Pan-African Rating Agency Names Zenith Bank Best Digital Bank in Nigeria

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A pan-African rating agency, Agusto & Co, has named Zenith Bank Plc the best digital bank in Nigeria in its recently released 2019 Consumer Digital Banking Satisfaction Index report. The Consumer Digital Banking Satisfaction Index report highlights customers’ preferences and attitudes towards digital banking platforms provided by banks in the country.

The objective of the index was to create an independent appraisal of the ease of using digital banking platforms by the Nigerian populace following an increased competition by banks on digital platforms as well as the growing quest for financial inclusion using digital means.

Agusto & Co. in the report explained that the index, which is in its second year, was the result of an extensive online and offline consumer survey carried out across various geopolitical zones in Nigeria. According to the Lagos-based rating agency, the survey was designed to give insight into the behavioural patterns of the respondents, drawn from both the formal and the informal sector. The output of the index was based on information provided by respondents on the top eight banks in Nigeria by total assets as of December 31, 2018.

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In the survey, two banks were assigned a ‘4 Star’ rating for Consumer Digital Banking Satisfaction, with Zenith Bank scoring the highest and emerging the ‘Best Digital Bank in Nigeria’. The report further noted that the ‘4 Star’ rating assigned to Zenith Bank reflects transaction success rates, ease of use, perceived security and good troubleshooting & IT resolution on its different digital platforms.

The report also revealed that Zenith Bank has the highest transaction success rates on digital banking platforms such as mobile app, USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) or web, the bank’s respondents experienced the most ease in navigating through the digital platforms, and the bank has one of the highest numbers of customers who felt it has an excellent rating on IT issue resolution.

Zenith Bank Plc is recognized as one of the most innovative financial institutions in Nigeria 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). The bank’s commitment to world-class service standards, products and solutions has also ensured its market dominance.

Zenith Bank’s recently released nine months unaudited results showed that it recorded profit after tax (PAT) of N150.7 billion, compared with N144.2 billion posted in the corresponding period of 2018. Zenith Bank had explained that its cost optimization strategies and aggressive retail banking drive were yielding the desired effects as cost-to-income ratio declined from 51.2 percent in 2018 to 50.1 percent in 2019 with earnings per share (EPS) growing by five from N4.58 to N4.80 in 2019.

“Our retail and corporate banking franchises continued its momentum with customers’ deposits growing by seven percent to N3.95 trillion from N3.69 trillion recorded as at December 2018, a reflection of the increasing share of the industry’s deposits and customers’ confidence in the Zenith brand. These deposit acquisitions have directly contributed to our cost of funds improving from 3.3 percent in 2018 to 2.95 percent in 2019,” the bank said in a statement.

The bank added that it has continued to deploy capital to create viable risk assets with gross loans and advances growing by seven percent from N2.02 trillion as of December 2018 to N2.2 trillion as of September 2019 across both the retail and corporate segments.

“Our focus remains the search for bankable lending opportunities to ensure the attainment of the minimum regulatory loan-to-deposit ratio (LDR) of 65 percent by December 31, 2019, without compromising our prudence. Our robust risk management framework has ensured that non-performing loans (NPL) ratio declined from 4.98 percent in December 2018 to 4.95 percent in the current period. Our commitment to maintaining a shock-proof balance sheet remains with liquidity and capital adequacy ratios at 63.8 percent and 23.8 percent respectively, both above regulatory thresholds,” it explained to shareholders and customers.

According to the bank, in this final quarter of the year, it would sustain its competitiveness and share of the market in the corporate segment and build upon its digital foundations to reinforce our retail banking initiatives.

Juliet Ekwebelam

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