With a gross revenue of N745 billion and a profit before tax of N203 billion, its no longer in doubt that zenith Bank Plc is leaving other banks behind and battling Dangote Cement in the race to attain N1trillion revenue mark. Dangote Cement recorded N800 billion in gross revenue and made a profit of N200 billion 2017 financial year.

When Zenith Bank Plc Group Managing Director/CEO Mr Peter Amangbo took over the reigns in the bank it was quiet affair. The reason for this was well known across the financial sector. Amangbo even as an Executive Director of Zenith Bank was not widely known.

Although within the bank he was know not as “a special one” like the former Chelsea football club Coach and European championship winner, Jose Morinho likes to call himself, but he was known as the” incorruptible one”- The one who plays according to the rules of the game.

And like those managers who play by the rules he is not your marketing or aggressive type who blew their own trumpets. But according to those who are close to him, he is someone ready to out think and out work the competition. That is the manager type who are ready to sweat the small stuff.

But Amangbo with the sort of results that Zenith Bank under his watch has turned out in 2017 has certainly become a golden fish with no hiding place. And for those who had thought that Zenith Bank will have problems after the departure of Godwin Emefiele and the current Akwa -Ibom State governor Emmanuel Udom, Amangbo has proved that you can never say never.

At the Zenith Bank’s 2016 financial year AGM shareholder activist Farouk Umar came out boldly to prophesy that Zenith Bank was now the number one bank in the country.Some GT Bank loyalists disputed it, maintaining that GT Bank has the most expensive stock in the banking sector and was also the most profitable. It would be recalled that in year 2016 although GT Bank made more profit Zenith paid a higher dividend.

During GT Bank’s AGM at the Oriental Chinese Restaurant last year, Sir Sunny Nwosu made the same statement, saying that now that Zenith Bank is the number one bank in Nigeria that GT Bank must work hard to improve things. However, the GT Bank Group Managing Director, Mr Segun Ogbaje spoke up and maintained that GT Bank made the most profit in the banking sector and so its second to none.

Apparently, at that time the MD of GT Bank knew what he was saying because as at that time his bank made more profit and had the most attractive stock in the banking sector. But even as at the time, if one looked at all the indices Zenith was a much bigger bank.

Perhaps, Nwosu and Umar were seeing the future or let’s just say were looking ahead. Because whether you are talking about functionality, security, office ambience, comfortability, service, attitude of staffers, speed, professionalism, ICT and ATM efficacy, brand attractiveness. You can pick only one , two or three banks who can match or beat Zenith Bank in any of the yardsticks. So even though it’s a very big bank its also youthful, If not nimble.

However, the above mentioned shareholders were not the only ones who were seeing better performance at the time. Zenith’s CEO also saw a better picture.Accordingly to him,at the time, despite the tight economic situation in the country the bank will achieve a good financial result in the year (2017).

Amangbo who made the commitment while answering questions from shareholders said an institution like Zenith relies on its pool of exceptional staffers, saying that its good performance in previous year owes to the fact that it took timely decisions that anticipated developments in the economy of 2016.

As he told the shareholders “Zenith will record credible financial results in the ongoing year of 2017 which is full of challenges and opportunities. I am confident that our determination, resolve and rare commitment to our customers will ensure resounding results” he promised. A promise the bank have delivered on, going by the current results.

However, we are surprised that other low performing banks are not listening to the minders of Zenith at least to poach some of their secrets in the overall interest of their own institutions. Because even the Chairman of Zenith, Mr Jim Ovia made disclosure as regards the secret of Zenith’s successes. Accordingly to him:” Our strategy and approach in pursuit of financial inclusion and sustainability gives us a lot of competitive advantage to explore even new frontiers in the market…

“In line with its commitment to deliver superior returns to its much valued shareholders the bank ensured that a good chunk of the profit is set aside for them. In this regard, we have decleared and paid you an interim dividend of 25 kobo per share in the course of 2016 financial year. We hereby propose a final dividend of 177 kobo per share.” That was last year.

Analyzing the Zenith Bank Plc Financial Year 2017 results the experts at Cadros Capital maintained that the gross earnings was higher by 46.69% during the year at NGN745.19 billion – 55.14% higher than Bloomberg’s polled estimates, and 8.49% higher than their own forecast.And Interest income (+23.42%) increased to NGN474.63 billion – lagging their estimates marginally by 1.59%.NIR surged by 119.18% to NGN270.56 billion, owing to significant rise in trading income by 456.29%.
“As a result, total operating income in the year was 45.36% higher at NGN528.55 billion – 178.00% higher than polled expectation.Whereas Loan impairment provision surged by 203.64% to NGN98.23 billion – 83.40% higher than our forecast.
“Operating expenses was 29.99% higher than the previous year at NGN226.86 billion, and 3.50% than our estimate of NGN219.20 billion.PBT and PAT stood at NGN203.46 billion and NGN177.93 billion, 29.80% and 37.24% higher than their respective figures in the previous year, and Bloomberg’s polled forecasts of NGN193.59 billion and NGN159.52 billion.”

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