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Banking Sector

Zenith Bank Remains Resolute, Beats Market Expectations With Double-Digit Growth in Gross Earnings

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Zenith Bank - Investors King

Zenith Bank Plc has announced an impressive result for the year ended December 31, 2021, recording a double-digit growth of 10% in gross earnings which rose to N765.6 billion from N696.5 billion reported in the previous year. This is despite a challenging macroeconomic environment aggravated by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to the bank’s audited financial results for the 2021 financial year presented to the Nigeria Exchange Group (NGX), the Group achieved year-on-year (YoY) growth in gross earnings of 10% from NGN696.5 billion reported in the previous year to N765.6billion. This was on the back of 23% YoY growth in non-interest income from N251.7billion to N309billion and a 2% YoY growth in interest income from N420.8billion to NGN427.6billion.

Profit before tax also grew by 10% from NGN255.9 billion to NGN280.4 billion in the current year. The increase was due to growth in the top-line and very strong management of the treasury portfolio that increased efficiency, resulting in a drop in interest expense by 12% from NGN121.1 billion in 2020 to NGN106.8 billion in the current year. This further led to a 7% increase in net interest income of NGN320.8 billion in 2021 from NGN299.7 billion in 2020.

Customer deposits increased by 21%, growing from NGN5.34 trillion in the previous year to NGN6.47 trillion in the current year. The growth in customer deposits came from both corporate and retail customers. Retail deposits grew by NGN146 billion from NGN1.72 trillion in 2020 to NGN1.87 trillion in 2021. The Group’s continuous drive for retail deposits combined with the strategic rebalancing of its funding base helped to reduce the cost of funding from 2.1% to 1.5% in the current year. Although operating expenses grew by 13% YoY, growth remains below the inflation rate, and the Group improved its Earnings per Share (EPS) which grew by 6% from NGN7.34 to NGN7.78.

Total assets increased by 11%, growing from NGN8.48 trillion in 2020 to NGN9.45 trillion in 2021, mainly driven by growth in customer deposits. With the steady recovery in economic activities, the Group prudently grew its gross loans by 20%, from NGN2.9 trillion in 2020 to NGN3.5 trillion in 2021, with moderated NPL ratio from 4.29% to 4.19% YoY. The Group recorded impressive liquidity and capital adequacy ratios of 71.6% and 21.0%, which remained above regulatory thresholds of 30% and 15%, respectively.

In 2022, the Group intends to consolidate on the gains achieved in the previous year in all business segments and combine leadership in the industry, innovation and technology to drive improved performance and deliver enhanced returns to all stakeholders.

As a testament to its commitment to its shareholders, the bank has announced a proposed final dividend payout of N2.80 per share, bringing the total dividend to N3.10 per share.

Zenith Bank has continued to distinguish itself in the Nigerian financial services industry through superior service offerings, unique customer experience and sound financial indices. The bank remains a clear leader in the digital space with several firsts in deploying innovative products, solutions and an assortment of alternative channels that ensure convenience, speed and safety of transactions.

In recognition of its track record of excellent performance, Zenith Bank was voted as Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria in the World Finance Banking Awards 2021, Best Bank in Nigeria in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards 2020 and 2021, Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards 2020, and Best in Corporate Governance ‘Financial Services’ Africa 2020 and 2021 by the Ethical Boardroom. Also, the bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands 2020 and 2021, Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital in the “2021 Top 1000 World Banks” Ranking by The Banker Magazine and the Retail Bank of the year at the BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Awards 2020 and 2021.

Similarly, Zenith Bank was honoured as Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the ThisDay Awards 2020 and emerged winner in four categories at the Sustainability, Enterprise, and Responsibility (SERAS) Awards 2021, carting home the awards for “Best Company in Reporting and Transparency”, “Best Company in Infrastructure Development”, “Best Company in Gender Equality and Women Empowerment”, and the coveted “Most Responsible Organisation in Africa.

 

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Banking Sector

FirstBank Rewards Customers in Its Firstmobile Cash-out Promo

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firstmobile

In collaboration with Interswitch, FirstBank has launched a promo to reward users of the FirstMobile app, its industry-leading mobile banking application. The promo tagged FirstMobile Cash-out Promo will run for 3 months. The promo, which started on Monday, 21st March 2022 will end on Tuesday, 21st June 2022.

Various prizes including, N1,000,000, N40,000, N10,000.00 cash prizes, N40,000 Airtime, LED Televisions, refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioning systems will be won in the course of the three months campaign. A minimum of two bills payment worth N1000 and five airtimes of at least a total of N2000 in a week qualify a customer for any of the prizes. The promo is open to new customers and existing users of the FirstMobile app.

FirstMobile customers who do a minimum of 6 transactions weekly on the FirstMobile app, will be eligible for the respective rewards: N10,000 cash for 200 winners; Gift items (TVs, Refrigerators and AC) for 10 winners; N10,000 airtime for 340 winners.

On the other hand, 500 customers that carry out a minimum of 10 transactions monthly will win N30,000 cash. The Grand Prize of N1,000,000 will be won by 2 lucky customers who carry out a minimum of 20 transactions or a minimum of two bills payment of N1000 plus five airtime transactions of at least a total of N5000 in a week.

Speaking on the campaign, Chuma Ezirim, FirstBank’s Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Products said, “as the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria, we are delighted to partner with Interswitch, an Africa-oriented technology-driven company, to reward our customers for their continuous patronage. Together with Interswitch, we remain committed to ensuring the continued safety of customers’ funds across multiple electronic payment channels irrespective of where our customers may be across the world. FirstMobile remains another obvious step towards leveraging evolving technologies to bring fast and convenient digital banking solutions to our customers”.

FirstMobile is built to reflect FirstBank’s resolve at reinforcing the digitisation of payment systems, whilst putting customers at an edge to conveniently meet their everyday needs at any time, irrespective of where they are. The app provides convenient access to both financial and non-financial transactions by FirstBank account holders via their mobile devices. It is sleek and convenient to use – evident in its easy enrolment process as all FirstBank customers with Verve and Naira Mastercards can begin using the app without having cause to visit a FirstBank branch. It is also poised to offer a more reliable and more convenient overall digital banking experience.

To set up the FirstMobile app, customers with android phones should visit the Google Play store to download and install the FirstMobile app. Customers with Apple devices can download it from the Apple Store. Once installed, customers are required to open the app, tap the register button, and use their FirstBank issued Naira MasterCard or Verve card to activate the app. After details have been inputted, an OTP code will be sent via an SMS to your phone number that is linked to your bank account and you are then required to Input a 5 digits code that will be your login password, select two security questions and answer them, create a personalised 4 digits transaction pin that will help your confirm transactions. Upon the conclusion of these steps above, click Done and start enjoying the app.

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Banking Sector

CBN Issues Directive For Open Banking to Improve Financial Services

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Central Bank

In an effort to stimulate innovation and widen the range of financial products and services available to banks’ customers, the apex regulatory bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has established the legal framework for Open Banking in Nigeria.

This was revealed in a circular titled ‘Operational guidelines for open banking in Nigeria’ which was obtained by Investors King.

The Regulatory Framework for Open Banking in Nigeria, according to the CBN, establishes standards for data sharing across the banking and payments systems in order to stimulate innovation and expand the range of financial products and services available to bank customers.

According to the CBN, the financial sector data guideline would allow clients to access innovative financial products and services.

The Apex bank said: “Open banking recognises the ownership and control of data by customers of financial and non-financial services, and their right to grant authorisations to service providers to access innovative financial products and services. This is anticipated to drive competition and improve access to banking and payments services”.

The CBN also added that participants in open banking shall adhere strictly to security standards when accessing and storing data, and shall be subject to minimum privacy standards, operational standards, risk management standards and customer experience standards as prescribed by the Bank.

According to the CBN, any organization with customer data that may be transferred with other businesses in order to deliver innovative financial services within Nigeria is eligible to participate in the Open Banking ecosystem.

Open banking is a banking practice in which banks and non-bank financial organizations provide third-party financial service providers open access to customer banking, transaction, and other financial data via application programming interfaces (APIs).

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Banking Sector

FY 2021: Unity Bank Grosses N50.28bn in Earnings and N3.33bn in Profit

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Unity bank - Investors King

Unity Bank Plc has declared a profit before tax of N3.33 billion in the financial year ended December 2021, indicating a 49.9 percent increase from the N2.22 billion it recorded in 2020.

Similarly, a review of the lender’s 2021 full-year result filed with the Nigeria Exchange Group showed a significant improvement in its bottom line as Profit after tax rose by 52.1 percent to N3.17 billion from N2.09 recorded in the corresponding period of 2021.

The bank also grew gross earnings, rising by 8.1 percent to N50.28 billion from N46.52 billion in 2021.
This comes on the heels of a faster than expected recovery from the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, which provided an opportunity for the lender to expand its retail footprint through strategic product offerings that appealed to broader segments of the market.

Another key highlight of the agribusiness-focused lender’s financial performance is the growth of its assets, which rose by 9.5 percent to close at N538.87 billion from N482.02 billion in 2020, cumulating three years of consecutive high growth.

Equally, the Bank grew assets by 39 percent and 67.9 percent in 2019 and 2020 respectively to see a rebound with an even greater resurgence in the lender’s profitability for two successive years.

Also, in the year under review, the lender grew its loan portfolio significantly, increasing by 33.2 percent to N269.27 billion from N202.08 billion, following the Bank’s aggressive focus on boosting its liquid assets base.

Another top-line performance of the audited financial statements recorded was growth in the lender’s net operating income, which rose to N28.41 billion from N21.3 billion in the corresponding period of 2020, representing a 10.9 per cent increase. This is even as the net interest income recorded a significant jump by 12.2 percent to N20.05 billion from N17.74 billion in the corresponding period of 2020. Earnings per Share closed at 27.15 Kobo.

Commenting on the result, the Managing Director/CEO, Unity Bank Plc, Mrs. Tomi Somefun, stated that the key performance indicators have continued on a trajectory of healthy balance sheet growth, asset quality and profitability achieved on the back of deft diversification of the Bank’s earnings base that balances out fairly in asset creation, investments and trade activities and riding on the innovative customer-centric product offerings for both the retail and consumer segments of the market.

She shared the optimism that given the increased focus of the Bank on growing its retail footprints supported by significant investment being made in technology to expand its digital banking space, the growing contribution of the channels and platforms delivery will further boost the multiple streams of income in the coming years.

She further stated, “the Bank’s growing profile in Agribusiness has now placed it on a pedestal that enables it to attract significant value chain businesses for the continuous growth of its Retail and SME Banking whilst the Bank consistently deploys product development/marketing initiatives to further grow the brand franchise, maximise the benefits and boost retail growth to double digits”.

Overall, positive sentiments around the repositioning of the Bank and the outcome continue to dominate opinion among analysts as informed by the outlook for the future and as market confidence continues to improve.

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