Zenith Bank: Driving innovation in Nigerian banking


Peter Amangbo Zenith BankBy Peter Amangbo, Chief Executive Officer, Zenith Bank Plc



Zenith Bank was incorporated in 1990 and transformed into a public limited company following a highly successful Initial Public Offering. The bank’s shares were listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange on 21 October 2004 and it trades freely on the London Stock Exchange after $850milion worth of shares were listed at $6.80 each in a major step to improve liquidity in its stock through global depository receipts.

The bank maintains a strong presence along the West African coast with wholly owned subsidiaries in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Gambia, as well as the United Kingdom. This is in addition to representative offices in South Africa, China and Dubai with plans underway to extend its franchise into other areas of the African region as well as the European and Asian markets. 

Over the years, through a strategic deployment of its people and Information Communication Technology, the bank has redefined customer service standards and created diverse service delivery channels in furtherance of its value creation objective to its customers.

Strategic objective

Zenith Bank has clearly distinguished itself in the banking industry through superior service quality, unique customer experience, sound financial indices and excellent corporate governance practices. These have become part of its corporate culture to the extent that the institution is freely associated with attributes including, creativity; best-in-class customer experience; excellent financial performance and asset quality; stable and dedicated management; highly skilled workforce; cutting-edge information and communication technology; and efficient and effective distribution channels.

The bank’s policy of assessing and managing its impact on markets forms an integral part of its strategy. Specifically, the bank’s consideration for how its present and future capital requirements will align with regulatory capital requirement puts it on a superb sustainability trajectory. The bank also has in place a well-articulated strategy to not only meet and surpass customer expectation but also ensure that it aligns with the best governance processes and procedures.

“Within 25 years, the bank has demonstrated its resilience, irrespective of the business or economic cycle, to become one of Nigeria’s strongest banking brands”

Zenith Bank Assets GraphAs a clear confirmation, in 2015 Zenith Bank was awarded three certifications from British Standards Institution (BSI) for Information Security Management System ISO/IEC 27001:2013, IT Service Management System ISO/IEC 20000-1:2011 and Business Continuity Management System, ISO 22301:2012. These awards demonstrate the bank’s continual commitment to offer its customers and stakeholders enhanced satisfaction in a more secure environment.

The underlying philosophy is for the bank to constantly fine tune to address the changing taste and sophistication of the customer and remain at all times a customer-centric institution with a clear understanding of its market and environment.

Within 25 years, the bank has demonstrated its resilience, irrespective of the business or economic cycle, to become one of Nigeria’s strongest banking brands and one of the country’s largest banks by market capitalisation and profitability.

The bank continues to impact positively on its standing as a market leader. In essence, Zenith Bank continues to record remarkable success on its sustainability agenda, which is at the heart of its strategic and business models. As a result, the bank is well-positioned to continue to maintain and even surpass its pedigree and its desire to be a vital part of people’s lives and businesses in Nigeria, Africa and other financial markets around the world.

Zenith Bank Gross Earnings Graph

Zenith’s success code

The Zenith brand is driven by a passion encapsulated in its excellent combination of people, technology and service.

At Zenith, value creation and best-in-class service delivery are all about people. The bank prides itself on possessing the best brains and talents necessary and sufficient for optimising the effectiveness and efficiency of the institution. Subsequently, its people, through a combination of training, experience and loyalty, develop the capability and capacity that are essential to attaining and sustaining stellar performance.

The bank’s staff are major contributors to the development of the processes and strategies that appropriate the big picture. As a result, they take responsibilities with a passion that is informed by knowledge of their role as an integral part of the institution.

Zenith Bank is, in effect, an institution with properly engaged, empowered and motivated people, with rare, real and high potential for leadership and team effectiveness.Zenith Bank Total Shareholders Graph

As an institution, the bank has always embraced the challenge of introducing new technology into its existing system and it has a history of the positive impact of a strategic deployment of technology on its service delivery, processes and offerings.

The bank, mindful of the disruptive power of the digital revolution, sees technology as an enabler and a generator of new opportunities. In effect, the bank is forward-thinking and benchmarking trends in technology to shape the future with a practical delivery on a highly automated platform that makes it unique and preferred.

At Zenith, excellent customer service is essentially premised on the golden rule that ‘the cost of acquiring a new customer is five times that of retaining an existing one’. In effect, the bank does everything legitimately possible to impress its existing and woo potential customers. Providing excellent customer service is emphasised at Zenith, based on the belief that great service delivery begins within the bank through our enthusiastic disposition and an untiring willingness to surpass expectation.

Zenith Bank Total Profit Graph

An eloquent attestation of Zenith Bank’s best-in-class, customer-centric service delivery was made by KPMG in its Banking Industry Customer Satisfaction Survey.  Zenith Bank Nigeria was ranked the best customer-focussed bank in both the retail and corporate banking categories on the basis of a Customer Satisfaction Index, which took into account key factors, such as convenience, product/service offering, transaction methods and systems, pricing and customer care. The survey covered more than 14,000 retail customers, 3,000 SMEs and 400 corporate/commercial organisations across Nigeria.

Mentorship and succession

The collaborative management approach in force at Zenith Bank has created one of Nigeria’s strongest management teams. The virtually non-existent turnover rate at the highest level of the bank’s administration allows for consistency, continuity, focus and authorship. The GMD/CEO Peter Amangbo, along with the other executive directors, leverage on the solid foundation laid by the bank’s founder Mr Jim Ovia, and have been able to collaboratively propel the institution to its current leading position.

Zenith Bank Total Deposits Graph

Mr Amangbo, having been schooled by the maverick Ovia, is imbued with the ability and capacity to make sense of unfathomably complex issues, the operational know-how to translate strategy into concrete plans, and the requisite skills to engender growth and foster commitment that challenge both real and virtual benchmarks. Working with a framework that synthesises opportunities and understands the dynamics of the operating environment, he is in good stead to continue to deliver on the bank’s promises and further enhance the bank’s growth to which he has been a prominent contributor.

Peter Amangbo vividly understands the context in which the bank and its people operate and couples this with an ability to develop a sustainable and flexible model that will perpetually ensure such great success.

According to Amangbo: “We at Zenith have combined our vision for what a major bank should be like with our banking expertise, our cutting-edge technology, our utter focus on the customers’ and the customer’s interests, and we have created products and services that not only meet customer’s expectations but actually anticipate and surpass them. This is exactly why this bank has thrived and grown wealth for its customers and shareholders.”

He further narrates the seamless synergy between customer and staff satisfaction, adding: “Our staff are major contributors to the development of the processes and strategies that appropriate the big picture. As a result, they take responsibilities with a passion that is informed by knowledge of their role as an integral part of the institution.”


About the Author:
Mr. Peter Amangbo has been the Chief Executive Officer of Zenith Bank Plc since June 1, 2014 and serves as its Group Managing Director. Mr. Amangbo has been an Executive Director at Zenith Bank Plc since 2005. He served as Managing Director of Zenith Bank Plc since June 1, 2014 and its Head of Corporate & Retail Banking Group and Zonal Head in Lagos.