By Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma
Union Bank of Nigeria Plc on Wednesday announced gross earnings of N42.6 billion in its unaudited financial statements for the first quarter ended March 31, 2020.
The gross earnings represented an increase of 18 per cent when compared with N36.1 per cent achieved in the comparative period of 2019.
The result released by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) shows that profit before tax stood at N6.2 billion against N5.2 billion, an increase of 19 per cent.
Also, interest income rose by 18 per cent to N29.7 billion against N25.2 billion in the corresponding period of 2019.
The bank’s net interest income before impairment rose by 38 per cent to N14.8 billion in contrast with N10.8 billion in 2019, driven by the growth in treasury assets.
Non-interest income appreciated by 18 per cent to N12.9 billion against N10.9 billion in 2019, an increase of 18 per cent.
Commenting on the results, Mr Emeka Emuwa, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, said the bank maintained focus on executing its strategic priorities in Q1 2020, thereby delivering double-digit growth across all its major income lines.
“Our gross earnings are also up by 18 per cent to ₦42.6 billion from ₦36.1 billion in Q1 2019.
“Our platforms and channels continue to drive our performance as Non-Interest Income increased by 18 per cent from ₦10.9 billion in Q1 2019 to ₦12.9 billion for the period with e-business fees contributing ₦2.1 billion, a 71 per cent growth compared to Q1 2019.
“The current COVID-19 pandemic presents daunting challenges for the global economy and consequently Nigeria and our business.
“Our focus in the short term is on ensuring business continuity through our strong operational risk framework;
*Ensuring the health and wellbeing of our employees by adopting stringent health and safety protocols at our operating branches and offices; and supporting our customers through the crisis.
“We have reinforced our digital platforms to continue delivering value and convenience to our customers, while aligning our focus areas to where opportunities emerge during and post COVID-19.
“We will continue to support the government, private entities and our communities in the fight against COVID-19,” Emuwa said.
Speaking on the Q1 2020 numbers, the Chief Financial Officer, Mr Joe Mbulu, said: “Headline numbers delivered 19 per cent growth in Profit Before Tax to ₦6.2 billion compared with ₦5.2 billion in Q1 2019.
“Our operational efficiency also improved with Cost-Income Ratio, declining YoY to 74.3 per cent from 76.9 per cent in Q1 2019 as our cost optimisation programme continues to yield results.
“We have also kept NPL ratios flat currently at 5.9 per cent compared to 5.8 per cent as at December 2019.
“While the current COVID-19 pandemic has dimmed the global economy outlook for the year, we will leverage our strong capital position with Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) at 19.9 per cent and our solid risk management framework toward delivery of our 2020 objectives,” Mbulu said. (NAN)