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Union Bank grows new-to-bank accounts by 68%, pretax profit 33% in 2018

Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) Plc on Tuesday said that it deepened customer acquisition which resulted in a 68 per cent growth in new-to-bank accounts in 2018 and achieved over one million active mobile users and over 400,000 active online users during the period.

Mr Emeka Emuwa, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer told shareholders at the company’s 50th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Lagos that the growth was achieved through improved engagement strategy, service delivery and robust digital platforms.

“We now have 4.5 million customers served across all our touch points.

“Today, we have over one million active mobile users and over 400,000 active online users,” Emuwa said.

He noted that increased channel activity contributed to 101 per cent increase in fees which stood at N2.2 billion in 2018 against N1.1 billion in 2017.

Emuwa said that the bank in the current year would prioritise customer acquisition, digital and automation, portfolio diversification and cost optimisation, among others, to drive growth and success.

He noted that the bank would continue to deepen customer acquisition and retention through product and service innovation, robust and reliable channel platforms and customer experience.

On the group’s performance for 2018 and plans for 2019, Emuwa said:

“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.

“I am pleased to report that we made significant strides in each focus area.

“Notwithstanding a depressed economic environment and a challenging operating landscape, our efforts to optimise productivity delivered results.”

The chief executive officer said that the company in 2019 would double-down on productivity efforts to deliver 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,” Emuwa said.

He explained that the bank was well positioned to continue executing key business priorities in 2019 and beyond following successful execution of its debut local currency bond issue to raise N13.5 billion and the tightening of loan portfolio.

The major highlights of the group’s financial performance for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2018 showed that profit before tax grew by 33 per cent to ₦18.5 billion from ₦13.9 billion in 2017.

Customer deposits also went up by seven per cent to N857.6 billion compared to N802.4 billion in 2017, continuing its upward trajectory since 2016; an indication of consumers’ growing confidence in the brand.

As a result of aggressive focus on recoveries, the bank’s Non-Performing Loan ratio declined to 8.1 per cent in December 2018 from 20.8 per cent as at December 2017. 

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