By Seyi Babalola
At the 32nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Zenith Bank Plc, held virtually from the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, on Tuesday, 2 May 2023, shareholders of the bank unanimously approved the proposed final dividend payment of NGN2.90 per share. This brings the total dividend for the 2022 financial year to NGN3.20 per share, with a total value of NGN100.47 billion.
In his opening statement at the AGM, Jim Ovia, CFR, founder and chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, expressed his gratitude to the shareholders for their unwavering loyalty, commitment, and support, which have been instrumental in the bank’s outstanding performance since its inception.
Group Managing Director/Chief Executive, Dr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, extolled the founder and chairman, Jim Ovia, CFR, for establishing the legacy and providing the template for the bank’s continued superior performance. He also highlighted the Board and Management’s determination to maintain the bank’s growth trajectory in the coming years, with an emphasis on digital and retail banking.
Speaking at the AGM, Dr. Faruk Umar, President of the Association of the Rights of Nigerian Shareholders (AARNS), commended the Board and Management of Zenith Bank for consistently delivering value to shareholders, despite the challenging economic environment. He also praised the bank’s staff for their loyalty and dedication.
Chief Timothy Adesiyan, President, Shareholders Solidarity Association of Nigeria, expressed delight at the dividend payout and thanked the Board and Management for the outstanding performance that led to approving both an interim and final dividend during the year.
Also speaking, Mrs. Adenike David, National Coordinator of the Esteemed Shareholders Association of Nigeria, congratulated the bank and Chairman on their exceptional performance, as evidenced by the numerous awards received during the 2022 financial year. She also praised the bank for paying an interim dividend of 30 kobo and a final dividend of 2.90 kobo.
Despite challenging macroeconomic conditions, Zenith Bank Group achieved a 24% growth in gross earnings, from NGN765.6 billion in the previous year to NGN945.5 billion in 2022. This was driven by a 26% YoY growth in interest income and a 23% YoY growth in non-interest income. Customer deposits grew by 39%, reflecting the bank’s market leadership and customers’ trust.
Net-Interest-Margin (NIM) increased from 6.7% to 7.2%, positively impacted by the elevated yield environment. Operating expenses grew by 17% YoY, though still below the inflation rate. Total assets rose by 30%, primarily due to growth in customer deposits.
In 2023, Zenith Bank Group plans to expand its reach and reorganise into a holding company structure, adding new verticals to its businesses and pursuing growth in all chosen markets, locally and internationally.
Zenith Bank’s track record of excellent performances has continued to earn the brand numerous awards including being recognised as the 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; Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards 2020 and 2022; 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, and Retail Bank of the year, for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022, at the BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards.
Similarly, Zenith Bank was named as Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the ThisDay Awards 2020, Most Innovative Bank of the Year 2019 by Tribune Newspaper, Bank of the Year 2020 by Independent Newspaper, Bank of the Year 2021 by Champion Newspaper, Bank of the Year 2022 by New Telegraph Newspaper, and Most Responsible Organisation in Africa 2021 by SERAS Awards.