Last week’s release of the audited results for the half-year (HI) ended 30 June 2021, of Zenith Bank Plc, has continued to dominate discussions in the nation’s capital market as shareholders count their blessings over the impressive results churned out by the bank despite the current recovery mood of Nigeria’s economy.

The record showed that the bank recorded positive growth across key financial metrics in defiance of the crippling effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic on the overall economy.

Although the nation’s economy just recovered from a recession, yet the Group result showed growth in profit before tax of three per cent, from the N114 billion reported in H1 2020, to N117 billion in H1 2021. The Group also recorded a nine per cent growth in non-interest income from N116 billion in June 2020 to N127 billion in June 2021.

As a mark of its innovation, Zenith Bank was able to restrategise by ramping up its retail business in its bid to take a big chunk of the retail market, an exercise that eventually paid off within the period under review.

Consequently, the Group’s retail journey continued to deliver positive results as retail deposits grew by N38.2 billion from N1.72 trillion to N1.76 trillion year-to-date (YTD).

Another feature of the impressive result was the significant reduction in interest expense by 26 per cent and growth in non-interest income by nine per cent culminated in improved profitability.

Also, the financial institution’s savings balances grew marginally by two per cent YTD to close at N1.18 trillion, from N1.16 trillion as of December 2020.

The drive for increased retail deposits and a low-interest yield environment helped reduce the cost of funding from 2.2 per cent to 1.3 per cent in the current period. Furthermore, the results showed that operating expenses grew by 10 per cent year-on-year, but growth remained below the inflation rate, while the Group improved its Earnings per Share (EPS), which grew two per cent from N3.30 to N3.38 for the half-year ended June 2021.