In a clear show of its resilience and market leadership, Zenith Bank has announced an impressive result for the year ended December 31, 2019 with profit after tax of N208.8 billion, achieving the feat as the first Nigerian Bank to do so.
According to the bank’s audited financial results for the 2019 financial year released in Lagos on Friday, profit after tax rose by 8 per cent to N208.8 billion from the N193 billion recorded in the previous year.
The Group also recorded a growth in gross earnings of 5 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 continues to grow significantly with a 108 per cent Year on Year 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 5 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 3.0 per cent.
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 YoY at 23.8 per cent and 3.4 per cent respectively, the Group still delivered an improved Earnings per Share, which grew 8 per cent from N6.15 to N6.65 in the current year.
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.
Total assets also increased by 7 per cent from N5.96 trillion to N6.35 trillion.
The Group created new viable risk assets as gross loans grew by 22 per cent from N2.016 trillion to N2.462 trillion.
This was executed prudently at a low cost of risk of 1.1 per cent and a significant reduction in the non-performing loan ratio from 4.98 per cent to 4.30 per cent.
Prudential ratios such as liquidity and capital adequacy ratios also remained above regulatory thresholds at 57.3 per cent and 22.0 per cent respectively.
In demonstration of its commitment to its shareholders, the bank has announced a proposed final dividend pay-out of N2.50 per share, bringing the total dividend to N2.80 per share.
A statement by the lender on Friday said: “In 2020, the Group 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 as the 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.”