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Zenith Bank Emerges Best Bank In Nigeria In The Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards 2020

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Zenith Bank

Zenith Bank Plc, Nigeria’s leading financial institution, has emerged as the Best Bank in Nigeria in the recently released Global Finance Magazine World’s Best Banks Awards 2020.

The awards, which was published in the May 2020 edition of the Global Finance Magazine, was based on the performances of the banks in their respective regions and countries over the period from January 1 to December 31, 2019.

Global Finance’s “World’s Best Banks Awards” are recognized amongst the world’s most influential banking/finance and corporate professionals as the most coveted and credible awards in the banking industry, with winners chosen in more than 150 countries across Africa, Asia-Pacific, Central & Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, North America and Western Europe.

Founded in 1987, Global Finance regularly selects the top performers among banks and other providers of financial services and the awards have become a trusted standard of excellence for the global financial community.

Commenting on the recognition, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive of Zenith Bank, Mr, Ebenezer Onyeagwu said that “this award is a clear demonstration of the bank’s market leadership, occasioned by our superior product offerings, best-in-class service and top-of-the-range technology which create value for our teeming customers.”

Zenith Bank has clearly distinguished itself in the Nigerian financial services industry through superior service quality, unique customer experience and sound financial indices. The bank, with a knack for setting the pace and raising benchmarks, is a clear leader in the digital space with several firsts in the deployment of innovative products, solutions and an assortment of alternative channels that ensure convenience, speed and safety of transactions.

As a testament to its resilience and market leadership, Zenith Bank announced an impressive result for the year ended December 31, 2019, with profit after tax (PAT) of N208.8 billion, achieving the feat as the first Nigerian Bank to cross the N200 billion mark. In the recently released Q1 2020 unaudited financial results, the bank also recorded an improved result over the corresponding period in 2019, with gross earnings rising by 6% to N166.8 billion and profit before tax (PAT) growing 3% to N58.8 billion.

Consistent with this superlative performance and in recognition of its track record of exceptional performance, Zenith Bank was ranked as the Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria 2019 by the World Finance and the Best Digital Bank in Nigeria 2019 by Agusto & Co. The bank was also voted as Bank of the Year and Best Bank in Retail Banking at the 2019 BusinessDay Banks and other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards. Most recently, the bank was recognized as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria, for the third consecutive year, in the Banker Magazine “Top 500 Banking Brands 2020” and the Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the ThisDay Awards 2020.

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CBN To Impose N10 Million Fine On Banks For GSI Violations

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CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele

The Central Bank of Nigeria would impose a fine of N10m on any bank that contravenes the Global Standing Instruction guidelines.

The GSI is the guideline that would allow banks to directly debit the account of loan defaulters.

It was issued pursuant of the powers conferred on the Central Bank of Nigeria by Section 2 (d) of the apex bank Act, 2007 and would help promote a sound financial system in Nigeria;

Specifically, the GSI is targeted at reducing non performing loans in the banking system by enhancing loan recovery across the banking sector.

The CBN had mooted the idea last year during a meeting held in Lagos with members of the Bankers Committee.

During that meeting, it had granted Deposit Money Banks the approval to directly debit bank accounts belonging to loan defaulters across all banks in the country.

An analysis of the guideline done by this Newspaper showed that where the Arbitrator rules against a Creditor Bank for a disputed GSI transaction, then the Creditor Bank would pay an additional fine of N10m or ten per cent of the disputed sum, whichever is greater.

The N10m is expected to be in addition to the fines for any erroneous or otherwise disputed transaction.

Under the GSI guideline, only principal and interest can be swept from the other accounts, penal charges are not included in the amount to be taken from the defaulters other account.

The guideline stipulated that where a Creditor Bank includes Penal Charge in the GSI trigger amount, regardless of the amount recovered, the erring Creditor Bank would refund the full Penal Charge amount to the
borrower.

This is expected to be done with interest calculated using the penal rate from date of GSI trigger to refund date.

In the event of both a successful and unsuccessful GSI Trigger, the erring Creditor Bank according to the guideline is expected pay a fine of N100,000 or equivalent of the Penal Charge amount; whichever is greater.

Also, where a Creditor Bank
activates a GSI mandate in error, including when it is inconsistent with Prudential Guidelines, the Creditor Bank is expected to assume all liability, and would be expected to pay a fine of N500,000 per incident.

The CBN guideline stated further that associated GSI charges borne by the Creditor Bank would not be refundable.

The guideline also stated that where a PFI incorrectly places a CBN approved restriction on an eligible account in order to shield it from the GSI Trigger and it results in the GSI being unable to either perform an Account Status Check Enquiry or debit the account, the erring PFI would be fined to the tune of the amount in that restricted/shielded eligible account.

It stated that this amount would not be considered as part of any subsequent GSI Trigger amount, whether it is successful or otherwise.

In addition, for each incident, the apex bank said in the guideline that the Chief Risk Officer of the erring PFI would be expected to submit a formal explanation letter to the Director Banking Supervision and Director Financial Policy and Regulation Departments.

In all cases, the guideline stated that the CBN would apply the prescribed penalty to the erring creditor bank or the financial institution.

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JUST IN: Access Bank Seeks To Buy Zambian Bank

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Access Bank Plc has commenced an exclusive discussion towards full acquisition of Cavmont Bank Limited, a Zambia-based financial institution.

Access Bank is seeking to consummate the acquisition through its Zambian subsidiary, Access Bank Zambia Limited.

In a regulatory filing at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Access Bank stated that it has entered discussions to acquire 100 per cent equity stake in Cavmont Bank Limited from Cavmont Capital Holdings Zambia Plc, the sole owner of Cavmont Bank.

While the discussions on the merger have reached advanced stage, Access Bank stated that there is no certainty yet on agreement or terms of the transaction, urging investors to exercise caution when dealing on its shares.

According to the bank, the completion of the transaction is subject to formal regulatory approvals.

“Access Bank will update the market as appropriate and in accordance with its disclosure obligations,” Access Bank stated.

Access Bank had last year acquired Diamond Bank Plc in a merger that leapfrogged the first-tier commercial bank atop the retail banking segment.

The business combination with Diamond Bank nudged Access Bank’s rating as a leading Tier 1 Nigerian bank into the largest bank in Africa by number of customers, spanning three continents, 12 countries, 3,100 Automated Teller Machine (ATM), more than 33,000 Point of Sales (PoS) terminals, 27 million clients and more than 10 million mobile customers.

Group Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, Dr Herbert Wigwe, has said the bank’s strategic plan is to become the most important bank and gateway to Africa.

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Fidelity Bank Appoints Mustafa Chike-Obi Chairman, As Ebi Retires

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Fidelity Bank Plc has announced that two of its Board members: Mr. Ernest Ebi (MFR) who has been serving as Chairman, Board of Directors and Mr. Seni Adetu who has been serving as an Independent Non-Executive Director, having successfully completed their tenure in accordance with the Bank’s internal governance policy, will be stepping down from the Board.

Under the Chairmanship of Mr. Ernest Ebi, the Bank recorded significant growth across key financial metrics with both Messrs. Ebi and Adetu playing significant roles, complementing management effort in the delivery of these milestones; in service of the long term vision of the Bank. The Bank’s market share position has also been materially strengthened over this period.

The Board is also pleased to announce that the retiring Chairman will be succeeded by Mr. Mustafa Chike-Obi who is currently the Executive Vice Chairman at Alpha African Advisory.

He has over 40 years of experience in investment banking and the financial services sector, working with reputable global investment banking and asset management firms. He provides overall leadership at Alpha African Advisory and has direct oversight over the capital raising division.

Prior to joining Alpha African Advisory, he was the inaugural CEO, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), a Federal Government backed institution, established to resolve the problem of non-performing loan assets of Nigerian Banks after the 2008 global financial crisis.

Mr Chike-Obi was Founding President at Madison Advisors, a financial services advisory and consulting firm in New Jersey, specializing in hedge funds and private equity investment advice. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Lagos (First Class Honors) and an MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Mr. Ebi will however continue in the role until the in-coming Chairman assumes office, as part of the process of ensuring a smooth and successful transition. The changes being announced further attest to Fidelity Bank’s high governance standards and best practices in compliance with internal succession policies.

The outgoing Chairman expressed pride in the results that the Bank achieved during his time as Chairman. ‘I feel that the management team has consolidated on our plans to become one of the fastest-growing Banks in the country strongly rooted in technology only comparable with the best in the world.

I am confident that my successor will continue on that path to take the Bank to its next stage of growth and advancement. I wish my successor, the management team, and the entire staff of Fidelity Bank the very best for continued success”, he said.

Adetu, the outgoing Independent Non-Executive Director, said, “It has been an honor to be part of the Board over the last few years. Throughout this time, I have been humbled by the commitment and hard work of the Board and Management, and their passion for creating a truly global bank.

I am very grateful to them, as I am to Fidelity Bank’s many other stakeholders, with whom we have worked to build a long-term, sustainable business”.

The Managing Director/CEO, Fidelity Bank, Mr. Nnamdi John Okonkwo, commended the contributions of the outgoing Board members, saying that the Board and indeed the bank has benefited immensely from their experiences and looks forward to continuing the Bank’s upward growth trajectory with the incoming Chairman Designate.

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