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Union Bank Recovers N8.4bn Debt as Loan to Deposit Ratio Hits 63.4%

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Union Bank of Nigeria Plc recorded a mixed performance in the first nine months of this year, with the gross earnings going down by 4 percent to N117.2 billion from N122.2 billion as a result of decline in average earning asset.

However, the profit before tax rose by 5 percent to N15.6 billion from N14.9 billion, while the profit after tax increased by 4 percent to N15.2 billion over N14.7 billion in the same time of last year.

In the period under review, the lender recovered N8.4 billion debts from its customers as a result of its debt recovery drive. This brought about the drop in the bank’s non-performing loans (NPLs) ratio to 8.0 percent from 8.7 percent at year-end 2018.

Union Bank also increased its loan book by 9 percent to N565.5 billion from N519.7 billion at year-end 2018 as part of its efforts to grow its asset book by creating quality risk assets in targeted sectors of the economy.

This helped the bank to push its loan to deposit ratio to 63.4 percent from 60.6 percent as at the end of last year. The bank is on course to meeting the 65 percent December 2019 target set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for commercial banks in the country.

In addition, the customer deposits improved during the period by 4 percent to N892.9 billion from N857.6 billion as at December 2018, reflecting the company’s continuing acquisition of low-cost deposits driven by strengthened brand affinity.

But despite these, the interest income of Union Bank went down by 2 percent to N90.0 billion from N91.5 billion, while the non-interest income depreciated by 12 percent to N27.1 billion from N30.7 billion as a result of reduced market volatility in the year, which had an impact on trading income.

Furthermore, the net operating income reduced by 2 percent to N71.4 billion from N72.7 billion, while the financial institution’s sustained cost optimisation scheme led to the 3 percent drop in operating expenses to N56.2 billion from N58.0 billion.

CEO of Union Bank, Mr Emeka Emuwa, while commenting on the results, said, “Our continued focus on consumer centric service and product propositions is yielding solid results, contributing to a 28 percent growth in our electronic channels fee income which is at N5.6 billion for the period. Our debt recovery drive continues to record successes with N8.4 billion of recoveries year-to-date.

“In line with our stated business objectives, we are continuing to grow our asset book by creating quality risk assets in targeted sectors. This has led to a 9 percent growth in our loan portfolio to N566.5 billion compared with N519.7 billion at year-end 2018.”

“Going into the rest of the year, our ambition remains to deliver superior customer experience across all customer touchpoints,” the bank executive said further.

On his part, Chief Financial Officer of Union Bank, Mr Joe Mbulu, stated that, “While we had a slight decline in gross earnings for the group from N122.2 billion in 2018 to N117.2 billion, our efficiency initiatives including the deployment of Robotics Process Automation as well as our cost optimisation programme ensured we delivered 4 percent growth in profit after tax, recording N15.2 billion compared with N14.7 billion in the prior year period.

“Our operating expenses reduced by 3 percent to N56.2 billion from N58.0 billion in 9M 2018 and the bank’s customer-related non-interest revenue drivers remained strong with net fee and commission income growing 10 percent to N9.5 billion from N8.7 billion for the corresponding period in 2018.

“We continue to maintain adequate levels of capital with our Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) at 17.8 percent which is above the regulatory threshold. Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) declined to 8.0 percent from 8.7 percent as at year-end 2018.”

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FirstBank Lagos Amateur Open Golf Championship Achieves Global Recognition, Gets Listed In the WAGR

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Nigeria’s premier and leading financial services provider, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced that the FirstBank Lagos Amateur Golf Championship scheduled to Tee-Off on Friday, 15 November 2019 is now listed amongst the golf tournaments in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR). The WAGR is offered by the R&A and the United States Golf Association as a global service to golf.  Through incorporation and assessment worldwide of both amateur and professional events, WAGR™ encourages the international development of the competitive game. 

Since 1894, FirstBank has continued to promote the growth and development of sports in Nigeria. Apart from the Lagos Amateur Golf Championship which the Bank has supported for 57 years, the Bank has sponsored the Georgian Cup of the Kaduna Polo Tournament for 100 years. Other sports supported by the Bank include; the Dala Hardcourt Tennis, Kano for 32 years and for over a combined 30 years, the Bank has sponsored and owned the popular Elephant Girls Basketball club – which has remained a dominant force in the Nigerian Women Basketball league for many years – and the Elephant boys football club. The highpoint of these is the 2019 100th unbroken years of sponsoring the Kaduna Polo Tournament, widely attributed as the longest running sports sponsorship in the world and a Guinness Book of Records potential. 

The 56-hole golf tournament, to be played over three days would be rounded off with a grand finale and awards ceremony on Sunday, 17 November 2019. Other activities to be held in the course of the tournament are the “Professional Coaching Clinic” to nurture the skills of young and upcoming talents and “Beat the Pro Skills competition”. The 2018 edition which had over 260 golfers in attendance was won by Sam Njoroge from Kenyan.

Speaking on the Bank’s sponsorship of the tournament, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer, First Bank of Nigeria Limited said; “We are excited at the giant strides achieved with the FirstBank Lagos Amateur Open Golf Championship. The championship is now one of the international golf events where all amateur golfers worldwide can now participate and amass points to aid their WAGR rankings.”

“FirstBank has been in the business of supporting sports in Nigeria throughout its 125 years of existence. We have partnered with individuals and institutions to provide support, not only in the sports arena, but also in Education, the Arts and Small and Medium Enterprises”, he concluded.

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FirstBank Partners With CFA Society Nigeria To Host 2019 Ethics Challenge Competition

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In the furtherance of the Bank’s commitment to promote business ethics, professional excellence and education, reflected in the Bank’s Endowment programme – the Samuel Asabia Chair for Business Ethics at the University of Lagos – First Bank of Nigeria Limited for three consecutive years is partnering with CFA Society Nigeria to host its annual flagship event, the Ethics Challenge,  scheduled for Friday & Saturday, 15 -16 November 2019 in Abuja and Lagos for the regional and national levels respectively.

The Ethics Challenge is designed to increase students’ awareness of the ethical dilemmas and issues they may face when they enter the investment management industry. At the Ethics Challenge, students are given an ethics case study to analyze, evaluate, recommend and present to a panel of judges. To determine the winning team, the judges provide feedback based on the identification and understanding of the ethical issues in the case, the recommendations provided with the depth of the analysis, quality of the presentation, and responses to the judges’ questions. 

The 2018 winner, Obafemi Awolowo University, would compete with 15 other higher institutions in the country to defend its trophy. Babcock University, Bowen University, Covenant University, Federal University of Technology Akure, Mountain Top University, University of Calabar, University of Ibadan and University of Lagos are the schools competing in the Lagos preliminary round.

Other schools are University of Abuja, University of Maiduguri, Bayero University, University of Ilorin, University of Nigeria and Madonna University in the Abuja based preliminary round.

The competition will be judged by Mrs. Adeola Asabia, Member, Board of Trustees, Business Ethics Chair, University of Lagos; Musa Bagudu, CFA, Head, External Funds Management Office, Central Bank of Nigeria; Kunle Anida, CFA, Director, Deals Advisory, PWC Nigeria amongst others.

According to CFA Society Nigeria President, Mr. Banji Fehintola, “The annual Ethics Challenge embodies CFA Society Nigeria’s mission to promote the highest standards of ethics in our investment and financial services industry. It touches on many of CFA Institute’s Future of Finance six areas of focus which include: Transparency and Fairness, Regulation and Enforcement, and Safeguarding the System. It also promotes ethical awareness and fosters a healthy investment industry that works for the ultimate benefit of society. Through our collaboration with First Bank of Nigeria Limited to run this competition annually, we will continue to invest in our university students and we hope to build the commitment of our future professionals to operate according to sound ethical principles”.

Expressing her delight on FirstBank’s support and participation in the CFA Ethics Challenge, the Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Folake Ani- Mumuney said “through our 125 years of existence, we at FirstBank pride ourselves in being exemplary in ensuring that global best practices are upheld in adherence to ethical standards across our organizational practices and activities. 

“We recognize the impact of the CFA Society Nigeria through its giant strides in fostering Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct amongst university students and other touch points in the society in preparing them to overcome ethical challenges that they may face in the workplace environment “. 

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Governor Bagudu Commends Dangote Group as firm begins installation of rice factory in Kebbi

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Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi on Sunday commended Dangote Group for setting up a rice mill in the state, saying it would create employment and boost the economy.

Bagudu who visited the factory site at Saminaka in Shanga Local Government Area of the state, said the investment would also rack up the rice value chain and add value to local farmers, City News reports.

The governor’s visit was announced in a statement on Sunday in Birnin Kebbi by his Press Secretary, Abubakar Dakingari.

Facilities for the factory, which will have 32 silos are being installed as at the time of the visit by Bagudu, who was accompanied by legislators and top government officials.

“I must commend Dangote Group of Companies especially Alhaji Aliko Dangote for initiating the project in Kebbi State.

“This will go a long way in providing employment to our youth as well as boosting the economy of the state and Nigeria at large “, he said.Bagudu used the opportunity to invite more investors to Kebbi to set up more factories.

Similarly, the governor made a stop over at a local rice mill in Yauri where he interacted with some women processing local rice.

The women told the governor that the price of rice has fallen which according to them was an indication that Federal Government’s rice initiative is working.

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