in , ,

From Bank Clerk to Bank Owner: The Rise of Zenith Bank’s Founder, Jim Ovia

Zenith Bank, one of Nigeria’s largest commercial banks, was founded by Jim Ovia. He founded the bank in 1990 with a single branch and $4 million. Today, the bank has $3.03 billion in shareholder money and a total asset base of more than $22.8 billion.

Furthermore, the bank employs over 10,000 people worldwide and has opened over 500 branches with offices in Nigeria and West Africa. According to the bank, it has branches in Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Gambia, as well as one in the United Kingdom.

Ovia, the eldest of eight children, was motivated to start his own business by his uncle. After finishing high school, he worked as a clerk at Union Bank, formerly Barclays Bank, for three years before moving to the United States for his first degree.

He attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and majored in business administration. He later earned a Master of Science in Business Administration from the University of Louisiana in Monroe, Louisiana. He also went to Harvard Business School.

When he returned to Nigeria, he joined Union Bank, where he served his youth service before joining Lion Bank in Lagos, where he rose to the post of branch manager. In 1980, he began his banking career as a financial analyst at the International Merchant Bank (IMB). He was promoted to bank manager within a year.

Ovia afterwards transferred from IMB to Merchant Bank of Africa. Following the deregulation of Nigeria’s banking system in the early 1990s, he led a group of investors in establishing Zenith Bank. He served as CEO of the bank for 20 years before stepping down in 2010. He did, however, become the bank’s chairman in 2014.

Ovia also became the Chairman and Majority Shareholder of Zenith General Insurance Limited, Nigeria’s most lucrative general insurance firm, and Prudential Zenith Life Assurance Limited.

He is a philanthropist in addition to his commercial interests. He founded the Jim Ovia Foundation, which has provided scholarships to nearly 1,500 students. In his hometown of Agbor, Delta State, he also founded a co-educational boarding school that grants scholarships to more than half of its students.

As a writer, Ovia authored Africa Rise And Shine: How a Nigerian Entrepreneur from Humble Beginnings Grew a Business to $16 Billion, published by Forbes Books in 2018.

I Was Paid N50k For My First Movie Role – Pete Edochie

Anthony Joshua Knocks Out Helenius In Heavyweight Bout