Whenever the history of banking in Nigeria is being documented, the Zenith Bank story will for long remain a lead into how the economy and the face of banking has been transformed in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. The Bank began with the vision and mission to become the leading Nigerian, technology-driven, global financial institution that provides distinctive range of financial services and build the zenith brand into a reputable international financial institution recognized for innovation, superior performance and creation of premium value for all stakeholders. These are also capped by a foundation of Integrity, Professionalism, Corporate Governance, Loyalty and Excellent Service as core values.
To those who may not know, Zenith Bank Plc was established in May 1990, and commenced operations in July of the same year as a commercial bank. The Bank became a public limited company on June 17, 2004 and was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on October 21, 2004 following a highly successful Initial Public Offering (IPO). Zenith Bank Plc currently has a shareholder base of about one million and is Nigeria’s biggest bank by tier-1 capital. In 2013, the Bank listed $850 million worth of its shares at $6.80 each on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
At Zenith Bank, people remain the most valuable asset of the organisation. Zenith Bank attract, motivate, and retain a highly talented pool of people from diverse backgrounds.
For Zenith, the customer is the reason why the business keep flourishing and this is not a mere mantra. Exceptional service delivery is the flagship of banking at Zenith Bank. The Zenith dream is aided by the fact Technology is the core of the business strategy of the Bank. Thus the Bank deploy global best innovative technology infrastructure.
Headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, Zenith Bank Plc has over 500 branches and business offices in prime commercial centres in all states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). In March 2007, Zenith Bank was licensed by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) of the United Kingdom to establish Zenith Bank (UK) Limited as the United Kingdom subsidiary of Zenith Bank Plc.
As a Bank with decades of successful operations, it has grown to an octopus financial institution level with subsidiaries in: Ghana, Zenith Bank (Ghana) Limited; Sierra Leone, Zenith Bank (Sierra Leone) Limited; Gambia, Zenith Bank (Gambia) Limited. The bank also has representative office in The People’s Republic of China with plans to take the Zenith brand to other African countries as well as the European and Asian markets.
Zenith Bank Plc blazed the trail in digital banking in Nigeria; scoring several firsts in the deployment of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure to create innovative products that meet the needs of its teeming customers.
The bank is verifiably a leader in the deployment of various channels of banking technology, and the Zenith brand has become synonymous with the deployment of state-of-the-art technologies in banking. Driven by a culture of excellence and strict adherence to global best practices, the Bank has combined vision, skillful banking expertise, and cutting-edge technology to create products and services that anticipate and meet customers’ expectations; enable businesses to thrive and grow wealth for customers.
The story of Zenith Bank is open as a book, Zenith Bank Plc, founded by Jim Ovia in 1990, has since grown astronomically to become one of the leading financial institutions in Africa. Zenith Bank Plc currently ranks as the 6th biggest bank in the continent. The Bank grew its shareholder’s fund of ₦20million in 1990 to ₦704.50billion as at year end 2016. Today, the Bank continues to thrive on the strong values, brand equity, corporate culture of professionalism and service excellence which are the foundations upon which the bank was built.
Zenith Bank from all perspectives will continue to offer specialised financial services such as Pension Management but discontinue services in Insurance, Capital Market dealings, Trusteeship, Registrar, Mortgage and financial advisory services in line with its decision to adopt the commercial banking license with international authorisation. Zenith Bank’s core businesses include:
- Corporate and Investment Banking
- Commercial and Consumer Banking
- Personal and Private Banking
- Trade Services and Foreign Exchange
- Treasury and Cash Management Services
- Other Non-Bank Financial Services mainly through subsidiaries
From whatever side of the prism one may want to look at it, Zenith Bank has clearly distinguished itself in the banking industry through superior service quality, unique customer experience, and sound financial indices. These have become part of the company’s corporate culture to the extent the bank is easily associated with the following attributes; Best-in-class customer experience, creativity, excellent financial performance, good asset quality, stable management, dedicated and highly skilled work-force, cutting-edge Information and Communication Technology, efficient and effective distribution channels. The bank’s strategy of assessing and managing its impact on the industry forms an integral part of our strategic objective. Specifically, the bank considers how the present and future capital requirements will be met and managed in view of projected capital requirements based on its assessment and against the regulatory capital requirement.
Without mincing words, the strategic objective of Zenith Bank also includes a continuous improvement of her capacity to meet the customers’ increasing and dynamic financial needs as well as sustain high quality growth through investments that impact the quality of service to its existing and potential customers, constant upgrade of her ICT infrastructure, unwavering investment in training and re-training of its people and regular reinforcing of its Customer Services delivery charter with regards to continually changing customer needs. Zenith Bank places high premium on the pivotal role of Exceptional Service Delivery in her drive to consistently exceed expectations. The bank has in place a well-articulated strategy to not only meet and surpass customer expectation but also ensure that plans are fine-tuned to address the changing taste and sophistication of the customer. The underlying philosophy is for the bank to remain at all times, a Customer-centric institution with a clear understanding of its market and environment.
On Corporate governance, the Bank remains committed to promoting good corporate governance and best practices in the conduct of its business. This is because we believe that good Corporate Governance engender public trust and ultimately ensures that the company meets the expectation of all stakeholders.
On Endorsements and recognitions, Zenith Bank’s impressive growth pattern and performance over the years have earned it excellent ratings, recognitions and endorsement from local and international agencies and institutions: The Banker Magazine, a publication of the Financial Times of London in a 2013 survey, rates Zenith as the Biggest bank in Nigeria by tier-1 capital. In 2012, Zenith Bank was recognized as one of the 30 Outstanding Global Brands making sustainable impact on their operating environment. This recognition was prelude to the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) which held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 2012. KPMG rated Zenith bank as the Best Customer-Focused Bank in Nigeria.
With the decades of her successful operation, Zenith bank has demonstrated rare resilience and has witnessed exponential growth in virtually all areas. Today, Zenith is undoubtedly one of Nigeria’s strongest financial services institutions and one of the country’s largest banks by market capitalization, shareholders fund and profitability. The bank’s growth momentum has increased over time and impacted positively on its standing as a market leader. In essence, Zenith Bank continues to make remarkable success on the sustainability agenda which is at the heart of its strategic and business models. As a result, Zenith bank is better positioned to continue on its growth trajectory and her desire to be a vital part of people’s lives and businesses. Excellent service delivery and development of superior asset quality, strong capital base, professionalism and corporate governance have provided the grounds for consistent high returns to stakeholders. The bank maintains sound risk management and corporate governance culture in line with global best practices. The bank’s liquidity profile remains very strong and her risk management practices give assurance that the profile will be sustained on the short-run and improved upon over time.
As a growing bank with records of achievements, Zenith Bank’s Business Continuity Policy is to maintain the continuity of its activities, facilities, systems and processes and where these are disrupted by any event, to enable it to return to ‘normal’ operations as soon as possible. Any external party dealing with Zenith Bank no matter their status (eg; employee, contractor, or consultant), must comply with the Business Continuity Policy of the bank. Zenith Bank is committed to implementing Business Continuity Management (“BCM”) based on International best practices and international standard ISO22301:2019.
Zenith Bank’s Information Security Policy is to provide a security framework that will ensure the protection of Information from unauthorized access, loss or damage while supporting the open, information-sharing needs of the bank. Any external party dealing with Zenith Bank no matter their status (e.g.; employee, contractor, or consultant), must comply with the Information Security Policy of the bank. Zenith Bank is committed to implementing Information Security Management (“ISMS”) based on International best practices and international standard ISO 27001:2013.
As a pride of The Nigerian Banking Industry, Zenith Bank is committed to surpassing service requirements and expectations of her customers by consistent delivery of all Information Technology services and solutions in accordance with contractual agreement, best practices and applicable legal requirements. The service management system and its components are continually enhanced for effectiveness in line with global technological advancements and based on the International Standard 20000:2018.
The Bank’s customer base comprises mainly corporate entities many of which are subsidiaries of multinational corporations and large indigenous companies. Her lending strategy stresses rational procedures and transparency. As a result of this approach, the Bank’s credit portfolio has about the best asset quality in the Nigerian banking industry. The Bank’s non-performing loans to total loans ratio has always been less than industry average since inception and through the thick of the global financial crises in 2008/2009.
Technologically, Zenith Bank see technology as an enabler and as a generator of new opportunities. The Bank remain forward-thinking, benchmarking trends in technology to shape her future coupled with our practical delivery on a highly automated platform that makes us unique. As the country’s Information Technology (IT) infrastructure improves, the Bank’s leading edge in IT keeps her well positioned in the global banking community to sustain her offering of exceptional E-banking services. This is complemented by her risk management system that creates a blend that not only grows her customers’ businesses but also strengthens them. Zenith credit management system stresses rational procedures and transparency.
By all standard, the Bank’s success hinges on satisfying her customers and helping them unlock the real value of their businesses. The challenge is always to be better than anyone else; better at creating real, lasting value for customers. For example, one of Zenith Bank’s traditional lines of business is Treasury transactions. Her knowledge of the marketplace and creativity has propelled the company to the forefront of trading activities in the money market, with resultant competitive advantage and tremendous value. The Bank’s leadership assets are manifested in the ability of her staff/managers to combine knowledge and experience to create value for all customers. That is, to combine vision with precision; using creativity, skills and ideas to expand their business and profitability.
The Zenith Bank management team does not just see the organization as an entity solely concerned with wealth creation for the shareholders. Her strategic alliance with the various stakeholders, government and non-governmental agencies centers around institutional building and capacity development in the following areas:
Strong commitment to the support of Small and Medium Enterprises as well as development of indigenous industries.
Entrepreneurship incubation for the youths through sustained funding of institutions responsible for entrepreneurial development.
Development of the real sectors of the economy through provision of funds to industry players at competitive costs
Zenith Bank’s support in all the above projects is propelled by a strong commitment to the common good of the society. Managing the brand asset is key to the management team’s strategy and culture. Service excellence, superior risk assets quality, trust, speed, ideas, efficiency among others comprise the set of reputation capital that the team leave in the minds of the Bank’s teeming customers. People, talent, proprietary knowledge, brand, leadership, integrity and relationship all fit together to increase her competitive advantage as a powerhouse for value creation.
Zenith Bank Plc has been generally adjudged a Corporate Governance compliant bank by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) hence its listing on the Premium Board of the Exchange. The bank recently won the award of “Best Corporate Governance ‘Financial Services’ Africa 2021”, for a second consecutive year, by the Ethical Boardroom. The bank will continue to sustain this and to reappraise its processes to ensure that our business conforms to the highest global standards at all times.
The Bank subscribes to the following codes of Corporate Governance:
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Code of Corporate Governance for Banks in Nigeria 2014. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Code of Corporate Governance. Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Establishment Act. Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) Code of Corporate Governance.
The National Code of Corporate Governance for Public Companies which became effective in January 2019. In addition to the above Codes, the Bank complies with relevant disclosure requirements in other jurisdictions where it operates. During the period under review, the Bank complied with the provisions of the codes.
On Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism, Zenith Bank Plc has implemented an enterprise-wide Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter Financing of Terrorism (CFT) compliance programme, covering all of its subsidiaries and affiliates, and is designed to comply with applicable laws and regulations, within its areas of existence and operations, in the fight against money laundering, terrorism, proliferation, financial crime and corrupt practices. Where the AML/CFT regulation in the home country is higher than that in any of its offshore subsidiary, the Bank will adopt the higher regulation to the extent that local laws permit.
With Zenith Bank, the quantum of Dividend the Board recommends to the General Meeting should not exceed 85% of the distributable net profit attributable to the shareholders of the Company. However, the final amount of any proposed dividend is expected to take into account the liquidity and capital requirements of the Company’s and more particularly the following factors.
Away from the hues and cries of the Anti – Corruption fight against, the whistle blowing policy is aimed at improving corporate governance within the Bank. It would enable the Bank obtain early warning information/signals on what may be going wrong (within and external) which if not promptly checked could be detrimental to the system.
As a Bank with integrity, Zenith Bank encourage the use of whistle blowing portal for the purpose of reporting observed anomalies where issues are deemed dangerous to the person(s) reporting them, rather than use the official communication channels.
The remuneration policy of the Bank contains a description of the basic principles of the Bank’s remuneration policy and particularly with respect to executive and non-executive board members, and a detailed presentation of the different elements comprising their remuneration.
Blessed with a team of qualified, successful professionals, the Bank’s board members play a pivotal role in bank governance through their control of the factors that ultimately determine the success of the financial institution.
Today, the Bank has put in place a policy on trading on the Bank’s Securities by Directors and other key personnel of the Bank. During the period under review, the Directors and other key personnel of the Bank complied with the terms of the policy and the provisions of S. 14 of the Amendment to the Listing Rules of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
In reward of her excellent performance in the Banking industry by various organization and corporate bodies, Zenith Bank remains outstanding in the pursuit of excellence and commitment to high-quality service, a result of which has enhanced her performance over the years.
Undoubtedly, Zenith Bank Plc is recognised as one of the most customer-focused financial institutions in the country and was voted the most customer-focused bank in Nigeria for the retail and SME segments in the 2018 KPMG Annual Banking Industry Customer Satisfaction Survey (BICSS).
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, Zenith Bank has clearly distinguished itself in the Nigerian financial services industry through superior service quality, unique customer experience and sound financial indices.
In recognition of its track record of excellent performance, Zenith Bank was voted as the Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria 2019 by the World Finance and the Best Digital Bank in Nigeria 2019 by Agusto and Co. The Bank was also recognised as Bank of the Year and Best in Retail Banking at the 2019 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Awards.
More recently, the Bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria, for the third consecutive year, in the Banker Magazine “Top 500 Banking Brands 2020”, number one Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital in the “2020 Top 1000 World Banks” Ranking published by The Banker Magazine, Best Bank in Nigeria 2020 in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards 2020, and Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the ThisDay Awards 2020