Tayo Aderinokun
Late Aderinokun

By Adebayo Obajemu

Tayo Aderinokun, co- founder of the Guarranty Trust Bank, Gtb has etched his name in immortality using golden pen. Though, he may have breathed his last June 26, 2011, his spirit and essence have continued to permeate banking profession and national life on account of his sterling contribution.

The institution he co-founded is perennially ranked among the best in the country, and in the annals of banking, Gtb has  garnered more awards than its peers.
It is in fact difficult to deconstruct the character and persona of Aderinokun on account of his rich and varied expressions , one of the most profound was in the area of literary field, where at a point, he started an enduring literary sponsorship that ushered and supported many budding literary talents.

The peregrination  of Tayo was fated to be joined with the destiny of Folks Adeola, co-founder of Gtb, it was their enduring friendship prior to the founding of the bank that made it possible to build such a great institution, much skin to the professional friendship between Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton that led to  a duet that produced some of the greatest songs on the  globalcountry music scene.

Dolly and Kenny,  such friendships tend to transcend merely exchanging handshakes and beer and hanging out at choice parks while fawning over beautiful women’s derrières.

Such friendships oftentimes result in a family bond that is as strong as a mother’s love for her child. The best ones even result in great accomplishments. Accomplishments such as the Guaranty Trust Bank.

GTB, without doubts,  one of Nigeria’s leading banks, with a retail customer base of more than eight million people, is a product of unfettered friendship between Fola Adeola and Tayo Aderinokun.

Both men  were said to have started their friendship from their high school days.

That friendship, which Adeola describes as “teenage friendship”, led both men to found the progressive bank in 1990.

Before then, Adeola and Aderinokun had bravely embarked on a mission to provide a haircut service for the disadvantaged residents of Ikoyi, who, up to the mid 80s, would always take the long road to the mainland to have a fade, many times risking their lives.

“One of the challenges posed by living in Ikoyi in 1986 was that there were no barbers anywhere near-by! One, therefore, had to go to the Mainland for a simple haircut any time one was required. I was on one of these barber trips one Sunday when I saw a ghastly accident on Eko Bridge,

Adeola said in his tribute to Aderinokun following the latter’s sad passing in 2011. “The only thing that came to my mind was whether the victim of that accident was also on his way to the barbers! I decided we would put barbers in Ikoyi. The only person I knew that would entertain such a fanciful thought was Tayo Aderinokun. We both dipped into our pockets, and thus Finishing Touches Barbing Salon was born.”

A successful barbing salon was enough motivation for the friends, who were both on the roster of Continental Merchant Bank in 1986, to seek a license from the shot callers in Nigeria’s finance industry, for their own bank.

As is often common with friends who partner to found a company but get overwhelmed by the eventual success and wealth, Adeola and Aderinokun never allowed money to tear their friendship of many years, even dreaming to once again become neighbors by owning choice buildings on the Presidential Hilltop in Abeokuta

“For me, the idea of a commercial bank never died. I revisited it with Tayo, and told him I was now prepared to go ahead, as I felt the window of opportunity for a license was narrowing.”

On August 2, 1990, the pair, who were both in their 30s, received a banking license No. 58, dated August 1, 1990 and signed by the Federal Minister for Finance, Chief Olu Falae, for Guaranty Trust Bank Limited.

From that moment on, both friends, with their education and wealth of experience (Adeola had obtained a Diploma in Accounting from Yaba College of Technology in 1975 and became a Chartered Accountant in 1980 following his training with Deloitte, Haskins and Sells and D.O. Dafinone & Company, while Aderinokun had obtained a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Lagos, and much later, an MBA in International Business from the Graduate School of Management, University of California, Los Angeles in 1981), set their sights on creating one of Africa’s most trusted and profitable banks.

Today, GTB, has earned its place, standing tall as Adeola and Aderinokun had envisioned, boasts of over 200 branches, 17 Cash Centres, 18 e-branches, 41 GTExpress locations and more than 1165 ATMs in Nigeria.

In Africa, the bank has expanded to Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda, including the United Kingdom.

Aderinokun   was born on May 8, 1955  and until his death on June 14, 2011 was the CEO of Guaranty Trust Bank.

In recognition of his contribution to banking in particular ,and the economy in general, he was given the award of  Member of the Federal Republic, MFR,  one of Nigeria’s prestigious national awards by the federal government.

Aderinokun’s father was a technician who worked for the Nigerian Railway Corporation. He had his basic education at Baptist Day School, Kano, from 1961 to 1966. During the beginning of the Nigerian Civil War, his family relocated to Lagos where he attended Surulere Baptist School from 1966 to 1967, St. Peter’s College, Abeokuta, from 1968 to 1972 and St. Gregory’s Boys College, Lagos from 1973 to 1974.

He proceeded to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Lagos, and much later, an MBA in International Business from the Graduate School of Management, University of California, Los Angeles in 1981.

Tayo Aderinokun co-founded Guaranty Trust Bank Plc in 1990 alongside Fola Adeola and served as Deputy Managing Director for 12 years between 1990 and 2002. He then became the Managing Director, a position he held until his passing. During his time as the CEO the bank won the following awards,

The 2010 and 2009 best bank in Nigeria awards from the Banker Magazine;
The 2010 and 2009 best bank in Nigeria awards from Euromoney Awards for Excellence;
The SIAO 2009 and 2008 Best Corporate Social Responsibility Awards.

In  2007, the bank won Most Respected Company in Nigeria Award from PrizeWaterhouseCoopers and
and Businessday.

It also won the Nigerian Stock Exchange President’s Merit Award in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2008 among others.


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