Omodele Adigun and Chiwendu Obienyi
Having positioned itself well to advance credit to the economy, Unity Bank has grown its loan books to N104.02 billion.
This is contained in its 2019 audited financials made available to the Nigerian Stock Exchange(NSE)
The credit growth, a 135.87 per cent leap from the N44.10 billion recorded in 2018, was attributed to strong risk assessment policy of the bank.
Its Executive Director/ Chief Finance Officer, Mr Ebenezer Kolawole, in also tying it to its exposure to agriculture finance, said:
“Between 2018 and 2019, the bank witnessed N70billion growth in agric lending. We have over 1.5 million farmers in primary production that are banking with us. We have been very supportive to the agricultural sector even though returns from that sector is low.
“Unity Bank understands that food sustainability is very key. So, we make sure we pay more attention to primary production such as rice, maize, sorghum, cotton, among others. We deliver exceptional service to the agricultural sector and that has made us to win so many awards in the agriculture sector.”
Aside the loan portfolio, the bank, in the results, declared gross earnings of N44.59 billion, continuing a path to strong growth which started in 2018 financial year after it took bold step to clean up its balance sheet in 2017.
Its profit before tax (PBT) stood at N550 million in its first-quarter 2020 result released with the financials.
A review of the Q1 2020 result showed Profit After Tax (PAT) grew by 9 per cent to N506.07 million as against N464.87 reported same quarter in 2019.
The audited 2019 result showed that the bank recorded a PBT of N3.64 billion, while PAT closed at N3.38 billion, thereby consolidating on the gains on the reforms instituted by the bank to grow a healthy balance sheet since past two years.
Net Operating Income, rose by 76.39 per cent to N23.211 billion from N13.159 billion in the corresponding period of 2018.
The bank’s interest income also posted strong growth as it grew by 18.06 per cent to N16.493 billion from N13.97 billion the previous year. This is even as the bank’s total asset saw a 71.93 per cent increase to close at N293.052 billion from N210.80 billion in the corresponding period of 2018.
The retail lender also recorded a total comprehensive income of N5.52 billion while Earnings Per Share stood at 28.94 kobo.
Commenting on the sterling performance, Its Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Tomi Somefun, said:
“The potential in many aspects of the business as reflected in growing balance sheet of the bank is indicative of market confidence in our repositioning efforts.
“It is also noteworthy that playing in the Agriculture sector as part of growth strategy and as bulwarks to drive value chain businesses in many segments of the retail market has continued to pay off. Looking ahead, we shall consolidate on the gains in the agribusiness, capitalizing on the growing profile in the sector, while also focusing on the youth market with increased investment in technology.”
According to her, “the quest to deepen our retail space will go hand in hand with our focus on digital innovations. Already, we have deployed USSD banking, carried out augmentation of the platform to introduce local languages and further drive financial inclusion and had also launched omni-channel to cater for all segments of the banking public, especially the underbanked”.