Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Zenith Bank Plc

How Zenith Bank leads the pack with record N208.8bn profit

Web Editor| ConsumerConnect

Zenith Bank Plc, one of the leading banking institutions in Africa, has announced results for the financial year ending December 31, 2019, with profit after tax (PAT) of N208.8 billion, thereby achieving the feat as the first Nigerian bank to cross the N200 billion mark ever.

A statement by the bank indicates that its audited financial results for the 2019 financial year released in Lagos Friday, February 28, PAT increased by 8% to N208.8 billion from the N193 billion recorded in 2018.

The group also recorded a growth in gross earnings of 5% rising to N662.3 billion from N630.3 billion reported in the previous year.

This growth, according to the statement, was driven by the 29% increase in non-interest income from N179.9 billion in 2018 to N231.1 billion in 2019.

Fees on electronic products continue to grow significantly with a 108% Year-on-Year (YoY) growth from N20.4 billion in 2018 to N42.5 billion in the current year.

The increase in the figures was a “validation of the bank’s retail transformation strategy which continues to deliver impressive results,” it stated.

Profit Before Tax also increased by 5% growing from N232 billion to N243 billion in the current year, arising from topline growth and continued focus on cost optimisation strategies. Cost-to-income ratio moderated from 49.3% to 48.8%.

It said the drive for cheaper retail deposits coupled with the low-interest yield environment helped to reduce the cost of funding from 3.1% to 3.0%.

However, this was said to have affected net interest margin, which reduced from 8.9% to 8.2% in the current year due to re-pricing of interest bearing assets.

Although returns on equity and assets held steady YoY at 23.8% and 3.4% respectively, the Zenith Bank Group yet delivered improved Earnings per Share (EPS) which grew 8% from N6.15 to N6.65 in the current year.

The bank said it increased its share of the market as it secured increased customer deposits across the corporate and retail space as deposits grew by 15% to close at N4.26 trillion.

Total assets increased by 7% from N5.96 trillion to N6.35 trillion first Nigerian bank to cross the N200 billion mark. The Group created new viable risk assets as gross loans grew by 22% from N2.016 trillion to N2.462 trillion.

This was executed prudently at a low cost of risk of 1.1% and a significant reduction in the non-performing loan ratio from 4.98% to 4.30%.

Prudential ratios such as liquidity and capital adequacy ratios also remained above regulatory thresholds at 57.3% and 22.0% respectively.

The bank has announced a proposed final dividend pay-out of N2.50 per share, bringing the total dividend to N2.80 per share.

“In 2020, the Group remains strategically positioned to capture the opportunities in the corporate and retail segments, while efficiently managing costs and expanding further its retail franchise employing digital assets and innovation.”

ConsumerConnect reports that Zenith Bank is a large financial service provider in Nigeria and Anglophone West Africa with the headquarters in Lagos, with subsidiaries in the Gambia, United Kingdom (UK), and other regions.

The financial institution, founded by Mr. Jim Ovia in May 1990, was licensed as a commercial bank by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the national banking regulator.

And since June 1, 2019, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu has been leading the bank as the Group Managing Director (GMD)/Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Meanwhile, Zenith Bank has been voted as the Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria 2019 by the World Finance and Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria 2019 by The Banker.

The financial institution as well was recognised as Bank of the Year and Best Bank in Retail Banking at the 2019 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Awards, and was ranked as the Best Digital Bank in Nigeria 2019 by Agusto & Co.

The bank also emerged as the Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the ThisDay Awards 2020 recently.

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