Zenith Bank Plc has announced a 10 percent growth in gross earnings for the year ended December 31, 2021, recording N765.6 billion up from N696.5 billion reported in the previous year, despite a challenging macroeconomic environment aggravated by COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the bank’s audited financial results for the 2021 financial year presented to the Nigeria Exchange Group (NGX), the Group achieved the 10 percent year-on-year (YoY) growth on the back of 23 percent YoY growth in non-interest income from N251.7 billion to N309 billion and a 2 percent YoY growth in interest income from N420.8 billion to NGN427.6 billion.

Profit before tax also grew by 10 percent from N255.9 billion to N280.4 billion in the year. The increase, according to the bank, was due to growth in the top-line and very strong management of the treasury portfolio that increased efficiency, resulting in a drop in interest expense by 12 percent from N121.1 billion in 2020 to N106.8 billion in the current year. This further led to a 7 percent increase in net interest income of NGN320.8 billion in 2021 from N299.7 billion in 2020.

The results also show that customer deposits increased by 21%, growing from N5.34 trillion in the previous year to N6.47 trillion in the current year. The growth in customer deposits came from both corporate and retail customers. Retail deposits grew by N146 billion from N1.72 trillion in 2020 to N1.87 trillion 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% to 1.5% in the current year. Although operating expenses grew by 13% YoY, growth remains below the inflation rate, and the Group improved its Earnings per Share (EPS) which grew by 6% from N7.34 to N7.78.

Total assets increased by 11%, growing from N8.48 trillion in 2020 to N9.45 trillion in 2021, mainly driven by growth in customer deposits. With the steady recovery in economic activities, the Group prudently grew its gross loans by 20%, from NGN2.9 trillion in 2020 to NGN3.5 trillion in 2021, with moderated NPL ratio from 4.29% to 4.19% YoY. The Group recorded impressive liquidity and capital adequacy ratios of 71.6% and 21.0%, which remained above regulatory thresholds of 30% and 15%, respectively,” the statement from the bank added.

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