Business

Zenith Bank: Unique strides amid macroeconomic challenges

Why the adoption of new technology by financial institutions and other challenges have thrown some off balance, Zenith Bank has remained resilient with impressive figures. Rhoda Ogunseye writes

 

Due to legacy solutions and out-of-date business processes, larger organisations have a hard time adopting new proccesses and tools, making it, according to experts, the biggest challenge in the financial industry this year 2022. Higher tax rates, and competition from telcos and fintechs are some of the top risks Nigerian banks are also grappling with.

Despite this bottlenecks, the share performance of Zenith Bank Plc, a Nigerian commercial bank, providing services to corporate, commercial, and individual customers, has continued to grow. Zenith Bank Plc is currently the eighth most valuable stock on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) with a market capitalisation of N628 billion, which makes about 2.37 per cent of the Nigerian Stock Exchange equity market.

The share price of ZENITHBANK on Friday September 30, 2022 remained flat at N20.00.

Financials

The bank in April 2022 announced its unaudited results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2022, with a double digit growth of 22 per cent in Gross Earnings from N157.3 billion reported in Q1’21 to N191.5 billion in Q1’22.

 

From the unaudited statement of account presented to the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) on Thursday, April 28, 2022, the growth in the topline culminated in an increase in the bottom line, as the Group recorded an 11 per cent Year-on-Year (YoY) increase in profit before tax, growing from N61.02 billion in Q1’21 to N67.99 billion in Q1’22.

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 Q1’21 to N126.38 billion in Q1’22, 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 continues to deploy its retail strategy, thereby acquiring more customers and expanding its electronic bank  ing 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 is a validation of the robust customer acquisition strategy and versatile electronic platforms and digital channels. Loans and advances also 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 6.0 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 will 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.

Sustained growth

Zenith Bank Plc grew its gross earnings by 17 per cent from N346bn in the first half of 2021 financial period to N405 billion in the corresponding period of 2022. The bank disclosed this in a statement on its audited results for the half-year ended 30 June 2022.

 

According financial results presented to the Nigerian Ex-  change on Tuesday, the growth was moved by a 19 per cent YoY growth in interest income from N204 billion to N242 billion and an 18 per cent YoY growth in noninterest income from N127 billion to N149 billion.

The growth in interest income was driven by the modest increase in the loan book and improved interest margins. The increase in non-interest income attests to the Group’s success in its income diversification strategy, it stated.

 

Profit before tax grew 11 per cent year-on-year from N117 billion to N130 billion. Earnings per share also grew from N3.38 to N3.55 over the same six-month period. The Group also recorded an 11 per cent year-to-date increase in total customer deposits to close the period at N7.15 trillion.

The retail strategy of the Group continues to deliver outstanding results as retail deposits grew by 17 per cent YtD from N1.82 trillion to N2.13 trillion. Retail activities also supported the growth recorded in fees on electronic products which grew by 45 per cent YoY from N17 billion to N25 billion. Despite the elevated yield environment, the cost of funds increased only marginally from 1.3 per cent in June 2021 to 1.4 per cent in June 2022.

 

The increase in the cost of funds was lower than the increase in yields on interest-generating assets, giving rise to an improved Net Interest Margin of 7.1 per cent from 6.4 per cent in June 2021.

 

Total assets rose to N10.12tn at the end of June 2022 from N9.45tn at the end of December 2021. Despite the headwinds imposed by the operating environment, the Group grew its risk assets as gross loans grew by five  bankper cent YtD, from N3.5 trillion to N3.7 trillion.

 

This was achieved at a moderate NPL ratio of 4.4 per cent (FYE 2021: 4.2 per cent) and cost of risk of 1.4 per cent (June 2021: 1.3 per cent). Prudential ratios such as liquidity and capital adequacy also remained stable and wellabove regulatory thresholds at 60.5 per cent and 21.0 per cent respectively.

Awards

Zenith Bank’s track record of excellent performance has earned the brand numerous awards, including being voted as Best Bank in Nigeria in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards, for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022, Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria in the World Finance Banking Awards 2021, Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards 2020, and Best in Corporate Governance’ Financial Services’ Africa 2020 and 2021 by the Ethical Boardroom.

Also, the Bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands 2020 and 2021, Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital in the “2021 Top 1000 World Banks” Ranking by The Banker Magazine and the Retail Bank of the year at the BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Awards 2020 and 2021.

 

DIVIDEND

Zenith Bank Plc (Nigeria) declared an interim dividend of 0.3 NGN per share. The following are the details related to the dividend: Declaration date23/08/2022Ex-Dividend date06/09/2022 Record date07/09/2022Payment date 13/09/2022 Dividend amount per share 0.3 NGN.

 

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