By Nkiruka Nnorom
Union Bank of Nigeria Plc has recorded 33 percent growth in profit before tax (PBT) to N18.5 billion for the year ended December 31, 2018.
The bank’s financial report for the period released yesterday on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, showed that gross earnings fell to N145 billion from N168 billion in 2017, representing 11 percent decline over the one year period.
Other highlights of the result showed that the Non-Performing Loan, NPL, ratio was down eight percent from 20.8 percent as at December 2017, while operating expenses grew by 12.4 percent to N75.0 billion from N66.7 billion in 2017.
The bank’s customer deposit also rose to N857.6 billion compared to N802.4 billion in the previous year.
The managing director, Emeka Emuwa, speaking on the result, said: “Our priorities in 2018 were three pronged: enhancing our productivity across board; tightening up our loan portfolio (especially resolving key large exposures which drove NPLs up significantly at the end of 2017); and optimizing the bank’s capital and funding base.
“I am pleased to report that we made significant strides in each focus area. Notwithstanding a depressed economic environment and a challenging operating landscape, our efforts to optimise productivity delivered results. Union Bank’s Group Profit Before Tax (PBT) is up 33% to ¦ 18.5 billion in 2018 from¦ 13.9 billion in 2017.”
Chief Financial Officer, Joe Mbulu, commenting further on the 2018 results, attributed the decline in the gross earning to consequence of the loan book clean-up and resolution of key exposures.
“Notwithstanding significant investments to execute our strategy including expanding our agency banking footprint and aligning compensation with market for our entry to mid-level employees, we are pleased that our core business delivered a 33 percent growth to our topline PBT,” he said.