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Otunba Subomi Balogun: The banking collusus with a passion for humanity



Article Summary

  • Otunba Subomi Balogun who founded FCMB passed on on Friday at the age of 89
  • He was a statesman, baron of the Nigerian capital and money market, a corporate leader, a recognized community leader, pioneer, and role model of entrepreneurial banking in Nigeria
  • He founded a culture of excellence in the banking industry and lives a life of philanthropy

Otunba (Dr.) Michael Olasubomi Balogun, CON, who passed away in London on Friday at the age of 89, left a legacy in the banking industry and will undoubtedly be difficult to replace. He was the doyen of Nigeria’s modern banking industry in Nigeria.

He founded First City Monument Bank (FCMB) in 1982, and was known by a number of traditional titles, including the Olori Omoba of Ijebuland, Otunba Tunwase of Ijebuland, Baba Oba of Ijebu-Ife, and Asalu-Oba of Ijebu Mushin.

Early life and Career

He was born on March 9, 1934,  as a direct descendent of Oba Tunwase of Ijebu-Ode in Ogun state. Otunba Balogun studied law at the University of Ibadan and worked at the Ministry of Justice, Western Region.

He got a job as a Parliamentary Counsel in the Federal Ministry of Justice after leaving his position as a Crown Counsel at the local Ministry of Justice.

He later joined the Nigerian Industrial Development Bank (NIDB) following the January 1966 coup, and his interest in investment banking led him to push for the creation of a merchant bank supported by NIDB.

He established First City Monument Bank and served on the NSE’s council for a considerable amount of time.

After leaving his employment as a Crown Counsel at the local Ministry of Justice, he was hired as a Parliamentary Counsel at the Federal Ministry of Justice.

After the coup in January 1966, he joined the Nigerian Industrial Development Bank (NIDB), and because of his interest in investment banking, he worked to have NIDB support the establishment of a merchant bank.

The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria made him a Fellow of the Institute for his pioneering and outstanding contribution to the Banking Industry.

Establishing a banking culture of excellence

He is recalled to have said the he established the bank with a culture of excellence and  he went ahead to define what the culture of excellence would be. It is to his credit that he was the first to create a special dining room for banks and was also the first to insist on bank staff wearing dark suits.

A life of philanthropy 

His life’s journey was that of a man who realized early on that wealth’s true essence can only be attained when it is used to benefit others, especially the less privileged.

He is quoted to have said;

  • I am a child of God, and the good Lord has been kind to me. Whatever you see in me now is a divine gift. So why do I have to hold back in good deeds”.

It is with this conviction that he embarked on a life of philanthropy which was like his pastime. He built a National Pediatric Centre in Ijebu-Ode which was donated to the University of Ibadan’s, University College Teaching Hospital. A lover of children, he built several institutions for the health care, welfare and survival of children.

He also set up the ‘Otunba Tunwase Foundation’ through which he carried out his philanthropic spirit in services to the community.

A man of several awards

He received numerous accolades, titles, and award throughout the years, that portrays him as a behemoth that dominates every sphere of national life.

He received the Distinguished Leadership Award from the American Biographical Institute Inc. for his significant contributions to the growth of investment banking.

In addition, he got a Merit Award for his philanthropic services to Ogun State in particular and the nation as a whole, as well as the Ijebu Development Association award and Council Membership of several multi-national Chambers of Commerce, for the recognition of his outstanding achievements in the field of law and contributions to the socio-economic development of Nigeria.

A man of many hats 

To put it simply, Otunba Balogun was a statesman, baron of the Nigerian capital and money market, a corporate leader, recognized community leader, pioneer and role model of entrepreneurial banking in Nigeria. He was a generous philanthropist and respected church leader who dedicated a significant portion of his personal wealth to the care and service of the less fortunate.

He was married to Olori Abimbola Balogun, and was blessed with four sons and many grandchildren.