Union Bank declares 25 kobo dividend despite COVID-19

The board of directors of Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) Plc has recommended payment of a dividend per share of 25 kobo to shareholders as return for the 2020 business year.

The dividend recommendation was part of the highlights of the audited report and accounts of the bank for the year ended December 31, 2020, released at the weekend at the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited.

The results showed modest growth in key income lines and significantly improved fundamentals, notwithstanding a constrained operating environment largely due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The audited report for the year ended December 31, 2020 showed that the bank recorded growths across key income lines with net income after impairments rising by 8.3 per cent from N95.5 billion in 2019 to N103.4 billion in 2020. Profit before tax also rose by 2.8 per cent from N24.7 billion to N25.4 billion. The overall performance was largely driven by the growth in loan book, with 23.8 per cent increase in gross loans to N736.7 billion in 2020 as against N595.3 billion in 2019. The bank’s customer deposits hit a milestone during the year, crossing the N1 trillion mark to N1.13 trillion from N886.3 billion, an increase of 27.1 per cent. Low cost deposits were up by 17 per cent, constituting 68 per cent of total deposits helping to push cost of funds down by 1.4 per cent.

Chief Executive Officer, Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) Plc, Emeka Emuwa, said Union Bank’s investments in technology and building a progressive work culture over the past eight years enabled a swift response to the COVID-19 pandemic that allowed its workforce transition to remote working while maintaining the productivity required to deliver the strong set of results recorded in 2020.

According to him, the bank’s strong set of results, notwithstanding the impact of COVID-19 on its operations and the wider economy, enabled the board of directors to continue to return value to shareholders with a proposed dividend payment for the second year in a row.

“This demonstrates the strong foundations we have built, as we continue to deliver against our target of becoming a leading financial institution in Nigeria,” Emuwa said.

Emuwa noted that the pandemic accelerated trends in customer behavior which led to rapid increase in digital adoption with a 38 per cent increase in active users on the bank’s UnionMobile channel with total active users now at 2.9 million.

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