NIGERIA – Nigerian multinational financial services provider, Zenith Bank Plc has revealed that its gross earnings increased by four per cent from US$1.31 billion (N474.6bn) in the third quarter of 2018 to US$1.36 billion (N491.26bn) in third quarter of 2019.

A statement from the group said its profit before tax grew by five per cent from US$462.79 million (N167.3bn) in third quarter of 2018 to US$ 487.36 million (N176.18bn) in Q3 of 2019.

Profit after tax for the financial services provider rose by five per cent from US$ 398.81 million (N144.17bn) in Q3 2018 to US$ 416.93 million (N150.72bn) in Q3 2019.

“Despite a challenging macro-economic backdrop, the group recorded a significant growth in non-interest income, expanding by 22 per cent from N128.7bn (US$356.02 million) in Q3 2018 to N156.8bn (US$433.75 million) for the current period,” the company stated.

Zenith also said, “Our platforms and channels have been the enablers of this growth, with fees from electronic products doubling to N35.3bn (US$97.65 million) from N17.6bn (US$ 48.69 million) in Q3 2018.”

“Our cost optimisation strategies and aggressive retail banking drive are yielding the desired effects as cost-to-income ratio declined from 51.2 per cent in Q3 2018 to 50.1 per cent in Q3 2019 with earnings per share growing by five per cent from N4.58 (US$12.67 million) in Q3 2018 to N4.80 (US$13.28 million) in Q3 2019,” Zenith revealed.

The group said its retail and corporate banking franchises continued its momentum with customers’ deposits growing by seven per cent to US$10.93 billion (N3.95tn), from US$10.21 billion (N3.69tn) recorded as of December 2018.

This, it said, was testimony of increasing share of the industry’s deposits and customers’ confidence in the Zenith brand.

These deposit acquisitions according to Zenith, had directly contributed to its cost of funds, improving from 3.3 per cent in Q3 2018 to 2.95 per cent as of Q3 2019.

Zenith said that it has continued to deploy capital to creating viable risk assets with gross loans and advances growing by nine per cent from US$5.59 billion (N2.02tn) as of December 2018 to US$6.09 billion (N2.2tn) as of Q3 2019 across both the retail and corporate segments.

 The financial institution said that its robust risk management framework has ensured that non-performing loans ratio declined from 4.98 per cent in December 2018 to 4.95 per cent in the current period.

It further added that commitment to maintaining a shock-proof balance sheet remains, with liquidity and capital adequacy ratios at 63.8 per cent and 23.8 per cent, respectively, both above regulatory thresholds.”

Currently, Zenith Bank’s focus remains the search for bankable lending opportunities to ensure the attainment of the minimum regulatory loan-to-deposit ratio of 65 per cent by December 31, 2019 without compromising its prudence.

The group revealed that it  also plans to sustain its competitiveness and share of market in the corporate segment as well as build upon its digital foundation to reinforce its retail banking initiatives.