22 March 2019

Nigeria: Zenith Bank Plans Five-Year Organic Growth, Targets Cost Reduction Measures

Zenith Bank Plc will pursue new markets and roll out new products to enhance value addition, in line with its medium term plans over the next five years. It is aimed at making it one of the top tier banks in Africa.

Specifically, the bank said it will re-channel its efforts in deploying more electronic banking products, following the divestment from non-banking operations in compliance to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directive.

Furthermore, by focusing more on its banking activities, the Group, in its 2018 Annual Report said it will "look to strengthen its retail banking business by doing a retail banking transformation exercise." This is expected to "significantly grow its retail banking revenue, deposit liabilities, and risk assets, and obtain a significant share of the retail banking industry in Nigeria."

To achieve set targets, while improving capacity to meet customers' changing need, the bank said it will implement a core banking system that will replace the existing one, which will ultimately enhance the Group's internal operating system in terms of enhancing efficiency, while helping to reduce costs.

The new system control will also enable it improve its levels of customer service by delivering improved operational capabilities and efficiencies, whilst achieving economies of scale.

The Board Chairman, Jim Ovia, had assured that the bank is "constantly monitoring developments in the local and global economic environment, and appropriately applying pragmatic and dynamic approaches to the banking business."

Besides, he added, "Our strategic focus on the pursuit of shared prosperity has positioned us to seek and leverage new opportunities in the market."

To demonstrate the bank's commitment to expanding its market share and increasing shareholders' value, total deposits grew seven per cent to N252billion in at the end of 2018, just as total assets rose six per cent to N6trillion, and profit after tax at 11 per cent to N19.6billion.

Similarly, shareholders' fund increased year-on-year to N816billion or 0.5 per cent, with dividend payout at four per cent, while return on average equity also rose four per cent.

In a period of 28 years, Zenith Bank has created diverse service delivery channels for customer satisfaction, and has remained adequately capitalised to meet customers' expectations and need as a Tier 1 player, and thus remained one of Nigeria's strongest brand and largest bank, with specific focus on institutional and investment, corporate, commercial, retail and public sector banking. It also has overseas subsidiaries in the UK, and West African region including Ghana, Sierra Leone and The Gambia.

Besides, as part of its promotion of sustainable banking practices and green finance initiatives, Zenith Bank said it has fully integrated environmental and social risks considerations into its credit and investment decisions, and as such, "all credit proposals are now screened for environmental and social risks before they are presented to our Global Credit Committee for consideration."

Following the need to accelerate economic growth and development, while creating wealth and employment opportunities, the bank said part of its strategy is "to support the government's effort at diversifying the economy through ongoing funding and investments in the real sector," especially in areas like agriculture, power, manufacturing, solid minerals, industries and construction.

For the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive officer, Peter Amangbo, Zenith Bank "shall continue to intensify efforts towards making further in-roads into the retail segment of the market with new and innovative products that support small and medium-sized enterprises."

Notwithstanding that the domestic and global macroeconomic environment in this financial year is predicted to be challenging due to the volatility of commodity prices and global trade tensions, Amangbo, however, assured that the bank remains "optimistic and primed to harness potential opportunities for outstanding performance."

"We shall continue to be guided by our core strategy of adapting to market dynamics and the evolving needs of our customers as we seek to continually delight and surpass their expectations," he maintained.

He adding: "Our focus in the years ahead is to continually create an environment for our people to thrive, while creating value for all stakeholders.

Nigeria

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