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ZENITH BANK’S FLAGSHIP TECH FAIR ENDS WITH PROMISING TECH TALENTS WINNING GENEROUS PRIZES

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The Third Edition of the Zenith Bank Tech Fair, themed “Future Forward 3.0”, which was held on November 23-24, 2023, at the Eko Convention Centre, Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos has concluded. From the over 500 contestants that participated in the Zenith Hackathon (Zecathon), Sync, a team collaboration and workflow management platform that provides synergy, enables project management, task planning, messaging, payments, scheduling and people operations, emerged as the overall winner, taking home the grand prize of N20 million. This is in addition to a mentorship programme with Seedstars, a company dedicated to implementing high-quality capacity-building programmes for entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

The first runner-up, Skill Up With Kahdsole (SUWK), a social-tech startup that provides an end-to-end platform for learning technical and vocational skills to empower young people, won N15 million and a mentorship programme with Seedstars, while the second runner-up, Tribapay, a payment processing gateway that allows for cross-border payments and transactions in Nigeria and Ghana, won N10 million as well as a mentorship programme with Seedstars. Other finalists who took home N2 million each include Edupoint, Joovlin, Frootify, Izesan Limited, Natal Cares, Plychain.io, and Niteon.

In his welcome address at the Zenith Bank flagship Tech Fair, the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, Dr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, expressed his excitement for this year’s Hackathon, stating that it was indeed the high point of the overall event. According to him, “We have deliberately kept the best for the last. The high point of today’s event is the Hackathon. This is where we have the opportunity to see the immense creativity and talent in our youth as they come up with different innovative ideas.” He added that “the good thing about the Hackathon is that the pitches you see presented are completely different from the ones we have seen before and we intend to make it far more elaborate as we hope that as we go into the future, we should be able to bring back winners where they can tell the audience their journey and how they have progressed so far.”

The two-day Tech Fair which was described as a huge success by participants, featured presentations on the leading technological innovations that cut across different aspects of life, such as Artificial Intelligence, Contactless Payments, Cybersecurity, Cloud Computing, FinTech, Data Analytics, Financial Intelligence, and communication technologies, with the keynote address,” “Artificial Intelligence – Application & Bias “, delivered by Chris Lu, the renowned IT Specialist, business strategist and Managing Director for Huawei Technologies, Nigeria.

The event also featured a welcome address by Dr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, Group Managing Director of Zenith Bank Plc and Chairman of Body of Banks’ CEOs, Nigeria, and a goodwill messages by the Honourable Minister of Communication, Innovation & Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani and Dr. Doris Anite, Hon. Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment (represented by Dr. Femi Adeluyi, National Coordinator for the National Talent Programme). Other eminent IT practitioners from top global brands who also made presentations include Demola Sanusi, Solutions Architect, Amazon Web Services; Temitope Aladenusi, Partner & Leader Cybersecurity, Deloitte; Andrew Uaboi, Vice President/Cluster Head, Visa West Africa; Dr. Blaise Ijebor, Director of Risk Management, CBN; Keelan Singh, Head, UiPath EMEA Banking and Financial Services; Shweta Juneja, Partner, McKinsey Digital; Wole Odeleye, Financial Services Technology Lead, Microsoft; Ope Ajayi, Founder & CEO, Cinemax; Elo Umeh, and Managing Director of Terragon.

The fair featured two panel sessions. The first panel, which examined “The next frontier: Digital Wallets, Contactless payments and BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later)”, had Chris Lu as the host, with five discussants, including Fey Wong, Country Director, Palmpay; Premier Oiwoh, Managing Director, NIBSS; Vincent Ogbunude, Managing Director, Verve; Ebehijie Momoh, Country Manager, MasterCard, and Managing Director of Network International, Adelola Agbebiyi.

The second panel explored the theme “The intersection of Fintech, eCommerce and SMEs – Collaboration for growth”. It was hosted by John Obidi and had five discussants, including Prince Nnamdi Ekeh, Chief Executive Officer, Konga; Tunde Kehinde, Managing Director, Lydia; Stan Martins, Regional Director, Meta; John Obaro, Chief Executive Officer, Systemspecs, and Seyi Banigbe, Founder of Bland2Glam.

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ADAORA UMEOJI HIGHLIGHTS ZENITH BANK’S ROBUST FINANCIAL METRICS: SAYS BANK IS POISED TO CROSS THE N1 TRILLION MARK IN PROFIT IN 2024

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Zenith Bank Plc, Nigeria’s leading financial institution, held its Capital Markets Day last week to showcase the bank’s inherent values as it embarks on its recapitalisation journey. The event, which brought together key market players, focused on the bank’s growth trajectory, strategic objectives, market performance, and consistent, robust dividend payout over the years. It also provided an opportunity for the bank to inform capital market stakeholders about its robust risk management culture, adherence to regulations, capital adequacy, and maintenance of low non-performing loan levels.

Addressing capital market stakeholders, investors, and analysts at the event in Lagos, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Dame Dr Adaora Umeoji, highlighted the financial institution’s tier-1 capital of N1.8 trillion, shareholders’ funds of N2.3 trillion, market capitalisation of N1.3 trillion, a profit before tax of N796 billion, and a dividend of N4 per share for the year ended December 2023. Providing guidance for 2024, she noted that, given the trend of the bank’s performance and having achieved a profit before tax of N796 billion in 2023 and N320 billion in the first quarter of 2024, the bank is on track to deliver over N1 trillion in profit before tax in 2024. She expressed confidence that, with the quality of the board and management and a strong corporate culture, the bank is well-positioned to deliver superior value to investors and other stakeholders and to navigate the recapitalisation process successfully. She also disclosed some of the bank’s future plans, which include driving financial inclusion, expanding corporate and retail banking through technology and other state-of-the-art digital platforms, and establishing a fintech subsidiary, ZenPay, to drive profitability. Additionally, the bank intends to expand to France and other Francophone African countries.

Dr Umeoji explained, “For us at Zenith, we won’t be left out. We are planning to go to the market to raise capital, and as it stands, Zenith Bank has the least amount of capital to raise. We are looking to raise N230 billion because we are already at N270.7 billion. That is the least capital to raise among our peers. We believe that Zenith Bank has what it takes. We have the capacity, the network, the balance sheet, the human capital, and the track record to achieve that. We are planning for the future, and the technology we have now is the best in the entire industry. It will help us to have a seamless process and integrate.”

Also speaking, the Chief Financial Officer/General Manager, Dr Mukhtar Adam, pointed out that in the last five years, the bank’s Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) in revenue has grown by over 27 per cent. “This continues to grow year-on-year. Within this period, at some point, Nigeria went into recession, but we forged ahead, worked very hard, and continued to deliver growth. Within the last five years, our profit before tax has also grown cumulatively by about 28 per cent. This is a market where, at some point, government instruments – treasury bills – were paying one per cent, two per cent, three per cent. But we forged ahead to grow the numbers and provide stable returns of at least 28 per cent.”

Zenith Bank recently emerged as the Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria, in the World Finance Banking Awards 2024, retaining the award for the fourth consecutive year. The bank was also named Best Corporate Governance, Nigeria, for the third year running in the World Finance Corporate Governance Awards 2024. The awards, published in the Summer 2024 issue of World Finance Magazine, recognise the bank’s robust financial performance, superior customer service, sustainability initiatives, and corporate governance practices.

Commenting on the dual honours, Dr. Umeoji said, “These awards highlight our steadfast dedication to excellence, adherence to global best practices, and our persistent effort to deliver superior value to all stakeholders through innovative products and services. Receiving these awards consecutively for multiple years signifies the commitment of our staff, the loyalty of our customers, and the support of our shareholders. We remain devoted to setting industry benchmarks and driving excellence across all aspects of our operations.”

Dr. Umeoji also expressed delight at the recognition and dedicated the awards to the Founder and Chairman, Dr. Jim Ovia, CFR, for his impactful leadership in establishing a robust and flourishing institution. She also expressed gratitude to the board for their vision and insight, the staff for their unwavering dedication, and the bank’s customers for choosing Zenith as their preferred bank. World Finance is a leading international magazine providing comprehensive coverage and analysis of the financial industry, international business, and the global economy.

In its audited results for the year ended December 31, 2023, Zenith Bank achieved a remarkable triple-digit growth of 125 per cent in gross earnings, from N945.6 billion reported in 2022 to N2.132 trillion in 2023. The impressive growth in gross earnings resulted in a year-on-year increase of 180 per cent in profit before tax (PBT), from N284.7 billion in 2022 to N796 billion in 2023, while profit after tax (PAT) also recorded triple-digit growth of 202 per cent, from N223.9 billion to N676.9 billion for the period ended December 31, 2023.

The increase in gross earnings was primarily due to growth in interest and non-interest income. Specifically, its interest income increased by 112 per cent, from N540 billion in 2022 to N1.1 trillion in 2023, while non-interest income grew by 141 per cent, from N381 billion to N918.9 billion in the same period. The rise in interest income was attributed to the growth in the size of risk assets and their effective repricing, alongside the increase in yield of other interest-bearing instruments over the year. Growth in non-interest income was driven by significant trading gains and an increase in gains from the revaluation of foreign currencies.

Zenith Bank’s cost of funds also grew from 1.9 per cent in 2022 to three per cent in 2023 due to the high interest rate environment, while interest expense increased by 135 per cent, from N173.5 billion in 2022 to N408.5 billion in 2023. Notwithstanding the 32 per cent growth in operating expenses in 2023, the Group’s cost-to-income ratio improved significantly from 54.4 per cent in 2022 to 36.1 per cent in 2023 due to improved top-line performance. Return on Average Equity (ROAE) increased by 118 per cent, from 16.8 per cent in 2022 to 36.6 per cent in 2023, underpinned by improved gross earnings, as the Group sought to deliver better shareholder returns. Return on Average Assets (ROAA) also grew by 95 per cent, from 2.1 per cent to 4.1 per cent in the same period.

Zenith Bank was established in May 1990 and commenced operations in July of the same year as a commercial bank. The bank became a public limited company on June 17, 2004, and was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on October 21, 2004, following a highly successful Initial Public Offering (IPO). In 2013, the bank listed $850 million worth of its shares at $6.80 each on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). Headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, Zenith Bank Plc has more than 400 branches and business offices in prime commercial centres across all states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Zenith Bank Plc, founded by Jim Ovia, CFR, in 1990, has since grown to become one of the leading financial institutions in Africa. The underlying philosophy is for the bank to remain a customer-centric institution with a clear understanding of its market and environment. Zenith Bank’s track record of excellent performance has continued to earn the brand numerous awards. These latest accolades follow several recognitions, including being recognised as the Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital for the 14th consecutive year in the 2023 Top 1000 World Banks Ranking, published by The Banker Magazine; Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards for 2020 and 2022; and Most Sustainable Bank, Nigeria, in the International Banker 2024 Banking Awards, among several others.

Zenith Bank Plc has blazed the trail in digital banking in Nigeria, achieving several firsts in the deployment of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure to create innovative products that meet the needs of its customers. The bank is a leader in the deployment of various channels of banking technology, and the Zenith brand has become synonymous with state-of-the-art technologies in banking. Driven by a culture of excellence and strict adherence to global best practices, the bank has combined vision, skilful banking expertise, and cutting-edge technology to create products and services that anticipate and meet customers’ expectations, enable businesses to thrive, and grow wealth for customers.

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Wema Bank Commemorates International Day of Cooperatives in Collaboration with Lagos State Government

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Reiterates Commitment to Empowering Cooperative Societies for Optimal Productivity through CoopHub.

Wema Bank, Nigeria’s foremost innovative bank and pioneer of Africa’s first fully digital bank ALAT, has reiterated its commitment to empowering cooperative societies for optimal productivity through its digital solution for cooperatives, CoopHub, at the Lagos State Government Ministry of Commerce, Cooperatives, Trade and Investment International Day of Cooperatives 2024 Event held on Saturday, 6th July 2024.

International Day of Cooperatives is a global celebration commemorated annually on the first Saturday of July, to recognise the significant impact of cooperative societies in promoting sustainable economic growth and their role in building a more sustainable future. Themed “Cooperatives: Building a Better Future For All”, the 2024 International Day of Cooperatives commemorated by the Lagos State Government in collaboration with Wema Bank, convened key players in the cooperative ecosystem towards proffering solutions to prevalent challenges faced by cooperatives in Nigeria and creating a more sustainable future for all, through the cooperative industry. CoopHub, Wema Bank’s digital solution for cooperative societies stood out as a key solution to not only overcoming the challenges impeding the growth of cooperative societies but also boosting economic growth and creating a better future for all.

CoopHub is a digital solution launched by Wema Bank to empower cooperative societies with the resources, opportunities and support they need to operate seamlessly, achieve maximum productivity and meet the needs of members in the most efficient way. Simultaneously eradicating the struggles of manual recordkeeping, poor access to loans, inefficient communication and planning, tedious processes and insecurity of funds and data, CoopHub refines the cooperative experience by facilitating secure financial transactions, 100% transparency within cooperative societies, easily accessible and trackable records for both members and leaders, efficient member management for leaders and real-time reporting for informed decision making, all from the comfort of their phones and gadgets, ensuring that cooperative societies can achieve their goals easily and remain productive. This revolutionary solution has proven itself a gamechanger for the Nigerian Cooperative Industry and potentially, will serve as the launchpad of the industry on the global scale.

Recapitulating the role of cooperative societies as an essential avenue for economic growth, Wema Bank’s Divisional Head of Retail and SME, Ayodele Olojede, emphasised the need for intentional, impactful and sustainable efforts towards the advancement of the Nigerian Cooperative Industry. “Cooperative Societies represent a very significant platform for socio-economic development and for us at Wema Bank, we stand proudly as the cooperative-centric bank that is committed to providing the resources and tailored solutions that these cooperatives need to thrive and remain successful. CoopHub is the perfect embodiment of this commitment, and we are thrilled that more cooperatives are discovering this solution and coming on board to optimise their operations and maximise the opportunities provided for their growth. The achievement of a sustainable and ideal future for cooperative societies not only requires that we adapt to the increasingly digital world we exist in, but also drive more inclusivity for the youth to also key in. CoopHub succinctly unites both pillars in one and as the digital solution pioneered by Nigeria’s most resilient and innovative bank, you can trust that the future we are enabling for cooperative societies is one that is built to last”.

“As the Bank that is committed to creating and promoting viable opportunities for women, in celebration of International Day of Cooperatives, we are supporting every woman present here at the Lagos State Government Ministry of Commerce, Cooperatives, Trade and Investment International Day of Cooperatives 2024 Event, with a free healthcare plan through our women-focused proposition, SARA by Wema. We remain unwavering in our lifelong mission of empowering lives through innovation and are committed to proliferating our positive impact across every key vertical that is instrumental to the success of the people and the growth of the Nigerian economy. We take this unique celebration as an opportunity to further reiterate our commitment to empowering cooperative societies for optimal productivity through CoopHub. She concluded.

Since its launch in May 2024, CoopHub, the first of its kind in the Nigerian financial services industry, has onboarded over 1,000 cooperative societies, helping them optimise their operations and secure the resources and support they need to thrive with maximum efficiency. With its unique, simplified and tailored configuration, CoopHub stands as the future of Nigerian cooperative societies.

Cooperative Societies that are interested in getting started on CoopHub, are encouraged to visit https://coophub.alat.ng and get onboarded in minutes.

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Education commissioners meet to address sexual harassment issue in tertiary institutions

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 Commissioners for Education in the country will engage with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related offenses Commission (ICPC) in Abuja to strategize on best way to address the pervasive issue of sexual harassment.

The meeting which is expected to
focus on sexual harassment in tertiary institutions is convened by the ICPC and Gender Mobile Initiative (GMI), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO).

Ms Omowumi Ogunrotimi,
Executive Director, Gender Mobile Initiative, said the engagement would focus more on prevention frameworks rather than punitive measures.

“Development partners, education regulators, student groups and civil society organisations will engage and commit to the state-level adoption and implementation of sexual harassment prevention frameworks,” she said.

According to Ogunrotimi, the engagement scheduled to hold on July 9 will address the grave concern that undermines the safety, dignity and academic integrity of both victims and institutions.

“It is imperative that we create a learning environment where all students and educators can pursue their goals free from fear and intimidation.

“To achieve this, it is essential to implement comprehensive policies and effective prevention strategies.

“To this end a stakeholders engagement will be convoked on July 9 in Abuja, to address the pervasive issue of sexual harassment on campuses, with a comprehensive focus on prevention frameworks,” Ogunrotimi said.

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