By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Chairman of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Mr Cyril Odu, has assured shareholders that the company will make efforts to improve its performance in the 2019 business year.
Mr Odu gave this assurance at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the financial institution held in Lagos on Tuesday.
According to him, in order to improve profitability and value to shareholders, the lender will execute its 2019-2021 strategic objectives, which focus on “Sweating our Assets, Digitising our Bank, and Positioning for the Future.”
The Chairman said the decline in the Non-Performing Loan (NPL) ratio of the bank to 8.1 percent in December 2018 from 20.8 percent in December 2017 was a clear indication of efforts to make things better at the company.
He said in addition, the improvement in the bank’s Return on Tangible Equity (ROTE) to 9.6 percent from 6.2 percent in 2017 was another indication that Union Bank can deliver long-term value to shareholders.
“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, Digitising 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,” Mr Odu said.
The Chairman highlighted some major achievements in 2018 to include: strengthening retail and transaction banking offerings, and the launch of the first Local Letter of Credit to support local trade. There was also 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.
According to him, highlights of the group’s financial performance in 2018 showed that profit before tax grew by 33 percent to N18.5 billion from N13.9 billion in 2017.
Customer deposits also went up by 7 percent to N857.6 billion from N802.4 billion in 2017, continuing its upward trajectory since 2016; an indication of consumers’ growing confidence in the brand.
Also addressing shareholders at the AGM, Managing Director of Union Bank, Mr Emeka Emuwa, stated that, “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 optimising the Bank’s capital and funding base.”
He said the bank made significant strides in each focus area notwithstanding a depressed economic environment and a challenging operating landscape, adding that its 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 maximise opportunities across entire value chains, while centralising key business and operational functions for better efficiency, and prioritising customer experience across all our touch points.
“Following the successful execution of the Bank’s debut local currency bond issue to raise N13.5b and the tightening up of its loan portfolio, Union Bank is well positioned to continue executing key business priorities in 2019 and beyond,” he added.
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