By Goddy Egene
Zenith Bank Plc has restated its resilience and leadership in the banking industry by reporting an impressive financial results for the year ended December 31, 2019.
According to the audited results, Zenith Bank’s gross earnings rose to N662.3 billion, showing an increase of five per cent from the N630.3 billion reported in 2018.
The bank explained that the growth was driven by the 29 per cent increase in non-interest income from N179.9 billion in 2018 to N231.1 billion in 2019.
Fees on electronic products continues to grow significantly with a 108 per cent jump from N20.4 billion in 2018 to N42.5 billion in 2019.
In the same vein, its profit before tax increased by five per cent, growing from N232 billion to N243 billion in the current year, arising from top-line growth and continued focus on cost optimisation strategies Similarly, profit after tax (PAT) rose from N193 billion to N208.8 billion, achieving the feat as the first Nigerian Bank to cross the N200 billion mark.
In demonstration of its commitment to its shareholders, the bank has proposed final dividend pay-out of N2.50 per share, bringing the total dividend to N2.80 per share.
A further analysis of the results showed that the drive for cheaper retail deposits, coupled with the low interest yield environment, helped reduce the bank’s cost of funding from 3.1 per cent to three per cent in the year under review.
However, this also affected net interest margin which reduced from 8.9 per cent to 8.2 per cent in the current year due to re-pricing of interest bearing assets.
Although returns on equity and assets held steady at 23.8 per cent and 3.4 per cent, respectively, the Group still delivered an improved earnings per share (EPS) which grew eight from N6.15 to N6.65 in 2019. Also, the group increased its share of the market as it secured increased customer deposits across the corporate and retail space as deposits grew by 15 per cent to close at N4.26 trillion, while total assets increased by seven per cent from N5.96 trillion to N6.35 trillion. The bank created new viable risk assets as gross loans grew by 22 per cent from N2.016 trillion to N2.462 trillion. Prudential ratios such as liquidity and capital adequacy ratios also remained above regulatory thresholds at 57.3 per cent and 22 per cent respectively.
Zenith Bank said in 2020, it 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.
Consistent with this superlative performance and in recognition of its track record of excellent performance, Zenith Bank was voted asthe Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria 2019 by the World Finance and the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria 2019 by The Banker. The Bank was also recognized 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. Most recently, the Bank emerged as the Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the Thisday Awards 2020.