Mr. Peter Amangbo, took over the headship of Zenith Bank Plc in 2014, faced with the challenges of reinforcing the bank’s growth functions and strengthening its leadership position in the banking industry. He has sustained profit growth for the third year running and maintained stability in key performance numbers despite the volatile operating season that banks have faced during the same period.
With the zeal of a new hand on the job, Amangbo has accelerated the growth momentum of his bank, growing the size of the balance sheet by N1.6 trillion in three years. Fiscal 2016 was generally a year of slowdown for the banking sector, as rising credit losses warranted caution in growing earning assets.
Amangbo defied the general economic and industry lull in 2016 and registered the strongest growth in revenue and profit for Zenith Bank in four years. He stepped up growth in earning assets, which spurred an expansion of over 18% in the size of the balance sheet. That has placed Zenith Bank in the region of a N5 trillion naira bank.
The bank carries a net credit portfolio of about N2.3 trillion, one of the largest in the banking industry. Despite the sustained economic decline in all of last year, the bank created over N300 billion in new lending – a counter cyclical move to sustain its customers and uphold new ones.
The bank sustained the same 15% expansion in loans and advances that it recorded in the preceding year – a sort of anti recession credit policy in action. If each of Nigeria’s 10 largest banks had created the same amount of new credit in the year, they would have added to the economy half of the federal government’s N6 trillion aggregate expenditure in 2016.
Zenith Bank’s leadership runs with aggressive marketing push that makes it a sure winner when it comes to who gets the customer’s deposit. That operating strength came alive in 2016, resulting in a 17% rebound in customer deposits. That meant an addition of about N426 billion to the group’s deposit portfolio in the year, amounting to about N3 trillion. That, plus an issue of debt securities, provided the capacity on the liabilities side of the balance sheet that supported the defiant growth on the asset side.
Amangbo has so far sustained a new growth momentum for Zenith Bank that began in 2014. The bank has maintained its reign over the banking sector as the biggest profit earner. He reported an increase of 8.6% in after tax profit to N99.45 billion in his first year in office at the end of 2014.
He ended the 2015 financial year with new peaks in both revenue and profit and stepped up the earnings growth to four-year best records in 2016. By maintaining stable growth in a generally bad earnings season for most banks, Amangbo is delivering on his mandate of reinforcing his bank’s industry leadership. Zenith Bank has held the position as the largest profit earner in the Nigerian banking industry since 2012 when it registered an exceptional profit advance of over 123%.
The build up in earning assets in 2016 paid off by way of the strongest growth in revenue the bank has recorded since 2013. The bank raised gross earnings by 17.4% to N508 billion in 2016, a strong acceleration from an increase of 7.2% in 2015.
Like other banks, Zenith Bank’s management had to contend with the factors that have been destabilising banking operations in recent years. These are principally rapidly growing loan loss expenses and interest cost – which were induced by the difficulties facing the business sector and regulatory changes that dislocated the liability side of bank balance sheets.
Here management quality comes into play in terms of ability to shield the bank from the pitfalls in the marketplace. Amangbo has moved decisively to cut down his bank’s operating cost margin and with his savings there he has continued to moderate the impacts of rising impairment charges and interest expenses on the bottom line.
The bank ended the 2016 fiscal year with the lowest operating cost margin in many years – indicating a much stronger growth in revenue than operating expenses. That lifted net profit margin to the highest figure in three years – indicating increased ability to grow wealth for shareholders in the most difficult operating climate in recent times.
Zenith Bank is one of the banking industry leaders by profit margin – the ability to convert revenue into profit and Amangbo was able to reinforce that strength further in 2016. The bank’s high volume of revenue and industry leading profit margin are the underlying factors for its profit leadership in the banking sector.
Amangbo has served depositors and customers quite well in 2016 and in the process injected a stimulatory force in the Nigerian economy. His reward for this is a top record growth of 23% in net profit – the strongest profit improvement in three years.
Zenith Bank’s directors are certain to use a big knife to slice the big cake of N129.22 billion net profit that Amangbo successfully baked for the bank in 2016. The bank’s shareholders can look forward to an exciting meeting this year and for a decent dividend unimpaired by economic recession.
Amangbo is recognised as a member of top 10 CEOs of the year, 2016 by Top 10 Magazine for his ability to sustain the track records of Zenith Bank in building the business and the Nigerian economy despite the difficult operating climate.