By Nkiruka Nnorom
United Bank for Africa, UBA Plc has recorded N490.3 billion gross earnings for the third quarter ended September 30, 2021 (Q3’21), representing eight percent increase over N454.4 billion posted in the corresponding period in 2020.
Highlights of the bank’s financial statement filed at the Nigerian Exchange Limited, NGX, showed that operating income grew by 13 percent year-on-year to N331.7 billion, up from N293.7 billion achieved a year earlier.
In the report filed yesterday, UBA reported a 37 per cent increase in Profit Before Tax, PBT, to N123.4 billion compared to N90.4 billion recorded at the end of the third quarter of 2020, while Profit After Tax, PAT, rose significantly by 36 percent to N104.6 billion from N77.1 billion recorded a year earlier, thus putting its annualised return on average equity for Q3 2021 at 19.2 percent compared to 16.4 percent recorded in the similar period of 2020.
UBA continues to maintain a very strong balance sheet, with Total Assets of N8.3 trillion, an eight percent increase over the N7.7 trillion recorded at the end of December 2020, just as the bank benefited largely from its technology-led initiatives targeted at improving customer experience over the past few years, with Customer Deposits rising to N6.1trillion, representing a 7.2% increase from N5.7 trillion at the end of the last financial year.
The shareholders’ funds remained very strong at N798.3 billion up by 10.3 percent from N724.1 billion recorded in December 2020, thus reflecting a strong capacity for internal capital generation and growth.
Commenting on the results, the Group Managing Director/CEO, UBA Plc, Kennedy Uzoka, said, “Once again, the bank has shown resilience in delivering on its commitment to shareholders, stakeholders, and the investing public, evident in the strong positive financial metrics recorded in the reporting period.
“Particularly, gross earning was up eight percent to N490.3 billion in the nine-month period, mirroring the improvements seen in both the domestic and international economies as countries roll out vaccines, helping to return economic activities nearer to pre-pandemic levels. Similarly, our profit before tax was up by a record 37 percent to N123.4 billion, with an annualised RoAE of 19.2 percent, showing our renewed commitment to creating more value for our shareholders,” Uzoka explained.
The GMD pointed out that UBA’s prudent approach to risk management and the efficacy of its digital-first customer-centric business strategy, helped in keeping loan growth steady at double-digit, while still being able to moderate our cost in the period, adding “Through the help of our digital-first strategy, we were able to increase the number of our agent network in the period by over 140%, increasing our controlling stake in the market.”
Speaking on the expectations for the rest of the year, Uzoka said, “Looking ahead, we believe our huge investments in digital business following lessons learnt from the pandemic, will continue to pay off in delivering significant growth opportunities across our business operations even as the economy speedily heals from the impact/effect of the pandemic. We will continue to remain a bank holding company, leveraging on our robust balance sheet and diverse customer-base to deliver (above the expectation of our shareholders) sound rewards to our shareholders.”
Also throwing more light on the Bank’s financial performance and position, the Group CFO, Ugo Nwaghodoh said, “The performance reflects our progressive efforts in building on our robust balance sheet, strong customer base and our people, in delivering impressive earnings. Particularly, I am pleased at the 90bps improvement in Cost of Funds (CoF) from 3.2 percent to 2.3 percent in the period. This was despite the increase in our customer deposits by 7.2 percent to N6.1 trillion, portraying the Bank’s deliberate effort to substitute high-cost funds for low-cost deposits.”
He noted that UBA has continued to optimise its digital banking offerings, which has been paying-off hugely as evident in the 50.4 percent growth to N41.9 billion in income from electronic banking.
“As we continue to pursue a cautious loan growth strategy in 2021, we have strategically maintained strong capital adequacy and liquidity ratios at 23.9 percent and 43.9 percent respectively, ensuring adequate buffer to withstand impending shocks and good headroom for growth and the Bank will sustain this growth momentum, to ensure we consistently deliver sustainable value to our valued stakeholders,” the GCFO explained.