Union Bank of Nigeria Plc has released its audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2020, showing sustained growth in key income lines and significantly improved fundamentals.
The bank recorded gross earnings of N156.9 billion, compared with N159.9 billion in 2019. Net interest income rose 10.1 per cent from N51.7 billion to N56.9 billion, non-interest income grew from N43.3 billion to N44 billion.
The bank ended year with profit before tax(PBT) of N25.4 billion, indicating a growth of 2.8 per cent, while profit after tax (PAT)improved from N24.366 billion to N25.129 billion. Based on the performance, the bank has recommended a dividend of 25 kobo per share.
Commenting on the results, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Union Bank, Emeka Emuwa, 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 8.3 per cent from N95.5 billion to N103.4 billion and translated into 2.8 per cent growth in PBT to N25.4 billion from N24.7 billion.”
According to him, the core of the performance was driven by the growth in the loan book, with 23.8 per cent increase in gross loans, to N736.7bn from N595.3bn in 2019.
“The pandemic accelerated trends in customer behaviour and we have seen rapid increase in digital adoption with a 38 per cent increase in active users on our UnionMobile channel with total active users now at 2.9 million. Our UnionOne and Union360 platforms for businesses grew by 11 per cent from 25,000 users to 27,700 users. And 94 per cent of transactions in the bank are now done digitally, up from 89 per cent in 2019,” he said.
Also commenting, 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 10 per cent (N77.9 billion from N70.8 billion), well below the rate of inflation.
According to him, customer deposits hit a milestone during the year, crossing the N1trillion mark to N1.131 trillion from N886.3 billion in 2019, an increase of 27.1 per cent.