Union Bank Reports 1.2% Rise in Profit After Tax to ₦24.7Bn in 2020

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Declares 25 kobo dividend per 50 kobo share Business fundamentals strengthened despite Covid-19 impact

March 18, 2021: Union Bank has released its audited financial statements for the year ended 31st December 2020. The Bank’s results for the period show sustained growth in key income lines and significantly improved fundamentals notwithstanding a constrained operating environment largely due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Union Bank’s investments in technology and building a progressive work culture over the past eight years enabled a swift response to the pandemic that allowed our workforce to transition to remote working while maintaining the productivity required to deliver this strong set of results in 2020.

Bank Financial Highlights:

  • Profit before tax: up 2.8% to N25.4bn (N24.7bn in FY 2019).
  • Profit After-tax: up 1.2% to N24.7bn (N24.4bn in FY 2019).
  • Gross earnings: down 1.9% to N156.9bn (N159.9bn in FY 2019).
  • Net operating income after impairments: up 8.3% to N103.4bn (N95.5bn in FY 2019).
  • Net interest income before impairment: up 10.1% to N56.9bn (N51.7bn in FY 2019) due to reduced interest expenses.
  • Non-interest income: up 1.6% to N44bn (N43.3bn in 2019) driven by growth in net trading income as well as revaluation gains.
  • Operating expenses: up 10% to N78bn (N70.8bn in FY 2019) due to an increase in regulatory and technology expenses.
  • Gross loans: up 23.8% to N736.7bn (N595.3bn in FY 2019) driven by targeted lending to key sectors of the economy.
  • Customer deposits: up 27.6% to N1,131.1bn (N886.3bn in FY 2019) reflecting our agility in delivering a compelling range of products to our customers during the pandemic and increased adoption of our digital channels.
  • Non-performing loans ratio: down to 4% from 5.8% (FY 2019) driven by a disciplined recoveries strategy (N7.2bn in 2020), a more robust loan book and key restructurings to support customers during the pandemic.
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Key Operational Highlights:

  • Channels: Active users on our digital platforms grew 1.3x. During the year, we added new features such as end-to-end account opening and enhanced card services includinghome delivery of cards boosting revenues from digital channels by 1.5x.
    • Agent Network Expansion: We expanded our UnionDirect network to over 18,000, representing a 6x increase. Transaction volume and value grew 10x and 12x respectively delivering 14x revenue growth.
    • Enhanced Retail and Digital Offerings: We relaunched UnionVibe, UnionLegend and UnionInfinity, a suite of products targeting the key youth and teen demographic; and disbursed over N9.4bn loans with new credit propositions.
    • Systems Upgrade We upgraded our core systems to support our growth aspirations while strengthening the performance, reliability, security and processing capacity of our platforms. With this upgrade, we are now in a position to process at least 10x the volume of transactions for 2020.
    • Funding: We secured both local and foreign currency funding to support growth across our priority areas. Union Bank raised:

    ―₦35bn commercial paper issuance. The 180 and 270-day notes were oversubscribed, reaffirming market confidence in our brand

    $200m 10-year funding from U.S International Development Finance Corporation (DFC)

    $75m Pandemic Trade Mitigation funding from Afrexim

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    $30m working capital funding from IFC

    Employees: The Bank was the first in the industry to implement remote working for its employees in March 2020. With over 70% of our workforce operating remotely at the height of the pandemic, we introduced resources to maintain and enhance the physical and mental health of our colleagues.

    Customers: We deepened our engagement via digital platforms and reinforced our channels to enable self-service. Supported by the Central Bank, we also offered restructuring of loan terms for businesses affected by the outbreak of Covid-19 in key sectors of the economy. At our branches, heightened hygiene & social distancing guidelines were put in place.

    Community: We donated over ₦350m towards the fight against Covid-19. These included donations to the Private Sector Coalition against Covid-19 (CACOVID); 54gene to support testing and research, working with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC); and the Lagos State COVID-19 Emergency Food Response programme to support families affected by the pandemic.

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    Business continuity: Operationally, the bank adapted as lockdowns and movement restrictions evolved during the year. We designed a working model that ensured operational efficiency while maintaining adequate contingencies that guaranteed business continuity should newly identify operational risks crystallize.

    Managing liquidity and credit risks: We focused on raising long term liabilities in local and foreign currencies. We also deepened our focus on essential sectors during the pandemic and enhanced portfolio diversity. With the ongoing review of our credit portfolio and stress testing, we focused on

    COVID-19 Response: The impact of COVID-19 in 2020 cannot be understated. In response, the Bank constituted a CEO-led task force in February and adopted a proactive approach to ensure the health and safety of key stakeholders and to mitigate the negative impact on our business.

    • UBUK Update: In January 2020, Union Bank announced its divestment from its UK subsidiary to focus solely on Nigeria and the distinct long-term opportunities that the market presents. In Q4 2020, we obtained a “no-objection” clearance by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the divestment is ongoing.
    • Dividend Payment: For the second year running, the Bank is proposing a dividend payment and returning value to shareholders. Union Bank’s ability to deliver a strong performance in the face of an economically debilitating pandemic speaks to the resilience and long-term fundamentals of the Bank. Subject to shareholders’ approval, a dividend of 25 kobo per 50 kobo share is being proposed.
    • Management Update: In December 2020, the Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Emeka Emuwa announced his retirement effective March 31, 2021. Following a successful search process, the Board has appointed Emeka Okonkwo, an Executive Director currently leading the Bank’s Corporate Banking business, to succeed him. Emeka Emuwa served as CEO for eight years and led the Bank’s transformation and repositioning as a key player in the Nigerian financial space.
    • Promoting asset quality with solid risk management structures while leveraging CBN’s forbearance opportunities.
      • Brand & Citizenship: Through our initiatives, we impacted over 3 million people in 2020. We continued our support for the education sector impacting teachers, students and parents, through our Edu360 platform; deepened our investments in women/girl empowerment initiatives via vocational, digital and leadership training; continued our social innovation drive, and supported community development via the “gift of water” and supply of food to the underprivileged.

      Key partnerships in this area in 2020 include MamaMoni, Pearls Africa, Awarri, LEAP Africa, Cece Yara Foundation, Junior Achievement Nigeria, GiveFood.ng Initiative, etc.

Commenting on the results, Emeka Emuwa, CEO 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% from ₦95.5bn to ₦103.4bn and translated into 2.8% growth in Profit Before Tax to 25.4bn from ₦24.7bn.

The core of this performance is driven by the growth in our loan book, with a 23.8% increase in gross loans, to ₦736.7bn from ₦595.3bn in 2019.

The pandemic accelerated trends in customer behaviour and we have seen a rapid increase in digital adoption with a 38% YOY 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% from 25,000 users to 27,700 users. 94% of transactions in the Bank are now done digitally, up from 89% in 2019.

We also aggressively grew UnionDirect (our agent network) by 6x from 3,100 to 18,100 in line with our focus on our retail business. With our investments yielding positive results, we are well-positioned as a strong leader in the retail and digital space.

In 2021, the Bank will focus on enhancing revenues and shareholder value by revving up customer acquisition, engagement and transactions through seamless customer journeys and an optimized service delivery platform.

As I retire following eight years of rebuilding and repositioning this storied institution, I am convinced that with the excellent management team and a clear strategy in place, Union Bank is well-positioned to continue to compete and deliver value to its shareholders.

Speaking on the FY 2020 numbers, 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% (₦77.9bn from ₦70.8bn), well below the rate of inflation. Consequently, we saw a marginal increase in our cost to income ratio to 75.4% from 74.1%.

Our customer deposits hit a milestone during the year, crossing the ₦1tr mark to 1,131.1bn from ₦886.3bn in FY 2019, an increase of 27.1%. Low-cost deposits were up by 17%, constituting 68% of total deposits helping to push the cost of funds down by 1.4%.

We continued to proactively manage our growing risk asset portfolio and recorded better asset quality, with our NPL ratio improving from 5.8% to 4.0%. This achievement, combined with solid capital adequacy at 17.5% and continued top-line growth, provides the platform for strong growth going forward.

We will continue to grow our loan portfolio in 2021, which we expect to be a significant driver of growth, combined with our value chain synergies across our business which will drive customer and transaction growth during the year and beyond.

Our UBUK subsidiary remains classified as “Available for Sale” as the sale process continues albeit delayed due to the pandemic-induced lockdowns”

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Union Bank Reports 1.2% Rise in Profit After Tax to ₦24.7Bn in 2020 - Brand SpurUnion Bank Reports 1.2% Rise in Profit After Tax to ₦24.7Bn in 2020 - Brand Spur

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Union Bank Reports 1.2% Rise in Profit After Tax to ₦24.7Bn in 2020 - Brand SpurUnion Bank Reports 1.2% Rise in Profit After Tax to ₦24.7Bn in 2020 - Brand Spur

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Cityneon Raises S$235 Million; Well Positioned for Next Growth Chapter

  • The global experience entertainment company gets a S$235 million shot in the arm, closes its private fund raising in April 2021
  • Investors both new and existing include Singapore's Pavilion Capital, Seatown Holdings International and EDBI, Qatar's Doha Venture Capital and financial institutions and family offices in Singapore and China
  • These now join other existing Cityneon shareholders CITIC Capital, veteran entrepreneur and investor Mr. Johnson Ko, and Executive Chairman & Group CEO Mr. Ron Tan
  • Funding comes just after the Group acquired multi-year licensing rights for James Cameron's AVATAR touring exhibition, and two original artefacts IP on the ancient civilization Machu Picchu from Peru and Ramses the Great (Ramses II) from Egypt
  • Investments position the Group well to bring experiences across the globe, targeting to launch six experiences in China and five in the U.S. by the end of 2021, with more in other parts of the world

SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 21 April 2021 - Cityneon Holdings ("Cityneon", the "Company"/collectively with its subsidiaries, the "Group") raised S$235 million in the most recent round of private funding. The latest round of funding adds seasoned investors to Cityneon's already strong stable of shareholders.

This funding round was led by Singapore's Pavilion Capital, Seatown Holdings International, EDBI, and Cityneon's Executive Chairman & Group CEO, Mr. Ron Tan. EDBI and Pavilion Capital are existing shareholders of Cityneon whilst new investors include Seatown Holdings International, Qatar's Doha Venture Capital, which will now own approximately 4 per cent of the Group, and other financial institutions and family offices in Singapore and China.

These now join other existing Cityneon shareholders CITIC Capital, veteran entrepreneur and investor Mr. Johnson Ko, and Executive Chairman & Group CEO Mr. Ron Tan to form a new and strong shareholder base for the Group. Mr. Johnson Ko and Mr. Ron Tan remain as the largest shareholders of the company via their combined entity, West Knighton Limited.

The Group is now well positioned for its next growth chapter and will use the proceeds for capital expenditure that includes building more of its various intellectual property (IP) exhibition sets, totaling 24 travelling and four semi-permanent sets under the Studio IP partnerships and three travelling sets under the original artefact IP partnerships by the end of 2022.

Already, the Group just signed its fifth IP rights with Avatar from 20th Century Studios last year. Amidst the anticipation from Avatar fans worldwide, Cityneon will debut a multi-sensory Avatar exhibition in Chengdu, China in May 2021, ahead of the Avatar movie sequel which is slated for release in 2022. Avatar is the world's top grossing film of all time at over US$2.8 billion, and adding millions more after its successful re-release in China in March 2021. Avatar's director James Cameron has announced that he will be producing four sequels with 20th Century Studios, with the first sequel slated for release next year. Disney acquired 20th Century Studios for US$71 billion in 2019.

The Company also recently entered the original artefacts IPs space and will stage international exhibitions of the treasures of the ancient civilization Machu Picchu from Peru in Boca Raton, Florida and Pharaoh Ramses II from Egypt in Houston, Texas. These two experiences will start welcoming visitors in October and November 2021, respectively.

Other IP rights that the Group holds include partnerships with Universal Studios for Jurassic World: The Exhibition, Marvel for Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N., Lionsgate for The Hunger Games: The Exhibition and Hasbro for Transformers Autobot Alliance. All in, Cityneon holds the IP rights for five of the top 10 worldwide box office hits and two artefacts IP from Peru and Egypt. The Group expects to have six sets of its various IP rights travelling across China, and five travelling and permanent sets in the United States, with a few more in other parts of the globe.

The Group will also be reopening experiences that were temporarily closed in 2020, aiming to provide visitors with a safe entertainment option. These include the Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. in Toronto, Canada that will be re-opening in May 2021; and the Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. exhibition in Lotte Mall in Seoul, Korea in April 2021; the same exhibition space which previously housed Jurassic World: The Exhibition, another IP experience exhibition by the Group in 2019. In the past month, the Group also witnessed record visitor numbers at their semi-permanent installations in Las Vegas, USA, signaling a strong comeback and demand for their immersive experiences, as they step into the 6th year of operations there.

While there are exciting plans lined up, the Group is not resting on its laurels. More Hollywood IPs and artefact IPs can be expected, and there will be further announcements on new IP verticals in entertainment experiences that the Group is looking to enter.

Mr. Ron Tan, Executive Chairman & Group CEO of Cityneon, said: "It is exciting that the Company is going through such strategic expansion as one of the largest providers of exhibition entertainment experiences globally. The S$235 million funding round sets a solid foundation for us to invest in developing more of our entertainment experiences, to stage even more exhibitions of the five box office hits and two artefact IPs that we hold the rights to all over the world. I'm thankful that our strong investors base, now from Singapore, Hong Kong, China and the Middle East, have trust in our vision, and believe alongside us that this space of big ideas and big experiences will only grow."

By the end of this year, Cityneon will arguably be the largest provider of exhibition entertainment experiences internationally; with global footprints in more than 50 cities and welcoming 10 million unique visitors across the world by 2022.

Cityneon Holdings

With its global reach and international partnerships, Cityneon has the capability to serve its clients anywhere in the world. Cityneon was listed on the Mainboard of the Singapore Stock Exchange since 2005, and was privatized on February 2019 by West Knighton Limited, a company wholly owned by Cityneon's Executive Chairman and Group CEO, Ron Tan, together with Hong Kong veteran entrepreneur and investor, Johnson Ko Chun Shun. Johnson is a capital markets veteran and has held controlling interests and directorships in many listed companies. In May 2019, Cityneon welcomed CITIC Capital as a new shareholder, who holds approximately 10% shares in Cityneon. CITIC Capital is part of CITIC Group, one of China's largest conglomerates, and has over US$25b of assets under its management across 100 funds and investment products globally. Other institutional shareholders of the Group include EDBI - a Singapore government-linked global investor, and Pavilion Capital - a Singapore-based investment institution which focuses on private equity investments, that made strategic investments in August and October 2019 respectively, to support the Group's further expansion globally. For more information, please visit www.cityneongroup.com.

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