Union Bank of Nigeria’s rich history can be traced to 1917 when it was first established as Colonial Bank. In 1925 the bank became known as Barclays Bank DCO (Dominion, Colonial and Overseas) resulting from its acquisition by Barclays Bank. Following Nigeria’s independence and the enactment of the Companies Act of 1968, the bank was incorporated as Barclays Bank of Nigeria Limited (BBNL, est. 1969).
Between 1971 and 1979, the bank went through a series of changes including its listing on the NSE and share acquisitions/transfers driven by the Nigerian Enterprises Promotion Acts (1972 and 1977); this resulted in its evolution into a new wholly Nigerian-owned entity. To reflect the new ownership structure, and in compliance with the Companies and Allied Matters Act of 1990, it assumed the name Union Bank of Nigeria Plc. (UBN “the Bank” or “Union Bank”).
In 1993, in line with its privatisation/commercialisation drive, the Federal Government divested by selling its controlling shares (51.67%) to private investors. Thus, the Bank became fully owned by Nigerian citizens and organizations all within the private sector. During the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) banking sector consolidation policy, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc acquired the former Universal Trust Bank Plc and Broad Bank Ltd. and absorbed its one-time subsidiary, Union Merchant Bank Ltd.
Following the banking crisis in 2009 and the intervention of the CBN via Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), the bank was recapitalized in 2012 with an injection of $500 million by Union Global Partners Limited (UGPL), a consortium of local and international investors. UGPL acquired 65% of the bank’s shareholding and in the last quarter of 2014, AMCON’s remaining 20% stake in the bank was acquired by Atlas Mara. UGPL comprises: