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

…Declares 25 kobo dividend per share

Union Bank has released its audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2020. The bank’s results on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited for the full year period shows sustained growth in key income lines and significantly improved fundamentals notwithstanding a constrained operating environment largely due to the impact of the Covid19 pandemic.

Union Bank’s investments in technology and building a progressive work culture over the past eight years, enabled a swift response to the pandemic that allowed our workforce transition to remote working while maintaining the productivity required to deliver these strong set of results in 2020.

Here are the bank’s financial highlights

Profit before tax: up 2.8percent to N25.4billion (N24.7billion in FY 2019); Gross earnings: down 1.9percent to N156.9billion (N159.9billion in FY 2019); Net operating income after impairments: up 8.3percent to N103.4billion (N95.5billion in FY 2019); and Net interest income before impairment: up 10.1percent to N56.9billion (N51.7billion in FY 2019) due to reduced interest expenses.

Non-interest income: up 1.6percent to N44billion (N43.3billion in 2019) driven by growth in net trading income as well as revaluation gains; Operating expenses: up 10percent to N78billion (N70.8billion in FY 2019) due to an increase in regulatory and technology expenses; andGross loans: up 23.8percent to N736.7billion (N595.3billion in FY 2019) driven by targeted lending to key sectors of the economy.

Also, Customer deposits went up 27.6percent to N1.13trillion (N886.3billion in FY 2019) reflecting the bank’s agility in delivering a compelling range of products to our customers during the pandemic and increased adoption of our digital channels; non-performing loans ratio: down to 4percent from 5.8percent (FY 2019) driven by a disciplined recoveries strategy (N7.2billion in 2020), a more robust loan book and key restructurings to support customers during the pandemic.

Read Also: GTBank reports full year PBT of N238.1billion

Subject to shareholders’ approval, a dividend of 25 kobo per 50 kobo share is being proposed.

In December 2020, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Emeka Emuwa announced his retirement effective March 31, 2021. Following a successful search process, the Board has appointed Emeka Okonkwo, an Executive Director currently leading the Bank’s Corporate Banking business, to succeed him. Emeka Emuwa served as CEO for eight years and led the Bank’s transformation and repositioning as a key player in the Nigerian financial space.

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 8.3percent from N95.5billion to N103.4billion and translated into 2.8percent growth in Profit Before Tax to N25.4billion from N24.7billion. The core of this performance is driven by the growth in our loan book, with 23.8percent increase in gross loans, to N736.7billion from N595.3billion in 2019.”

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 10percent (N77.9billion from N70.8billion), well below the rate of inflation. Consequently, we saw marginal increase in our cost to income ratio to 75.4percent from 74.1percent. Our customer deposits hit a milestone during the year, crossing the N1trillion mark to N1.131trillion from N886.3billion in FY 2019, an increase of 27.1percent. Low cost deposits were up by 17percent, constituting 68percent of total deposits helping to push cost of funds down by 1.4percent.

“We continued to proactively manage our growing risk asset portfolio and recorded better asset quality, with our NPL ratio improving from 5.8percent to 4percent. This achievement, combined with a solid capital adequacy at 17.5percentand 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,” he said.

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