Union Bank, one of Nigeria’s most respected financial institutions has reported a profit after tax (PAT) of N15.4billion on gross earnings of ₦126.6 billion for the financial year ended December 31, 2016.
The Chairman of the bank, Cyril Odu who presented the report to shareholders at the 48th Annual General Meeting in Lagos on Wednesday, said that compared with a PAT of ₦14.3 billion on gross earnings of ₦117.2 billion in the corresponding period of 2015, the 2016 figure represents a growth of eight percent in net profit and in earnings respectively.
Other highlights of the bank’s financial performance in 2016 show that interest income grew by eight percent to ₦98 billion from ₦90.9 billion in 2015, as a result of growth in the loan book and improved asset yields while non-interest revenue also moved up by nine percent to ₦28.6 billon from ₦26.2 billion in 2015 owing to income from e-business channels.
Operating expenses (OPEX) increased by seven percent to ₦62 billion from ₦57.9 billion in 2015 due to inflationary and devaluation pressures and ongoing investments in the bank’s technology and network infrastructure while gross loans grew by 38 percent to ₦535.8 billion compared to ₦388.8 billion in 2015.
Customer deposits rose by 15 percent to ₦658.4 billion (from ₦570.6 billion in 2015). The growth was led by new product offerings, increased market penetration and improved customer off take.
Union Bank also has its retail product portfolio expanded with the launch of five new products including UnionBetta, a savings product that allows customers to earn interest while also supporting a charitable cause
It also accelerated customer on-boarding on UnionMobile and UnionOnline with over 380% growth in mobile users and about 50% increase in internet banking users following the launch of new platforms with expanded capabilities in 2016
Besides, more than half of branches across the network have now been upgraded to align with our new brand identity and customer-centred service approach. Over 30 branches were launched in 2016.
Ranked No. 9 in Jobberman’s Best Places to Work in Nigeria survey for 2016, Union Bank emerged Business Day’s Most improved bank in retail banking” as well as “Best Bank to Support Nigeria’s Small and Medium Scale Enterprises”.
It clinched the “Best Brand Development to Reflect Changed Mission / Vision / Positioning” and “Best Visual Identity from the Financial Services Sector” by Transform Awards MENA.
Speaking on the Group’s results for the year, Group Managing Director/Chief Executive, Emeka Emuwa said: “In 2016, we focused on executing our priorities across all our business segments, especially in the retail space, with an aggressive strategy to increase adoption of our alternate channels. Our success in this area, along with improved core interest earnings, contributed to pre-tax profit growth of 6% compared to 2015.
“Our research-led, customer-centred product development strategy, coupled with an upskilled sales force and targeted marketing campaigns boosted our customer deposit base by 15% compared to 2015, and led to a 73% increase in new-to-bank customers.
“While the operating environment remains a challenge, we are focused on our 2017 priorities which include raising Tier 1 capital to execute our growth agenda across our retail, commercial and corporate businesses, particularly transaction banking and value chain.”
Following approvals from shareholders, Union Bank will launch a rights issue in the second quarter of 2017 to raise up to N50 billion in Tier 1 capital as it looks to accelerate business growth and position as a leading commercial bank in Nigeria.
The additional funding, according to the bank, will also allow the bank to maintain compliance with regulatory capital requirements.