Zenith Financial institution is balancing the scorecard with ESG

Zenith Financial institution’s head workplace in Lagos, Nigeria&nbsp

Creator: Ebenezer Onyeagwu, Group Managing Director and CEO, Zenith Financial institution

July 14, 2021

In simply over 30 years, Zenith Financial institution has grown to change into Nigeria’s largest – and one in every of Africa’s largest – monetary establishments by tier-1 capital, with shareholders’ funds in extra of NGN1trn ($2.6bn) as of December 31, 2020. A transparent chief within the Nigerian monetary house, with a number of firsts within the deployment of revolutionary merchandise and options that guarantee comfort, velocity and security of transactions, Zenith Financial institution has formed improvement in Nigeria, setting the tempo in a number of sectors of the economic system.

The financial institution has demonstrated uncommon resilience and doggedness that has translated to exponential development in just about all areas, and at the moment, Zenith is undoubtedly Nigeria’s most worthwhile monetary establishment, recording a powerful outcome for the 12 months ending December 31, 2020, with a year-on-year development of 10 % in revenue after tax (PAT) from NGN208.8bn ($547m) recorded in 2019 to NGN230.7bn ($607m). That is regardless of a really difficult macroeconomic surroundings exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Zenith model shouldn’t be solely bullish on development and profitability; it’s also dedicated to the general welfare of its rapid group and society on the whole. Certainly, the financial institution stays one of many largest company social duty (CSR) contributors within the Nigerian monetary providers business. Its sustainability and CSR initiatives hinge on the assumption that at the moment’s enterprise efficiency shouldn’t be all in regards to the monetary numbers – it believes that an establishment’s social investments, contributions to inclusive financial development and improvement in addition to enhancements within the situation of the bodily surroundings, all contribute to a balanced scorecard.

Auspicious beginnings
Based by Jim Ovia (CON), Zenith Financial institution Plc was established in Might 1990 and commenced operations in July of the identical 12 months as a business financial institution. The financial institution grew to become a public restricted firm on June 17, 2004, and was listed on the Nigerian Inventory Change (NSE) on October 21, 2004, following a extremely profitable Preliminary Public Providing (IPO).

Headquartered in Nigeria’s business capital of Lagos, Zenith Financial institution offers particular person clients and company purchasers with a spread of monetary services from over 500 branches and enterprise places of work throughout all states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. It additionally has a presence within the UK, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Gambia, China and the UAE. The financial institution’s shares are traded on each the Nigerian and London Inventory Exchanges.

Zenith Financial institution’s administration staff is made up of seasoned professionals led by Ebenezer Onyeagwu, the Group Managing Director and CEO. He took over the reins in June 2019 following the retirement of Peter Amangbo, who succeeded Godwin Emefiele (CON), the present Governor of the Central Financial institution of Nigeria (CBN). Successive leaderships of the financial institution have drawn from the robust pedigree and stable basis laid by its founder, Jim Ovia, in harnessing the wealth of expertise, glorious service tradition and steady deployment of state-of-the-art expertise to maintain the establishment on the forefront of Nigeria’s banking business. The seamless transition on the financial institution is evident proof of strategic foresight and is in line with the financial institution’s conventional succession technique of grooming leaders from inside.

Stepping up sustainability
Zenith Financial institution has clearly distinguished itself within the Nigerian monetary providers business as an establishment that’s dedicated to constructing a extra sustainable and inclusive economic system and one which promotes accountable enterprise practices in Nigeria by way of the combination of sustainability rules in its on a regular basis enterprise operations. With govt administration help, all of the financial institution’s credit score and investments at the moment are being screened for environmental and social (E&S) dangers.

To align its processes with finest practices, the financial institution continues to keep up its commitments as signatory to numerous home and worldwide sustainability frameworks together with United Nations Sustainable Improvement Targets (SDGs); United Nations World Compact Rules; Central Financial institution of Nigeria Sustainable Banking Rules; and Worldwide Finance Company Efficiency Requirements.

The financial institution is a founding signatory of the United Nations Surroundings Programme Finance Initiative, Rules for Accountable Banking. After becoming a member of 130 banks throughout the globe to launch these rules in September 2019, the financial institution has vigorously pursued the implementation of the rules thereafter, signifying its intention to create worth for its shareholders, clients, purchasers, buyers, communities and the surroundings by way of its practices, operations and investments. The financial institution has been a frontrunner in monitoring and reporting sustainability impression.

Since changing into the primary financial institution in Africa to publish a stand-alone sustainability report in accordance with the GRI Requirements: Core Choice in 2016, Zenith Financial institution has revealed 5 stand-alone stories as of 2020. The financial institution is one in every of only a few establishments in Nigeria that observe their carbon emissions utilizing a licensed device that’s constructed on the internationally recognised GHG Protocol.

The Zenith model shouldn’t be solely bullish on development and profitability; it’s also dedicated to the general welfare of its rapid group and society on the whole

In furtherance of its dedication to entrenching world finest practices in its operations, the financial institution just lately launched into a grand plan to systematically cut back its carbon emissions footprint by way of the substitute of diesel-powered mills in its branches with photo voltaic panels. The financial institution can be making important progress with the improve of its power centre.

The brand new ultramodern centre will run 70 % on gasoline and 30 % on diesel, permitting it to get rid of the usage of about thirty 200kva diesel mills, which at present serve its head workplace and a few of its enterprise places of work round Victoria Island, Lagos.

Additionally, in consonance with the Sustainable Improvement Targets, the financial institution demonstrated dedication to empowering women-owned companies by introducing a particular mortgage product known as Z-Girl, which is particularly focused at providing single digit rate of interest loans for women-led companies in all sectors and segments of the economic system.

Investing in individuals first
Via its CSR initiatives, the financial institution has embodied the overarching goal of the 17 SDGs, which offer a framework for addressing the main challenges confronting our society. Its social investments are focused at well being, schooling, ladies and youth empowerment, sports activities improvement and public infrastructure enhancement. Total, Zenith Financial institution’s complete social investments in 2020 stood at NGN3.29bn ($8.62m), representing 1.66 % of its PAT.

The financial institution stays dedicated to furthering the financial, cultural and social improvement of host communities, notably by way of community-based initiatives and philanthropy. As company citizen, it continues to ship initiatives which have long-term social and financial advantages for communities as a result of it believes that its enterprise is just as robust because the communities through which it operates.

To display its dedication to creating and increasing alternatives, the financial institution frequently makes donations in the direction of the institution of ultramodern ICT centres in a number of academic establishments throughout the nation. It additionally helps varied developmental initiatives and healthcare supply causes in Nigeria, and contributes to the event of sports activities by way of its sponsorship of the Nigeria Soccer Federation (NFF), the Zenith Girls Basketball League, and the Zenith Financial institution Delta State Principals’ Cup, to say just a few.

The financial institution additionally demonstrates management when its host communities cope with disaster. For instance, following the unlucky gasoline explosion incident of March 15, 2020, which led to the lack of lives and properties on the Abule-Ado space within the Amuwo Odofin native authorities space of Lagos State, Zenith Financial institution introduced a donation of NGN100m ($263k) to the emergency aid fund arrange by the Lagos State Authorities for the victims of the explosion.

Zenith Financial institution considers the security of communities key to the achievement of the objectives and aspirations of each non-public and company residents. Consequently, the financial institution continues to reinforce its engagement with the federal government and different related stakeholders tasked with peace and safety. The evaluation emanating from the engagement fashioned the idea for its contribution to numerous States’ Governments Safety Belief Fund. Thus, in 2020 the financial institution invested the sum of NGN1.408bn ($3.7m) in safety belief funds, boosting the operations and effectiveness of related safety businesses and the security of communities.

Additionally, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its inherent impression on monetary establishments, Zenith Financial institution leveraged a suggestion from Worldwide Finance Company (IFC) for an emergency aid working capital mortgage of $100m to help the financial institution’s commerce finance actions. This mortgage is being deployed to satisfy the commerce and financing wants of its clients, and the financial institution stays dedicated to serving to them alleviate the monetary pressures introduced upon their companies by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Striving in the direction of excellence
As a testomony to its achievements, Zenith Financial institution gained the awards for ‘Finest Firm in Promotion of Good Well being and Wellbeing’ and ‘Finest Firm in Promotion of Gender Equality and Girls Empowerment’ in Africa on the 2020 Sustainability, Enterprise and Duty Awards (SERAS). Additionally in recognition of the its observe document of remarkable efficiency, Zenith Financial institution was voted as ‘Financial institution of the Yr, Nigeria’ in The Banker’s Financial institution of the Yr Awards 2020; ‘Finest Financial institution in Nigeria’ within the World Finance World’s Finest Banks Awards 2020 and 2021; and ‘Finest Company Governance Monetary Companies Africa 2020’ by the Moral Boardroom.

The financial institution additionally emerged because the ‘Most Worthwhile Banking Model in Nigeria,’ for the fourth consecutive 12 months, in Banker journal’s ‘Prime 500 Banking Manufacturers 2021’ and primary financial institution in Nigeria by tier-1 capital within the ‘2020 Prime 1,000 World Banks’ rating. Equally, the financial institution was recognised as ‘Financial institution of the Decade’ (Folks’s Alternative) on the ThisDay Awards 2020, and ‘Retail Financial institution of the Yr’ on the 2020 BusinessDay Banks and Different Monetary Establishments (BOFI) awards.

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