Zenith Bank Plc says its gross earnings rose by 10 per cent to N765.6bn as of the end of December 2021, from N696.5bn recorded in the corresponding period of 2020.
A statement by the bank said this was despite a challenging macroeconomic environment aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lender its audited financial results for the 2021 financial year presented to the Nigeria Exchange Group showed that this was on the back of a 23 per cent year-on-year growth in non-interest income from N251.7bn to N309bn, and a two per cent YoY growth in interest income from N420.8bn to N427.6bn.
It said profit before tax also grew by 10 per cent from N255.9bn to N280.4bn in the current year.
The increase was due to growth in the top-line and strong management of the treasury portfolio that increased efficiency, resulting in a drop in interest expense by 12 per cent from N121.1bn in 2020 to N106.8bn in the current year.
This further led to a seven per cent increase in net interest income of N320.8bn in 2021 from N299.7bn in 2020, it added.
The statement said, “Customer deposits increased by 21 per cent, growing from N5.34tn in the previous year to N6.47tn in the current year.
“The growth in customer deposits came from both corporate and retail customers. Retail deposits grew by N146bn from NGN1.72tn in 2020 to NGN1.87tn in 2021.
“The group’s continuous drive for retail deposits combined with the strategic rebalancing of its funding base helped to reduce the cost of funding from 2.1 per cent to 1.5 per cent in the current year.
“Although operating expenses grew by 13 per cent YoY, growth remains below the inflation rate, and the group improved its earnings per share which grew by six per cent from N7.34 to N7.78.”
The bank said its total assets increased by 11 per cent, growing from N8.48tn in 2020 to N9.45tn in 2021, mainly driven by growth in customer deposits.
With the steady recovery in economic activities, the group said it grew its gross loans by 20 per cent, from N2.9tn in 2020 to N3.5tn in 2021, with moderated non-performing loan ratio from 4.29 per cent to 4.19 per cent YoY.
The group said it recorded liquidity and capital adequacy ratios of 71.6 per cent and 21.0 per cent, which remained above regulatory thresholds of 30 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively.
The statement said, “In 2022, the group intends to consolidate on the gains achieved in the previous year in all business segments and combine leadership in the industry, innovation and technology to drive improved performance and deliver enhanced returns to all stakeholders.
“As a testament to its commitment to its shareholders, the bank has announced a proposed final dividend payout of N2.80 per share, bringing the total dividend to N3.10 per share.”