The Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, Ebenezer Onyeagwu, has announced the bank’s intent to expand operations into France, during the Chartered Institute of Bankers annual dinner at Eko Hotels in Lagos.
With customer deposits totalling ₦13.38 trillion, Zenith Bank is among Nigeria’s largest financial institutions. The expansion into France follows a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the French government, initiating the process of obtaining a banking licence for Zenith to commence operations in the European country.
While Zenith’s CEO provided limited details on the timeline for regulatory approvals and the establishment of the France subsidiary, this move mirrors a trend among Nigerian banks expanding globally. First Bank of Nigeria, UBA, and Access Bank have similarly ventured into international markets.
Zenith Bank’s expansion strategy is similar to that of Access Bank, which has made moves to gain a foothold in Asia earlier in 2024. The regulatory approval, once granted, will position Zenith Bank to serve customers in France, a significant non-African trading partner.
Currently, Zenith Bank, while headquartered in Nigeria, operates subsidiaries in The Gambia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, the United Kingdom, UAE, and China. The bank’s overarching goal is to encourage cross-border marketing and solidify its position as a leader in commercial and retail banking segments. The bank’s lending business across subsidiaries focuses on international and export trade transactions.
Earlier this year, Zenith Bank made strides in advancing the digital landscape by signing an MoU with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). As part of this commitment, the bank allocated $1 million to the Smart Africa and AfCFTA (SMARTAfCFTA) portal, which seeks to promote digital financial inclusion in Africa.
Zenith’s unaudited third-quarter financial results have also demonstrated a robust performance, with a notable 149% increase, reaching ₦505 billion. As Zenith Bank expands its footprint beyond Africa, the move into France positions the institution for enhanced global influence in the financial sector.