Zenith Bank Plc has announced its unaudited results for the first quarter (Q1) ended 31st March 2021, showing a profit before tax (PBT) of N61 billion, which was four per cent higher than the N58.8 billion posted in the corresponding period of 2020. The bank’s Profit After Tax (PAT) also grew by five per cent to N53.1 per cent from N50.5 billion in Q1 2020.
According to the bank, the profitability was driven by the optimisation of the cost of funds and improvement in non-interest income as its cost of funds reduced significantly from 2.6 per cent in March 2020 to 1.1 per cent in March 2021.
Non-interest income increased by 10 per cent from N46.6 billion to N51.2 billion, driven by growth in credit-related fees and fees on electronic products.
Similarly, non-interest income was boosted by the increase in fees and commission income, which resulted from the increased volume of transactions across all the bank’s channels.
Cost of risk dropped from 0.6 per cent in March 2020 to 0.5 per cent in March 2021, which affirmed the bank’s prudent risk management, while gross loans increased by two per cent from N2.92 trillion to N2.98 trillion in Q1 2021.
Zenith Bank said its robust customer acquisition strategy and the effectiveness of its electronic platforms and digital channels enabled it to deliver a N54 billion increment in the savings account balance, which is solely retail.
Specifically, customer deposits grew by six per cent from N5.34 trillion in December 2020 to N5.68 trillion in March 2021. Transactions on electronic channels also grew astoundingly as new customers continue to be attracted to the Bank’s various user-friendly digital platforms.
According to the bank, going forward in 2021, it expects the ongoing economic recovery and improvements in the yield environment would translate into improved numbers.
“This is expected to be supported by local and international COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, rising commodity prices, and global economic growth of up to six per cent, as estimated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“The Group will continue to position itself to take advantage of positive developments in the domestic and global economy to deliver improved financial performance and returns to all its stakeholders,” Zenith Bank noted.