Ebeneezer Onyeagwu, Zenith Bank MD
Zenith Bank MD, Ebenezer Onyeagwu

BY EMEKA EJERE

Zenith Bank Plc at the weekend recorded an addition to its many laurels, emerging the Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria in the World Finance Banking Awards 2021.

According to the July 2021 edition of the World Finance Magazine, the rank was based on individual banks’ ability to adapt to a continually evolving technological environment while maintaining top-class customer relations and bolstering their financial footing amidst the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This comes barely two weeks after the tier 1 lender emerged as the best lender in the West African sub-region, according to data released by the Banker Magazine, a subsidiary of the Financial Times Group.

Earlier in June, Zenith Bank, for the second consecutive year, was named as the Best Corporate Governance ‘Financial Services’ Africa 2021 by the Ethical Boardroom. The award, which was published in the June 2021 edition of The Ethical Boardroom magazine, was in recognition of the bank’s adherence to global best practices and institutionalization of corporate governance, setting an industry-wide example of best practices in that field.

It has been award and recognition galore for the bank in recent times driven by its track record of excellent performance and commitment to global best practices. Zenith Bank was voted as Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards 2020, Best Bank in Nigeria in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards 2020 and 2021.

Also, the bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands 2020 and 2021, and Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital in the “2020 Top 1000 World Banks” Ranking by The Banker Magazine among many others.

Zenith Bank has been generally adjudged a Corporate Governance compliant bank by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), hence its listing on the Premium Board of the Exchange. The bank continues to sustain this reputation and reappraise its processes to ensure that its business conforms to the highest global standards at all times.

Commenting on the latest award, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu said: “This recognition reflects our resilience and ability to adapt to a very challenging macroeconomic environment exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as our commitment to creating value for our teeming customers through our best-in-class service and innovative products and solutions.”

The resilience reflected clearly in the bank’s impressive result for the year ended December 31, 2020, with a year-on-year growth of 10% in profit after tax (PAT) from N208.8 billion recorded in 2019 to N230.7 billion. According to its audited financial results for the 2020 financial year, the Group recorded a growth in gross earnings of 5% from N662.3 billion in the previous year to N696.5 billion.

The Group also recorded 8% growth in non-interest income from NGN232.1 billion in 2019 to NGN251.7 billion in 2020 and a 1% increase in interest income from NGN415.6 billion in 2019 to NGN420.8 billion in 2020. Profit before tax (PBT) also increased by 5%, growing from N243.3 billion in 2019 to N255.9 billion in the year under review. Interest expense reduced from N148.5 billion in 2019 to N121.1 billion in 2020, significantly increasing the net interest income from NGN267.0 billion in 2019 to NGN299.7 billion in 2020.

Its total assets also increased significantly by 34%, from N6.35 trillion to N8.48 trillion. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated challenges, the Group created new viable risk assets as gross loans grew by 19%, from N2.46 trillion to N2.92 trillion.

With its core business strategy anchored on People, Technology and Service, the bank leverages robust Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure to provide cutting-edge solutions and products through its network of branches and electronic/digital channels to create value for its numerous clientele.

World Finance is a leading international magazine providing comprehensive coverage and analysis of the financial industry, international business and the global economy.

The editorial combines award-winning reportage, covering a broad range of topics from banking and insurance to wealth management and infrastructure investment, with contributions from some of the world’s most well-respected economists and theorists as well as consultants in government think tanks and the World Economic Forum.

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