Provider Focus – Zenith Bank (UK) Limited

31st January 2017

We are often asked for more information on various savings providers that are of interest to savers. In this regular series of articles, we aim to turn the spotlight on these providers to give you more information about their background and history and why they are of particular interest in today’s savings market.

Alongside these articles, you may also find our Guide to Challenger Banks useful for more information on some of the banks that are seeking to break the monopoly of the big high street names.

We hope that you find this information useful and as always, if you have any feedback or suggestions as to who should appear in a future article, please let us know.

The provider chosen this time is Zenith Bank (UK) Limited, a bank that entered the UK savings market in November. As a recent entrant to our best buy tables, this is an ideal time to give you more information on the provider and a good opportunity to get your feedback.

Background Information

Zenith Bank (UK) Limited is fairly new to the UK savings market, but it has actually been in existence since 2007, when it was established as the United Kingdom subsidiary of Zenith Bank Plc, a large Nigerian bank. Zenith Bank Plc was established in May 1990 and it has its headquarters in Lagos and over 500 branches and business offices in Nigeria.

The UK subsidiary is based in central London and whilst applications are online only, you are able to contact them by telephone with queries or questions.

Zenith Bank (UK) Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). Zenith Bank (UK) Limited is a member of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), so funds placed with the provider would be covered up to £85,000 per person, should the provider go out of business.

For more information on the FSCS, please take a look at our handy guide or call us on 0800 321 3581 to speak to one of our expert savings advisers.  

Today’s Savings Market

Zenith Bank (UK) Limited entered the UK savings market with 1, 2 and 3 year fixed rate bonds, each of which was competitive for the respective terms and entered our best buy tables on launch.

At the time of writing, as a result of some positive movements amongst fixed rate bonds, only the 1 year account remains in our best buy tables, although the 2 and 3 year accounts remain competitive, sitting just below the top five accounts for those terms.

The current interest rates are listed below, click on the links for more information.

1 Year Fixed Term Deposit - 1.30% gross/AER
2 Year Fixed Term Deposit - 1.52% gross/AER
3 Year Fixed Term Deposit - 1.60% gross/AER

For alternatives and to compare the accounts to the rest of the market, please take a look at our Fixed Rate Bond Best Buy Tables.

Application Process and Customer Service

You can only apply for the accounts above online and there is a fairly standard minimum opening balance requirement of £1,000, which is comparable to a number of alternatives on the market. Whilst online only applications are common amongst many of the top savings rates at the moment, this will not suit everyone, so those who do not have access to the internet or prefer not to use it for financial transactions, will have to look elsewhere.

That said, the application process appears to be straightforward and we haven’t received any negative feedback from those that have applied for the accounts. One thing to note is that the provider has a relatively short window of seven days in which to fund the account, although they do send reminders about the deadline, once you have opened the account

Our Concierge department has had interactions with Zenith Bank (UK) Limited and their dealings with the provider have been positive overall.

Whilst it is of course early days, we have not been made aware of many negative experiences so far from any of our clients or from our own dealings with the provider. Of course, as mentioned earlier, your thoughts and experiences about providers’ customer service are invaluable for us, particularly about providers that are new to us or to the savings market, so please get in touch to share any feedback you have. 

A final word…

It is tempting to stick to the well-known brands when it comes to savings accounts, but in doing so, you may be missing out on some of the best rates on the market. Whilst there are some exceptions, for example High Interest Current Accounts, you can no longer rely on the larger brands and high street names to offer the best interest rates. Providers like Zenith Bank (UK) Limited are aiming to drive competition in the savings market and offer some of the best rates available at the moment. The best strategy is to look at all options and take each provider on its own merits, considering alternative providers to get the best returns for your money. As long as you do your research (or ask us for more information!) and are comfortable with the provider, there is no reason not to consider them.

As mentioned earlier, if there is a provider that you would like to see featured in a future article, please let us know. We are also keen to hear from you if you have any feedback about any provider’s customer service, good or bad! Please contact us at [email protected] to share your experiences.

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