Lender Targets Reduction Of NPL

Union Bank of Nigeria Plc (UBN) has said that part of its strategies in repositioning the bank in 2016 is to ensure reduction of the bank’s non-performing loans.

The Chief Executive Officer, UBN, Mr. Emeka Emuwa, while addressing stockbrokers and investment community at the bank’s facts behind the figures on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, said the reduction would enable the bank reposition for better growth.

The bank reported a nonperforming loan of N383 billion for the first quarter ended March 31, 2016, up two per cent from N370 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2015.

Emuwa also noted that the bank would optimise its branch network in the country to enable it expand customer base.

Commenting on the bank’s first quarter results, the chief executive officer said: “Our first quarter results reflect steady progress on the execution of our strategic priorities.

The bank’s core PBT in Q1 2016 is up significantly by 85 per cent to 4.7 billion compared to 2.5 billion in the same quarter last year.

“Wilh the sale of non-banking subsidiaries near completion, the bank is now focused on growing and delivering results through its core banking business.

“Customer deposits grew nine per cent in the year to March 2016, compared to March 2015, reflecting increased customer confidence in our service channels, new product offerings and a re-energised brand identity.

“Our priorities to sustain growth in 2016 remain focused on growing our deposit base and new customer acquisitions as well as driving gains in transactional income. We will continue leveraging the technology and operational platform we have invested in whilst proactively managing our risks and operational costs.”

On his part, the Chief Financial Officer, Oyinkan Adewale, said: “The bank delivered strong results this first quarter. Our focus on customer deposit growth has led to 16 per cent interest expense reduction as we rely more on low cost deposits to fund the bank.

This trend is expected to continue and should moderate funding costs and improve net interest margins for 2016.

“Non-interest revenue continues to grow, driven by securities trading, e-business and other transactional fees.

“Excluding 2015 one-off gains, we were able to grow core revenues by nine per cent.

“Given our continuing investment in technology and network infrastructure, we have seen a slight increase of three per cent in operating expenses this quarter compared to Q1 2015. This short term increase is expected to normalise over the course of the year.”

The Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mr. Oscar Onyema, commended the new management of the bank for their resilience to ensure that they reposition the bank. Onyema urged the bank to always sustain a culture of excellence and high level of compliance to regulatory guidelines.