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Zenith Bank appoints Ebenezer Onyeagwu GMD/CEO

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Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu

Zenith Bank Plc. has announced the appointment of Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu as the Group Managing Director/CEO of the bank effective June 1, 2019, subject to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) approval.

The appointment is consistent with the bank’s tradition and succession strategy of grooming leaders from within.

Onyeagwu replaces Mr. Peter Amangbo, whose tenure expires on May 31, 2019. Mr Amangbo leaves the bank at the end of a very successful career spanning over 27 years, with the last five years as GMD/CEO.

Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu is a vastly experienced banker and financial expert, trained in reputable institutions of learning in Nigeria, the United Kingdom and United States of America.

Mr. Onyeagwu is a graduate of Accounting from Auchi Polytechnic where he obtained the Ordinary National diploma in 1984 and Higher National Diploma in 1987. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1989 while he was still undergoing the compulsory National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) post graduation and was named a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (FCA) in 2003.

He is an alumnus of the prestigious University of Oxford, England, from where he obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Strategy, and certificate in Macroeconomics. He also undertook extensive executive level business education in Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia Business School of Columbia University, the Harvard Business School of Harvard University (all in the United States) and Lagos Business School of the Pan African University, Nigeria.

He has nearly 30 years’ experience in the banking industry in Nigeria. He joined Zenith Bank Plc in 2002 as a Senior Manager, in the Internal Control and Audit Group of the bank. His professionalism, competence, integrity and commitment to the set objectives of the bank saw him rise swiftly between 2003 and 2005, first, as Assistant General Manager, then Deputy General Manager, and eventually as General Manager of the bank. In these capacities, he handled strategies for new business and branch development, management of risk assets portfolios, treasury functions, strategic top level corporate, multinationals and public institutional relationships, among others.

As Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Onyeagwu has oversight over the bank’s Financial Control and Strategic Planning, Risk Management, Retail Banking, Institutional and Corporate banking business portfolios, IT Group, Credit Administration, Treasury and Foreign Exchange Trading, as well as general administration of the bank, among others.

He was named Executive Director of the bank in 2013, and put in charge of Lagos and South-South Zones as well as strategic groups/business units of the bank including Financial Control & Strategic Planning, Treasury and Correspondent Groups, Human Resources Group, Oil and Gas Group, and Credit Risk Management Group, etc. He was named Deputy Managing Director of the bank in 2016.

Mr. Onyeagwu has been on the board of Zenith Bank Ghana, Zenith Pensions Custodian Limited, Zenith Nominees Limited and African Finance Corporation (AFC) within the last six years. In AFC, he serves on the Board Risk & Investment Committee (BRIC) and Board Audit & Compliance Committee (BAAC). At Zenith Bank Ghana, he chairs the Board Credit and Governance Committees.

He brings to his job strategic thinking, inspirational leadership, energetic and entrepreneurial skills. He is married with children.

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Q1 2019: Zenith Bank sustains market dominance with improved profitability

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In the first quarter ended 31 March 2019, Zenith Bank Group recorded improved numbers across key metrics, driven by a solid performance in all business segments. This resulted in a Profit before Tax (PBT) of ₦57 billion, representing a 6% growth over the ₦54 billion achieved in the corresponding period in 2018. The Group’s on-going commitment to cost optimisation on the income statement and statement of financial position ensured earnings per share increased by 7% to ₦1.60 compared to Q1 2018.

The growth in net interest income and operating income by 23% and 1% respectively mitigated the decline in gross earnings. The effective management of cost-to-income ratio, cost of funds and cost of risk offset top-line declines to deliver an enhanced operating income in the period.

Our risk and asset quality continues to improve as cost of risk dropped significantly by 52% from 0.9% in the prior year to 0.4% for the period. This was achieved as impairment charges declined by 54% (₦2.5 billion year on year reduction). Our cost of funds also improved, declining by 25% from 4% in Q1 2018 to 3% at quarter-end. This was supported by a 22% decrease in interest expense of ₦10 billion over the same period, affirming the Group’s robust treasury and liquidity management. Our prudent cost management led to a 5% decline in our cost-to-income ratio by 5% from 53.3% in 2018 to 50.9% in the period with an absolute reduction in operating expenses by ₦2.3 billion year-on-year.

The Group’s retail franchise continues to increase as retail deposits grew by N80bn between December 2018 and March 2019 representing a 9% growth notwithstanding the fact that total customer deposits dropped marginally by 3%. The drop in customer deposits was as a result of rebalancing of the deposit mix as expensive purchased deposits were forgone in favour of cheaper and stickier retail deposits.

The volume and value of transactions across our electronic and digital platforms continue to grow as new customers are being acquired. Our balance sheet continues to strengthen as liquidity ratio is at 66.7%, loan to deposit ratio closed at 43%, and capital adequacy ratio ended the period at 25% respectively and remain above the relevant regulatory thresholds as at 31 March 2019.

Going into the rest of the year and with improving economic fundamentals, we are confident of delivering value to all our stakeholders on our commitments even as we create more opportunities for businesses by supporting them through selective risk asset creation. We shall continue our investments in the retail segment of the market as we consolidate our leadership position in the corporate segment while maintaining a strong balance sheet.

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Keystone Bank, others partner Mojec to roll out prepaid meters

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L-R: Head, Personal Banking, Wema Bank Plc – Mr. Abiola Afolayan; Chairman, Mojec International Limited, Mrs Mojisola Abdul; Managing Director, Mojec International Limited, Ms. Chantelle Abdul; Executive Director, Corporate Bank & South Directorate, Keystone Bank Limited, Yemi Odusanya and Group Head, Retail & SME, Unity Bank Plc, Mr. Olufunwa Olugbenga Akinmade at a press conference and signing of the Memorandum of Understanding ceremony between Mojec and the partner banks on the roll out of prepaid meters, held in Lagos on Monday, April 15, 2019.

Mojec Meter Assets Management Company, a subsidiary of Mojec International Limited, has announced partnership with Keystone Bank Limited and other leading banks in Nigeria to provide retail financing for rollout of prepaid meters to its customers within the coverage area of its partner Distribution Companies (DISCOs) across the country.

This is a major step ahead of the commencement of the much-anticipated Meter Asset Providers (MAP) scheme.

The partnership announcement was made at a press conference and Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony held in Lagos on Monday, April 15, 2019 between Mojec and the partner banks. The partner banks include Keystone Bank, Unity Bank, Zenith Bank, Polaris Bank, First Bank, Wema Bank, Sterling Bank and First Option Micro-finance Bank.

MAP is a scheme approved by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) through a regulation meant for the provision, supply, installation and maintenance of end-user meters by Meter Asset Providers with a view to fast-tracking a closure of the metering gap and end estimated billing in Nigeria.

Speaking at the event, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mojec International Limited, Ms. Chantelle Abdul disclosed that the company was determined to bridge the metering gap in the power sector by ensuring provision of top-quality electricity meters to consumers in Nigeria.

“Now that MAP is here, Mojec is once again blazing the trail in the provision of high-end quality pre-paid meters to consumers, helping to reduce the financial burden estimated electricity billing is putting on electricity consumers,” Abdul said, noting that Mojec as a company has invested a lot of resources, positioning it as best suited to meet the metering needs of all consumers within the coverage of its partner DISCOs.

She further explained that Mojec would be partnering with eight DISCOs including, Ikeja Electric, Eko DISCO, Abuja DISCO, Kano DISCO, Enugu DISCO, Jos DISCO, Ibadan DISCO and Kaduna DISCO covering about 20 states of the federation.

In his remarks after the MoU signing, the Acting Managing Director/CEO, Keystone Bank Limited, Mr. Abubakar Danlami Sule, represented by Mr. Yemi Odusanya, Executive Director, Corporate Bank & South Directorate shared the bank’s driving motivation for the partnership. “The importance of energy in the growth of businesses and for the livelihood of homes in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized.

“Energy cost is by all standards the major cost line in most homes and businesses.

“The scheme is set to eradicate the unnecessary prevalence of estimated billing which deprived the national economy of funds which otherwise could be deployed into other productive use.

“We are therefore excited to be part of this initiative to bring electricity to homes and businesses at the most prudent cost, putting households and business in control of their expenditure pattern.” He concluded.

Keystone Bank is a technology and service-driven commercial bank offering convenient and reliable solutions to its customers.

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CBN boosts Forex market with another $210 million

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The interbank segment of the Foreign Exchange Market has received a boost of $210 million from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) following sales concluded on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.

According to figures obtained from the Bank, authorized dealers in the wholesale segment of the market were offered the sum of $100million. Similarly, the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) segment received the sum of $55 million, while customers requiring foreign exchange for invisibles such as tuition fees, medical payments and Basic Travel Allowance (BTA), among others, were also allocated the sum of $55 million.

The Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Isaac Okorafor confirmed the transactions and disclosed that the effort of the Bank had helped to reduce exchange rate pressures across all segments of the market. According to him, the stability of the exchange rate underscored the level of confidence investors and the public had in the Naira.

It will be recalled that the Bank, at its last intervention on Friday, April 5, 2019, injected the sum of $247.8 million and CNY34.8 million into the Retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS) segment.

Meanwhile, the Naira on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, exchanged at an average of N360/$1 in the BDC segment of the market.

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