Awards for Excellence 2021: Best bank in Zambia
Best Bank: Zambia National Commercial Bank
Zambia National Commercial Bank (Zanaco) continues to find new ways to shine, even when times are tough. Zambia’s universal bank saw profits decline by about a quarter in 2020, but elsewhere its financials demonstrate the regard in which it is held.
In a year in which the economy shrank by 3.5% and the US dollar appreciated by 49% against the local currency, Zanaco managed to trim its non-performing loan ratio by one percentage point, to 13.5%. Customer deposits grew 6.8% to $747 billion in 2020, with the bank registering a return on equity of 24.9%.
Zanaco stands out from the crowd in many other ways. It generated more income last year than any other local bank. It is also the largest lender to small firms. In 2020 its SME loan portfolio grew 85% year on year to $24.5 million.
And it is a leader in diversity and corporate social responsibility. By the end of 2020, its Village Banking programme, introduced two years ago, had attracted 3,000 rural groups, 19% of which are run exclusively by women. Last year the bank appointed its first female chief executive, Mukwandi Chibesakunda, and 60% of its senior management team is female.