In a clear demonstration of its industry leadership and consistency in providing superior financial returns, Zenith Bank Plc has announced its audited results for the half-year ended 30 June 2022, recording an astounding double-digit growth of 17% in gross earnings from N346 billion reported in H1 2021 to N405 billion in H1 2022. This is in spite of a very challenging macroeconomic environment.
According to the bank’s audited half-year financial results presented to the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) on Tuesday, 23rd August 2022, this growth was underpinned by a 19% YoY growth in interest income from NGN204 billion to NGN242 billion and an 18% YoY growth in non-interest income from NGN127 billion to NGN149 billion. The growth in interest income was driven by the modest increase in the loan book and improved interest margins. The increase in non-interest income attests to the Group’s success in its income diversification strategy.
Profit before tax (PBT) grew 11% year-on-year (YoY) from NGN117 billion to NGN130 billion. Earnings per share (EPS) also grew from NGN3.38 to NGN3.55 over the same 6-month period.
The Group also recorded an 11% year-to-date (YtD) increase in total customer deposits to close the period at NGN7.15 trillion. The retail strategy of the Group continues to deliver outstanding results as retail deposits grew by 17% YtD from NGN1.82 trillion to NGN2.13 trillion. Retail activities also supported the growth recorded in fees on electronic products which grew by 45% YoY from NGN17 billion to NGN25 billion.
Despite the elevated yield environment, the cost of funds increased only marginally from 1.3% in June 2021 to 1.4% in June 2022. The increase in the cost of funds was lower than the increase in yields on interest-generating assets, giving rise to an improved Net Interest Margin (NIM) of 7.1% from 6.4% in June 2021.
Total assets rose to NGN10.12 trillion at the end of June 2022 from NGN9.45 trillion at the end of December 2021. Despite the headwinds imposed by the operating environment, the Group grew its risk assets as gross loans grew by 5% YtD, from NGN3.5 trillion to NGN3.7 trillion. This was achieved at a moderate NPL ratio of 4.4% (FYE 2021: 4.2%) and cost of risk of 1.4% (June 2021: 1.3%). Prudential ratios such as liquidity and capital adequacy also remained stable and well-above regulatory thresholds at 60.5% and 21.0% respectively.
The Group is focused on advancing its digital banking strategy anchored on a strong technology base, and intends to consolidate on the gains achieved in prior years across all business segments. Combined with the Group’s industry leadership, we expect this to drive improved performance and deliver enhanced returns to stakeholders.
Zenith Bank’s track record of excellent performance has continued to earn the brand numerous awards, including being recognised as Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital, for the 13th consecutive year, in the 2022 Top 1000 World Banks Ranking published by The Banker Magazine; Best Bank in Nigeria, for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022, in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards; Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria 2021 and 2022 in the World Finance Banking Awards; Best Corporate Governance Bank, Nigeria in the World Finance Corporate Governance Awards 2022; Best in Corporate Governance ‘Financial Services’ Africa, for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022, by the Ethical Boardroom; Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria and Best Innovation In Retail Banking, Nigeria in the International Banker 2022 Banking Awards. Also, the Bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands 2020 and 2021, Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards 2020 and 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.
CBN Extends Letter of Credit Issuance Timeline Amid Forex Crisis
Move Aims to Address FX Scarcity Challenges and Enhance Customer Service
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced an extension of the timeline for issuing letters of credit from 24 hours to five working days, according to the newly approved 2023 service charter.
This adjustment comes as the country grapples with foreign exchange scarcity, impacting local and international trade.
The 2020 service charter initially stipulated a 24-hour timeline for the issuance and management of letters of credit, but the updated charter now reflects a timeline extension to five working days.
Also, the CBN has prolonged the timeline for the registration of Form M and NXP from 24 hours to two working days.
The move follows the CBN’s unification of all forex market segments in June 2023, aimed at promoting liquidity and stability.
However, this measure appears to have led to increased market instability, with the naira losing nearly a fifth of its value.
Reports indicate that foreign suppliers are now rejecting letters of credit from Nigerian businesses, affecting the importation of goods and services.
Letters of credit are crucial for the payment of visible goods imports, wherein a bank commits in writing to pay the exporter a specified sum within a defined timeframe upon receipt of proper documentation from the customer.
The extended timelines for letters of credit, Forms M, and NXP in the service charter are seen as measures to manage cash flow and instill confidence in the process amidst the ongoing forex crisis.
CBN Governor Yemi Cardoso stressed the commitment to responsive and citizen-friendly governance through efficient, responsible, and transparent service delivery in the revised service charter.
The move is part of the CBN’s effort to comply with the Business Facilitation Act 2022 and enhance ease of doing business in Nigeria.
Unity Bank MD Advocates Policy Actions to Stem Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria
The Managing Director of Unity Bank Plc, Mrs. Tomi Somefun has called for comprehensive policy actions that will dismantle the structures that enable gender-based violence in Nigeria.
At the Ebony Life Cinema, the venue of the film screening in Lagos, Unity Bank supported the BECKMA movie premiere by ARDA Development Commuications Inc. which was held to highlight issues of Gender-Based violence and driving positive change in society.
Making the call, Somefun stated that the Bank committed to partnering with the movie premiere and putting the power of the brand behind BECKMA as the event brings sustainability and gender equality to the front burner.
Represented by Unity Bank’s Group Head of Compliance, Mrs. Patricia Ahunanya, Somefun noted that “9 percent of women aged 15 to 49 had suffered sexual assault at least once in their lifetime and 31% had experienced physical violence,” citing a recent study by UNDP in Nigeria.
Speaking further, Somefun said “Gender-based violence is not just a women’s issue, but a societal ill that demands our collective attention. It is high time for us to step forward and advocate for comprehensive policy actions that will dismantle the structures allowing such atrocities to persist”.
She added, “I urge policymakers to enact stringent laws against gender-based violence, ensuring swift and severe consequences for perpetrators. Our homes and various organisations must also be a catalyst for change, inspiring others to follow suit.”
While commending the ARDA Development Communications Inc. for their initiatives to promote gender equality and empowerment in line with SDG5, Somefun assured of the Bank’s commitment to sustainable initiatives and further collaborative initiatives and advocacy programmes for the elimination of gender-based violence.
Nigeria’s NIBSS Directs Banks to Disconnect Non-Deposit Financial Institutions from NIP System
Banks in Nigeria have received a directive from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) to disconnect Switches, Payment Solution Service Providers (PSSPs), and Super Agents from the NIBSS Instant Payment Outwards System.
The circular, dated December 5, 2023, highlighted that including these non-deposit-taking financial institutions as beneficiaries on the NIP funds transfer channels violates the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) guideline on electronic payments.
The NIBSS emphasized that while Switches, PSSPs, and Super Agents might process outward transfers as inflows to banks, their licenses do not permit them to hold customers’ funds.
The circular referred to the CBN’s guidelines on electronic payment of salaries, pensions, suppliers, and taxes, dated February 2014, as the basis for this regulatory stance.
The directive also pointed to a circular dated May 11, 2018, titled “Permissible Services and Products of PSSP Operation in Nigeria,” reinforcing the need for compliance.
As a result, banks were urged to delist all Switches, PSSPs, and Super Agents from the NIP Outward Transfer channels while allowing their participation in inward transfers.
In Nigeria’s payment ecosystem, operators are required to obtain licenses such as Switching and Processing, Mobile Money Operations, Payment Solution Services, or Regulatory Sandbox from the CBN.
Only Mobile Money Operators (MMOs) have the authority to hold customer funds, according to the CBN’s regulatory framework.
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