Zenith Bank embarks on ambitious expansion plan with focus on France

By Joseph Ekeng 
In a strategic move aimed at driving international growth, Zenith Bank, one of Nigeria’s leading financial institutions boasting ₦13.38 trillion in customer deposits, has announced its plans to expand its operations to France. This expansion places Zenith Bank in the company of other Nigerian banks like First Bank, UBA, and Access Bank, all making strides to establish a global presence.
The revelation came from Ebenezer Onyeagwu, the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, during the Chartered Institute of Bankers’ annual dinner held at Eko Hotels in Lagos, recently.
“This afternoon, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government of France to signal the commencement of the issuance of a banking license to Zenith to commence operations in France,” disclosed Onyeagwu.
However, specific details regarding the timeline for approvals and regulatory processes for the French subsidiary were not provided.
Drawing parallels with Access Bank’s foray into Asia in early 2024, Zenith Bank’s strategic move seeks regulatory approval that, if granted, would position the bank to cater to customers in a region that stands as the largest non-African trading partner. This strategic maneuver mirrors the international expansion strategies of notable players like South Africa’s Standard Bank Group and TymeBank, enhancing Access Bank’s assets under management, which currently stand at $26.5 billion.
Zenith Bank already boasts subsidiaries in The Gambia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, the United Kingdom, UAE, and China, with its headquarters in Nigeria. The bank’s overarching objective is to foster cross-border marketing, solidifying its position as a leader in both commercial and retail segments. Notably, its lending business across subsidiaries focuses on international and export trade transactions. Earlier this year, Zenith Bank underscored its commitment to continental cooperation by signing an MoU with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and allocating $1 million to the SMARTAfCFTA portal—an initiative aimed at digitalizing trade.
The bank’s unaudited third-quarter financial results revealed a remarkable surge of 149%, reaching ₦505 billion. This substantial growth underscores Zenith Bank’s financial prowess and sets the stage for its ambitious international expansion into the French market, a move that aligns with the bank’s broader vision for global influence and market leadership.


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