Zenith Bank’s growth strategy is set to benefit Nigeria

As one of Nigeria’s leading financial institutions, Zenith Bank has key plans for both domestic and international growth

Zenith Bank hopes to enhance customer service experiences through the implementation of high quality information and communication technology platforms 

Founded in 1990, Zenith Bank is now the largest tier 1 bank in Nigeria. Following its public listing on the London Stock Exchange in 2004, it has since grown to have a shareholder base of roughly one million. The bank has spread both across Nigeria and the world. With its headquarters in Lagos, it has over 300 branches and offices across the rest of the country, along with subsidiaries and representatives across the world.

Speaking to World Finance, Peter Amangbo, CEO, Zenith Bank, discussed the company’s plans for growth in more depth. Overall, it is looking to pursue organic growth. In the short to medium term, the bank hopes to pursue growth internally. “Our strategy from inception”, Amangbo noted, “has been based on internal growth.”

In the longer term, Zenith Bank aims to promote growth through a strategy plan that focuses on trying to “improve – through creation and enhancement of new markets, products and services – and consolidate, through superior customer services, local and international awareness of our brand.”

Technological advancements
With this overall strategy in mind, the bank has a number of plans. It hopes to enhance customer service experiences through the implementation of high quality information and communication technology platforms. These, Amangbo said, will “create convenient banking channels and products for our customers.” The use of new technology platforms by the bank has so far proved successful.

Zenith Bank’s mobile banking application was used
7.1 million times in 2015

Its mobile banking application was used 7.1 million times in 2015. At the same time, its Corporate I-bank, which has the unique feature of enabling customers to view their information in other banks, experienced a volume of 9.5 million. Other Zenith Bank platforms have also proven popular, such as the eazymoney app, which allows non-customers with smartphones to carry out a variety of transactions.

Such apps allow non-customers to engage with the bank, potentially laying the ground for new customers within Nigeria. However, these new online banking technologies – in line with its strategy of internal growth – will also allow Zenith Bank to deepen its relationship it already has with existing customers. As Amangbo told World Finance: “These platforms provide a means by which our customers can be engaged digitally, increasing the depth of the relationships with these individual customers.” And the results are showing: the most recent available survey on customer satisfaction conducted by KPMG ranked Zenith as the most customer focused bank, an award it also won in the preceding year.

Another area of internal growth that Zenith Bank is working on is to create cohesion among the bank’s various components. “Our policies, practices and processes”, Amangbo pointed out, “are designed to ensure a handshake among the bank’s components and build a culture of collaboration that is tailored towards achieving the bank’s stated objectives.” Cohesion within the bank is nurtured by giving clear directives of the business’ vision, mission and goals, with each department aware of how they will specifically contribute to this.

Widespread customer focus
The bank’s business focus is communicated to each of its core business groups (BFGs) with the target customers they are primarily meant to serve clearly identified. In allocating responsibilities, the executive management ensures that all customers receive and experience the same quality of service across all of its BFGs.

Going forward, Zenith Bank hopes to expand both domestically and internationally – and it is in a good position to do so. Within Nigeria, it is among the safest and most risk minimising banks, in terms of capital ratios. Its capital adequacy ration is 21.92 percent, which is well above the regulatory requirement of 16 percent for systemically important banks. In terms of international expansion, Amangbo said it plans to grow its “operations overseas in the world’s major financial centres”, which it hopes will enable it to “provide multinational customers with cross-border financial solutions which will meet their international requirements.”

To this end, its European subsidiary Zenith UK, based in London, is well positioned. It already assists the bank’s various West African subsidiaries in the form of trade finance services. With a combination of a progressive use of technology, focused internal growth, a strategy of nurturing institutional cohesion and a growing international presence, Zenith Bank is just starting out on its successful path.