Zenith Bank, which is one of Nigeria’s top financial institutions boasting up to ₦13.38 trillion in customer deposits, is set to spread its wings by venturing into the French market. We have seen other Nigerian banks take such an approach. The likes of First Bank, UBA, and Access Bank are an example. These aforementioned banks have made moves and expanded globally. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, who is the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, revealed that Zenith Bank would be starting this expansion during the Chartered Institute of Bankers’ annual dinner held at Eko Hotels in Lagos on Friday.
Access Bank made a move to expand into Asia in the early stages of 2024, and this means Zenith Bank will be replicating this global expansion method in France. Securing regulatory approval for the French venture would position Zenith Bank to cater to customers in a region that represents its largest non-African trading partner. This strategic maneuver aligns with the international expansions undertaken by South Africa’s Standard Bank Group and TymeBank in Asia, contributing to the growth of Access Bank’s assets under management, currently standing at $26.5 billion.
During the dinner, Ebenezer Onyeagwu announced that Zenith Bank signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the French government, which marked the beginning of the process for the Bank to be granted a banking license and commence operations in France. Although the CEO was very excited about the expansion, he only provided very few details on the expected timeline for regulatory approvals for the French subsidiary.
Currently, Zenith Bank operates subsidiaries in parts of Africa including The Gambia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and then other parts of the world like the United Kingdom, UAE, and China, with its headquarters in Nigeria. The lending activities across its subdivisions are primarily geared towards international and export trade transactions.