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    Union Bank reports full year pre-tax profit by 2.8% to N25.4bn

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    Godwin Okaforhttps://naija247news.com
    Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

    Union Bank of Nigeria Plc has released its audited financial statements for the year ended 31st December 2020 with gross earnings down 1.9% to N156.9 billion fromN159.9 billion in FY 2019).

    The bank’s results released March 18, 2021 at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) showed profit before tax up 2.8% to N25.4 billion from N24.7 billion in FY 2019 while profit after tax up 1.14% to N24.653 billion from N24.375 billion in 2019.

    Other highlights of the result include net operating income after impairments: up 8.3% to N103.4bn (N95.5bn in FY 2019); net interest income before impairment: up 10.1% to N56.9bn (N51.7bn in FY 2019); non-interest income: up 1.6% to N44bn (N43.3bn in 2019); operating expenses: up 10% to N78bn (N70.8bn in FY 2019); gross loans: up 23.8% to N736.7bn (N595.3bn in FY 2019); customer deposits: up 27.6% to N1,131.1bn (N886.3bn in FY 2019); non-performing loans ratio: down to 4% from 5.8% (FY 2019).

    Commenting on the results, Emeka Emuwa, CEO said: “The Bank has delivered a strong set of results notwithstanding the impact of COVID-19 on our operations and the wider economy, enabling the Board of Directors to continue to return value to shareholders with a proposed dividend payment for the second year in a row. This demonstrates the strong foundations we have built, as we continue to deliver against our target of becoming a leading financial institution in Nigeria.

    “For the full year, we grew across key income lines. Net income after impairments grew 8.3% from ₦95.5bn to ₦103.4bn and translated into 2.8% growth in Profit Before Tax to ₦25.4bn from ₦24.7bn.

    “The core of this performance is driven by the growth in our loan book, with 23.8% increase in gross loans, to ₦736.7bn from ₦595.3bn in 2019.

    “The pandemic accelerated trends in customer behaviour and we have seen rapid increase in digital adoption with a 38% YOY increase in active users on our UnionMobile channel with total active users now at 2.9 million. Our UnionOne and Union360 platforms for businesses grew by 11% from 25,000 users to 27,700 users. 94% of transactions in the Bank are now done digitally, up from 89% in 2019.

    “We also aggressively grew UnionDirect (our agent network) by 6x from 3,100 to 18,100 in line with our focus on our retail business. With our investments yielding positive results, we are well positioned as a strong leader in the retail and digital space.

    “In 2021, the Bank will focus on enhancing revenues and shareholder value by revving up customer acquisition, engagement and transactions through seamless customer journeys and an optimized service delivery platform.

    “As I retire following eight years of rebuilding and repositioning this storied institution, I am convinced that with the excellent management team and a clear strategy in place, Union Bank is well positioned to continue to compete and deliver value to its shareholders.”

    Emuwa Emuwa had in December 2020 announced his retirement effective March 31, 2021 and the board appointed Emeka Okonkwo, an Executive Director currently leading the Bank’s Corporate Banking business, to succeed him.

    Speaking on the FY 2020 numbers, Chief Financial Officer, Joe Mbulu said: “We are pleased with both our top and bottom-line performance in 2020, in light of the impact of the pandemic and economic challenges. Significant inflationary pressures and the translation of currency depreciation drove growth in our cost base, however we maintained strong control, limiting operating expense increase to 10% (₦77.9bn from ₦70.8bn), well below the rate of inflation. Consequently, we saw marginal increase in our cost to income ratio to 75.4% from 74.1%.

    “Our customer deposits hit a milestone during the year, crossing the ₦1tr mark to ₦1,131.1bn from ₦886.3bn in FY 2019, an increase of 27.1%. Low cost deposits were up by 17%, constituting 68% of total deposits helping to push cost of funds down by 1.4%.

    “We continued to proactively manage our growing risk asset portfolio and recorded better asset quality, with our NPL ratio improving from 5.8% to 4.0%. This achievement, combined with a solid capital adequacy at 17.5% and continued top-line growth, provides the platform for strong growth going forward.

    “We will continue to grow our loan portfolio in 2021, which we expect to be a significant driver of growth, combined with our value chain synergies across our business which will drive customer and transaction growth during the year and beyond.

    “Our UBUK subsidiary remains classified as “Available for Sale” as the sale process continues albeit delayed due to the pandemic-induced lockdowns.”

    Meanwhile, the bank has announced that a Final Dividend of twenty-five (25) kobo for every share of 50K subject to appropriate withholding tax and approval will be paid to shareholders whose names appear in the Register of Members as at the close of business on the 31st day of March 2021.

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