…as NPL ratio declines to 8.1%

By Peter Egwuatu

Shareholders of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc have commended the debt recovery drive by its management as the bank’s Non Performing Loan, NPL ratio declined to 8.1 percent for the financial year ended December 31, 2018 from 20.8 percent in the corresponding period of 2017.

The shareholders at the Bank’s 50th Annual General Meeting (AGM) which held in Lagos on Tuesday approved the Group’s 2018 annual accounts presented by the Chairman of the Board Cyril Odu.

Union Bank
Union Bank

While addressing shareholders at the AGM, Odu highlighted some major achievements of the Bank in 2018 which included: strengthening retail and transaction banking offerings and the launch of the first Local Letter of Credit to support local trade; the launch of the inaugural N13.5 billion Bond issue and the adoption of the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology – the first Bank to do so in Nigeria.

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Major highlights of the Group’s financial performance in 2018 show that profit before tax grew by 33 percent to ₦18.5 billion from ₦13.9 billion in 2017. Customer deposits also went up by seven percent to ₦ 857.6 billion compared to ₦802.4 billion in 2017, continuing its upward trajectory since 2016; an indication of consumers’ growing confidence in the brand.

In addition, the Return on Tangible Equity (ROTE) improved to 9.6 percent from 6.2 percent in 2017 demonstrating long-term shareholder value enhancement.

According Odu; “ We have positioned Union Bank to take advantage of the emerging opportunities in the economy and remain optimistic about the future of the Bank. We will execute our 2019-2021 strategic objectives – Sweating our Assets, Digitizing our Bank, and Positioning for the Future – towards being Nigeria’s most reliable and trusted banking partner. We will focus on embedding disciplined cost management as well as mining synergies across business segments and functions to improve the profitability of our business and deliver value to all our stakeholders – shareholders, customers, business partners’ and employees.”

Business conducted during the AGM included the election and re-election of Directors and members of the Statutory Audit Committee by the shareholders, and the authorisation of the Directors to fix the remuneration of the Auditor.

 

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Speaking on the Group’s performance for 2018 and plans for 2019, the Chief Executive Officer, Emeka Emuwa 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.

In 2019, we will double-down on our productivity efforts to deliver our financial targets. We are harnessing synergies across our business segments to ensure we maximize opportunities across entire value chains, while centralising key business and operational functions for better efficiency, and prioritizing customer experience across all our touch points.

Following the successful execution of the Bank’s debut local currency bond issue to raise N13.5bn and the tightening up of its loan portfolio, Union Bank is well positioned to continue executing key business priorities in 2019 and beyond.

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