ZENITH BANK: BUTTRESS INDUSTRY LEADERSHIP

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Zenith Bank under the leadership of its Group Managing Director, Ebenezer Onyeagwu has maintained its leadership position as evidenced by its financial results as well as the awards it has been winning both locally and international.

Zenith Bank Plc recently emerged as the Best Bank in Nigeria in the Global Finance Magazine’s Best Banks Awards 2022, retaining the award for a third consecutive year.

The bank was among other banks from 36 countries in Africa recognised as the prestigious Global Finance announced its 29th Annual Best Bank Awards Winners.

Ebenezer Onyeagwu since his appointment as the chief executive officer of the bank has maintained his commitment towards ensuring that the bank retained its leadership in the industry.

Under the leadership of Onyeagwu, Zenith Bank has continued to receive recognitions, both home and abroad.

To the editors of Global Finance, the decision to reward Zenith Bank was made after extensive consultations with corporate financial executives, bankers and banking consultants and analysts worldwide.  Global Finance said it considered factors that ranged from the quantitative objective to the informed subjective in selecting the top banks.

The objective criteria considered included: growth in assets, profitability, geographic reach, strategic relationships, new business development and innovation in products. Subjective criteria included the opinions of equity analysts, credit rating analysts, banking consultants and others involved in the industry.

Commenting on the award, the Group Managing Director, Zenith Bank, Onyeagwu said: “This award is a testament to our tenacity despite a very challenging macroeconomic environment. Indeed, being recognised, for the third consecutive year, is an acknowledgement of the resilience of the Zenith brand as the leading financial institution in Nigeria.”

He lauded the contributions and efforts of the bank’s key stakeholders – the Founder and Chairman, Jim Ovia, CON, for his pioneering role in building the structures and laying the foundation for an enduring and successful institution, the Board for the outstanding leadership they provide, the staff for their commitment and dedication as well as the Bank’s customers for their unwavering loyalty and support.

 The special recognition came within the period the bank announced its unaudited results for the first quarter (Q1) ended 31st March 2022, with an impeccable growth of 22 per cent in gross earnings, from N157.3 billion reported in Q1 2021 to N191.5 billion in Q1 2022. 

From the unaudited statement of account presented to the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) recently, the strong double-digit growth in the results, which was a reflection of the hard work by the Onyeagwu-led management and staff, culminated in an increase in the bottom line.

The Group recorded an 11 per cent year-on-year (YoY) increase in profit before tax, growing from N61.02 billion in Q1 2021 to N67.99 billion in Q1 2022.  Its profit after tax also grew by 10 per cent, from N53.06 billion to N58.19 billion over the same period. The growth in the topline arose from both interest income and non-interest income.

Interest income grew by 25 per cent, from N101.12 billion in Q1 2021 to N126.38 billion in Q1 2022, while non-interest income grew by 12 per cent, from N51.20 billion to N57.23 billion.

The growth in interest income and non-interest income arose from the combined effects of an improvement in interest income on loans and advances (as risk assets continue to grow and pricing is gradually improving) and an improvement in non-interest income as the bank continued to deploy its retail strategy, thereby acquiring more customers and expanding its electronic banking income from the increased volume of transactions across all its channels. 

Zenith Bank’s total assets grew by nine per cent, from N9.45 trillion to N10.32 trillion in 2022, mainly driven by growth in customers’ deposits. Customer deposits grew by 12 per cent, from N6.47 trillion in December 2021, to N7.25 trillion in March 2022.

Savings account balance, which is solely retail grew by over N68 billion and was a validation of the robust customer acquisition strategy and versatile electronic platforms and digital channels.

In addition, its loans and advances grew by six per cent, from N3.5 trillion in December 2021, to N3.7 trillion in March 2022, boosting the Group’s interest income and displaying the Group’s appetite for high-yielding risk assets creation.

This development also helped to boost the net interest margin (NIM), as it improved from six per cent in March 2021, to 7.3 per cent in the current period, while the capital adequacy ratio improved slightly from 21.1 per cent to 22.1 per cent.

“Going into the remainder of 2022, the Group would continue to focus on sustainable growth across all its business segments and deploy technology platforms and digital assets intuitively to serve its various customers’ needs to deliver enhanced returns to its stakeholders,” the bank stated.

Indeed, in terms of leadership, Onyeagwu, has continued to demonstrate that he has a midas touch considering the strong financial performance the bank continues to churn out. The bank places a premium on its core business strategy anchored on people, technology and service, to create value for its numerous clientele.

With a team of dedicated professionals, the bank leverages its robust Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure to provide cutting-edge solutions and products through its network of branches and electronic/digital channels.

Zenith Bank under Onyeagwu’s watch has remained committed to sustaining the legacy of its visionary Founder and Chairman, Mr. Jim Ovia, whose pioneering and foundational role in building the structures and laying the foundation ensured an enduring and very successful institution.

In order to meet customers’ rising expectations and expand its reach in the retail segment, Zenith Bank Plc recently introduced another season of its savings promo.

The bank which remains a clear leader in the digital space with several firsts in deploying innovative products, solutions and an assortment of alternative channels that ensure convenience, speed and safety of transactions, has been making significant progress in its retail banking drive.

This is evidenced by remarkable growth in transaction volumes and value across its digital platforms and strong growth in customer acquisition.

That was why it re-introduced its Zenith Bank Beta Life Promo Season 2. The reward scheme is a bi-weekly raffle promo wherein the bank would give gifts worth N150,000 each to 20 customers from February 1, 2022 to January 31, 2023. The raffle draws hold on the second and fourth Friday of each month.

To qualify, customers are expected to simply open a Zenith Bank account; fund the account with a minimum of N5,000 for the period; request and collect a Zenith Bank Debit Card (virtual or physical).

The promo is open to new and existing Zenith Bank customers that maintain a minimum deposit of N5,000 for the period; request and collect a Zenith Bank Debit Card (virtual or physical) and download and register on the Zenith Bank Mobile App or register for *966# EazyBanking.

“If you do not have a current or savings account with us, or have a dormant or zero balance account, this is the best time to open an account, fund or reactivate your account to win exciting rewards every week.

Rewards will be allocated to the winning accounts chosen via raffle draw by our computer program designed specifically for the purpose of the Promotion.

“The random selection and allocation of Prizes to the respective Winning Customers will be verified by external auditors. Customers must maintain an active account with N5000, get a card and register for USSD or download the mobile app to become a winner.

You can open an account by just dialing *966# on your phone and following the prompts, or you can open an account on our website,” the bank stated.

“This is possible. However, you are encouraged to make additional deposits in subsequent weeks,” it added.

This followed its recent introduction of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered Chatbot on WhatsApp named ZIVA (Zenith Intelligent Virtual Assistant), which enables customers to perform financial transactions and enjoy real-time customer service from their mobile phones.

With this solution, customers would be able to enroll by simply adding the bank’s verified WhatsApp mobile number 07040004422 on their mobile devices, agree to the legal terms of use and then initiate a conversation.

This product provides the convenience for the bank’s customers to interact and transact on a 24 hours basis on the encrypted WhatsApp platform, it added.

The bank further explained that with the capability to respond to chats/queries anchored on the existing WhatsApp platform, customers would be able to open new accounts, receive instant transaction notifications, check their balances on the go, transfer funds and top up airtime.

They would also be able to confirm cheques, pay bills, apply for loans, block their accounts, and request mini statements, amongst other banking services.

It is expected that the bank would maintain the momentum with Onyeagwu at the helms of affairs.

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