-by Barnabas Esiet.
Unity Bank Plc has grown its assets base to N492.02 billion in the 2020 fiscal year, representing a significant increase of 67.90% compared to the N293.05bn recorded in the corresponding period of 2019. This is even as the agaric-focused lender declared gross earnings of N42.71bn within the period under review.
A review of the Bank’s audited results for full year ended 31 December 2020, released to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, show that the Bank improved its bottom line marginally as Profit After Tax, PAT stood at N2.09 billion while Profit Before Tax, PBT closed at N2.22 billion, in a year that was defined by the unmitigated impact of global pandemic characterized by disruptions in business activities and general downturn that resulted in revenue dip in major leading sectors globally.
According to the report, Unity Bank substantially grew its customers’ deposit portfolio to N356.62 billion, up from N257.69 billion in the corresponding period of 2019, representing a 38.4% growth. This affirms positive market uptake of the Bank’s product offerings, as well as the lender’s growing customer base to its recent aggressive push with agile customer-centric products, which has played a role in deepening financial services penetration especially to a wider world, under-served spectrum of the retail market.
Other major highlight of the audited financial statement relates to growth in its net operating income which rose to N25.46 billion from N23.21 billion in the corresponding period of 2019, representing a 9.71% increase. This is even as the net interest income recorded a significant jump, as it rose by 7.60% to N17.75 billion from N16.49 billion in the corresponding period of 2019. Earnings per Share closed at 17.85 Kobo.
The Lender’s gross loans portfolio increased by 92.9% to N206.2 billion in December 2020 from N106.9 billion in December 2019. The report noted that Unity Bank’s lending strategy was specially tailored to support the nation’s food agenda. “This had the added advantage of improving food security across the country, providing employment to thousands of youths and entrepreneurs, contributing to the conservation of FX stocks and mitigating security challenges by ensuring adequate empowerment of citizens and deepening skills acquisition across the value chain.”
Commenting on the result, Unity Bank’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Tomi Somefun, said the results showed the resilience of Unity Bank during unprecedented times of uncertainties and its ability to innovate and focus on key balance sheet items that will enable the bank maintain growth trajectory.
“Consequently, for the year under review, the opportunities to significantly create more quality assets for the business, thought to have 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 was 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 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 focus 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”.
MD/CEO, Unity Bank, Tomi Somefun
She noted that Unity Bank is also looking to consolidate on the gains from its core business areas and niche in the agribusiness sector to shape the future.” 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, sorghum, etc 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.”
Market analysts believe that having made appreciable impact in the agribusiness and its value chains consistently, the recent performance and initiatives of the Bank would position it for more sustainable business performance and profitability.