Zenith Bank Seeks Operating Licence for Subsidiary in France

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By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Zenith Bank Plc has taken a huge step to establish a subsidiary in France, and to make this a reality, it has sealed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the French government.

The Chairman of the company, Mr Jim Ovia, confirmed that the lender may commence operations in the European nation next year, though it is working hard to secure a banking licence.

This will add to other countries Zenith Bank has presence in, including Ghana, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, and a Representative Office in China.

Speaking at a signing ceremony on Friday, November 24, 2023, Mr Ovia said the requisite regulatory approval would be sought by its United Kingdom branch from the Autorite’ de Controle Prudentiel et de Resolution (ACPR).

“It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to Nigeria and Zenith Bank. I am indeed very delighted about the signing of this MoU with France.

“For me, it is an honour to do this on behalf of the bank, and we look forward to securing the licence and starting operations in early 2024,” the former banker said, while thanking the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms Emmanuelle Blatmann, and her colleagues at the French Embassy in Nigeria for their efforts towards improving French-Nigerian business relations.

On his part, the French Minister for Trade, Attractiveness and French Nationals Abroad, Mr Olivier Becht, thanked the Nigerian lender for its “decision to open a branch of Zenith Bank in Paris.”

“We are thrilled to welcome in France Zenith Bank’s first office inside the European Union.

“For us, that’s a very good signal, and it is undoubtedly a demonstration of mutual confidence.

“[There is] no doubt also that your vision on international finance guided you to decide to open this branch and this decision in many respects can also be regarded as a milestone in French-Nigerian economic relations and an illustration of our friendship,” he added.

He noted that the government of President Macron had adopted a pro-business agenda in order to make France more attractive by undertaking several reforms in labour law, simplifying a lot of procedures and cutting business taxes, corporate taxes and production taxes by more than 25 billion Euros.

“We hope that the opening of the branch of Zenith Bank in France will also be an occasion to boost the French-Nigerian business in order to have more French companies investing in Nigeria and also to have more Nigerian companies investing in France,” he added.

Zenith Bank has continued to distinguish itself in the Nigerian financial services industry through superior service offerings, unique customer experience and sound financial indices.

The bank remains a clear leader in the digital space, with several firsts in deploying innovative products and solutions and an assortment of alternative channels that ensure convenience, speed, and safety of transactions.

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