Zenith Bank Plc has said its profit after tax rose by five per cent to N53.1bn for the first quarter of 2021 from N50.5bn in the same period of 2020.
It said this in a statement on its unaudited results for the quarter ended March 31, 2021.
The bank said this was despite a very challenging macroeconomic environment aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
From the unaudited statement of account presented to the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Friday, the statement said the group’s profit before tax also grew by four per cent from N58.8bn to N61.0bn in the same period.
It said the profitability was driven by the optimisation of the cost of funds and improvement in non-interest income.
The bank’s cost of funds reduced significantly from 2.6 per cent in March 2020 to 1.1 per cent in March 2021.
Non-interest income increased by 10 per cent from N46.6bn to N51.2bn, driven by growth in credit-related fees and fees on electronic products.
Non-interest income was boosted by the increase in fees and commission income, which resulted from the increased volume of transactions across all the bank’s channels.
The cost of risk dropped from 0.6 per cent in March 2020 to 0.5 per cent in March 2021, which affirmed the bank’s prudent risk management, even as gross loans increased by two per cent from N2.92tn to N2.98tn in Q1 2021, it stated.
The bank said its robust customer acquisition strategy and the effectiveness of its electronic platforms and digital channels enabled it to deliver a N54bn increment in the savings account balance, which was solely retail. Customer deposits grew by six per cent from N5.34tn in December 2020 to N5.68tn in March 2021.