Zenith Bank Plc has announced its audited results for half-year ended 30 June 2021, recording positive growth across key financial metrics despite a challenging macroeconomic environment exacerbated by COVID 19.
According to the financial results presented to the Nigerian Exchange (NGX), the Group recorded a growth in profit before tax of three per cent from N114 billion reported in H1’20 to N117 billion in H1’21.
The Group also recorded a nine per cent growth in non-interest income from N116 billion in June 2020 to N127 billion in June 2021. Overall, the significant reduction in interest expense by 26 per cent and growth in non-interest income by nine per cent culminated in improved profitability.
The Group’s retail journey continues to deliver positive results as retail deposits grew by N38.2 billion from N1.72 trillion to N1.76 trillion year-to-date (YTD). Savings balances grew marginally by two per cent YTD to close at N1.18 trillion from N1.16 trillion as at December 2020.
The drive for increased retail deposits and a low-interest yield environment helped reduce the cost of funding from 2.2 per cent to 1.3 per cent in the current period. Operating expenses grew by 10 per cent YoY, but growth remains below the inflation rate, while the Group improved its Earnings per Share (EPS) which grew two per cent from N3.30 to N3.38 for the half-year ended June 2021.
The Group also increased total customer deposits by eight per cent to close the period at N5.77 trillion, demonstrating growth in the market share. Total assets grew marginally to N8.52 trillion as at 30 June 2021 from N8.48 trillion recorded as at December 31, 2020.
Despite the pandemic induced challenges and the challenging operating environment, the Group grew its risk assets as gross loans were up by three per cent YTD, from N2.92 trillion to N2.99 trillion. This was conservatively achieved at a low Non-Performance Loans (NPL) ratio of 4.51 per cent (FYE 2020: 4.29%) and a reduced cost of risk of 1.3 per cent (June 2020: 1.8%). Prudential ratios such as liquidity and capital adequacy also remained above regulatory thresholds at 69.9 per cent and 22.0 per cent, respectively.
Analysts note that despite the continued prevalence of COVID-19, there is cautious optimism that the global economy will continue to recover as vaccination programmes are intensified.
For instance, on the domestic economy, Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 5.01 per cent in the second quarter of 2021, and the inflation rate, which peaked in March 2021 at 18.17 per cent, is gradually trending down (currently at 17.38 per cent as at July 2021).
According to analysts, Zenith Bank is well-positioned to maximise the opportunities that these recovering fundamentals present while leveraging technology to expand its retail footprints to deliver improved returns to all its stakeholders.