The Group Managing Director of Zenith Bank, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, has described the 2.80 kobo dividend paid by the second largest financial institution by total asset as a “bounty”.
Onyeagwu who said this at the bank’s 29th Annual General Meeting, in Abuja, recently also expressed happiness that the shareholders were very pleased with the board and management for their impressive performance.
“The shareholders have every cause to be happy because of the bounty rewards we are giving to them. “On the whole, we are giving them dividends of N2.80 per share, which translate to a dividend yield of over 14 per cent. And when you look at it vis-à-vis the current share price, you are looking at a dividend of 15 per cent per annum.’’, Onyeagwu said.
According to him, “We have also assured the shareholders that no matter the challenges in the operating environment, the bank will continue to be efficiently managed, we will create value and we won’t be reckless because we want to comply with the regulation on the Loan/Deposit ratio. “We will also continue to remain ethical and focused, so shareholders have reasons to be happy.”
On Coronavirus Mr Onyeagu said since the outbreak of the coronavirus, his organization had made health a priority in its operations. He said:
“With regards to the coronavirus, it is a global pandemic and it is not peculiar to Nigeria, and what we have done as a bank is that we have made the health and safety of our staff a priority. We have elevated our health and safety protocol. So we are taking health precautionary measures.’’
According to the audited financial results for the 2019 financial year, Zenith Bank recorded a profit after tax (PAT) of N208.8 billion, an increase of eight per cent from the N193 billion recorded in the previous year, thus achieving the feat as the first Nigerian bank to cross the N200 billion mark.
The Group also recorded a growth in gross earnings of five per cent rising to N662.3 billion from N630.3 billion reported in the previous year.
This 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 continue to grow significantly with a 108 per cent Year on Year (Y-o-Y) growth from N20.4 billion in 2018 to N42.5 billion in the current year.
This is a validation of the bank’s retail transformation strategy which continues to deliver impressive results.
Profit before tax also increased by five per cent 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 per cent to 48.8 per cent.
The drive for cheaper retail deposits coupled with the low-interest yield environment helped reduce the cost of funding from 3.1 per cent to three per cent.
Zenith Bank has continued to move against the head and tail winds. A combination of innovations, and personalized customer services have calibrated its rating as a top financial institution. Analysts believe that Zenith Bank is arguably the biggest bank in Nigeria and is seen as one of the lenders that has made the biggest impact in the banking industry.
Those conversant with the growth of the bank have rated it highly as the top tier 1 financial institution. This notwithstanding, some analysts perceive the bank as one of the best managed in the banking industry. Industry experts hinged this perception on the highly experienced and qualitative persons in the management cadre.
“Zenith bank is one of such banks. However, I make bold to say that my experiences with Zenith bank is unrivalled. Zenith bank customer services sparkles or used to sparkle. These days, I hear that the standard has fallen a notch or two. But it is still the industry leader”, said a customer who would not want to be mentioned in print.