Smith

Bukola Smith serves as the Managing Director of First Securities Discount House Limited (FSDH) Merchant Bank with 29 years of progressive experience in the banking industry. Before assuming that position, Bukola who occupied the position of Executive Director, Business Development at First City Monument Bank (FCMB), was responsible for the bank’s over 200 branches across the country, Public Sector, Business Banking, Agriculture and Transaction Banking Divisions.

Bukola Smith MD FSDH MB scaled

According to KPMG 2020 Customer Service Report, Bukola moved the bank’s SME-focused team from 5th position to 1st position in the industry within three years. Also, Bukola is praised for creating SheVenture (FCMB Women in Business Desk) which supports female entrepreneurs.

Halima Buba

Halima Buba boasts over 22 years of cognate experience obtained from working in Allstates Trust Bank, Zenith Bank, Inland Bank Plc, Oceanic Bank Plc and Ecobank Nigeria Limited. Before her appointment, as the Managing Director of SunTrust Bank Nigeria, Halima served as the former Executive Director of Taj Consortium, an organisation of young dynamic technocrats and financial advisory experts.

Miriam Olusanya

As an Alumnus of the Lagos Business School Senior Management Programme, Halima sits on the Board of several reputable Institutions, including those of Anchoria Asset Management Company Limited as a Non-Executive Director.

Source: Business Elites Africa

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