Unity Bank shows financial resilience

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Unity Bank Plc, a leading agric-lender, raised its asset value to N492.02 billion, which represents an increase of 67.9 per cent, from the N293.05 billion posted in 2019. This comes as it posted an impressive earning per share of 17.85 Kobo.

The bank also declared gross earnings of N42.71 billion within the period. A review of the Bank’s audited results for the full-year ended 31 December 2020, released to the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX) showed that the bank improved its bottom line as profit after tax (PAT) stood at N2.09 billion, as against N2.22 billion recorded the previous year.

The marginal drop in the profit, according to the bank’s executives, resulted from a revaluation loss of N4 billion. Last year, the cash reserve ratio (CRR) was also raised by the regulator leaving the banks with huge non-performing assets.

The executive, during an interaction, also noted a year that was defined by the unmitigated impact of the global pandemic, characterised by disruptions in business activities and the general downturn that resulted in revenue/returns dip in major leading sectors globally.

The lender grew its customers’ deposit portfolio to N356.62 billion, up from N257.69 billion in 2019, representing a 38.4 per cent growth. This affirms the growing positive market uptake of the bank’s product offerings, as well as the lender’s growing customer base.

The lender’s net operating income rose to N25.46 billion from N23.21 billion, an increase of 9.71 per cent. This is even as the net interest income recorded a significant jump, as it rose by 7.6 per cent to N17.75 billion from N16.49 billion in the comparative year.

The Bank’s gross loan portfolio increased by 92.9 per cent to N206.2 billion in December 2020 from N106.9 billion in December 2019 with its lending strategy aligned to support the nation’s agric programmes.

Its Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Tomi Somefun, said the results showed the resilience of the bank during unprecedented times of uncertainties and ability to innovate and focus on key balance sheet items that would “enable us to maintain the growth trajectory.

“Consequently, for the year under review, the opportunities to significantly create more quality assets for the business, thought to have a sustainable impact, informed part of choices made and we have seen some encouraging market uptake in this regard, apart from the benefits to the enterprise bottom-line that have also started trickling in.”

“Other key performance indicators especially on the liability side of the business, were equally not left out. The bank deployed new product features and augmentation supported by omni-channel, USSD promotions and other channels to enhance services delivery efficiency, drive income generation capacities and enhance steady balance sheet growth for the year”.

Looking ahead, Somefun stated that the bank “will latch on targeted strategies to deploy significant investment in technology in order to ride the waves of the COVID-19 pandemic”.

“On the back of this, the Bank focuses on achieving major efficiency gains, deepening its retail footprints and penetrating identified cluster market segments, as bulwarks to tapping into various youth markets platforms, in addition to the mass market would get further boost,” she said.66.45

While laying outlook for the future, the chief executive said: “The bank is also looking to consolidate on the gains from its core business areas and niche in the agribusiness sector. The Bank has solidly financed over one million farmers over the past three years.

These farmers cut across several primary crop production such as rice, maize, cotton, wheat and sorghum coupled with their rich value chains, and we hope to continue to expand on this as we play our part in driving the country’s quest for self-sufficiency in food production.”

Analysts are of the view that has made an appreciable impact in the agribusiness and its value chains consistently, the market is excited that the current year performance and different initiatives of the bank show that the agribusiness is bankable not only as a differential positioning but also for sustainable business performance and profitability.

Bismarck Rewane, a leading financial analyst, hailed the resilience of the bank, saying its fundamentals are and robust and healthy.

Source: GUARDIAN

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