By Peter Egwuatu
Shareholders of Union Bank Nigeria Plc have endorsed the 25 kobo dividend per share proposed by its Board of Directors for the financial year ended December 31, 2019.
The shareholders at the bank’s first-ever virtual Annual General Meeting, AGM commended its Board and Management for the improved performance recorded in the period under review.
The shareholders’ attendance at the AGM was by proxy, in keeping with physical distancing measures put in place due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The proceedings of the meeting were however streamed live online for the benefit of all the Bank’s shareholders.
Addressing shareholders during the AGM, the bank highlighted some of its key achievements in 2019, including – the launch of alpher, the Bank’s proposition for women; the introduction of digital loan offerings; the issuance of a fully subscribed Tier-2, N30 billion bond and; the Board’s recommendation of a dividend payment to its shareholders owing to the Bank’s overall strong performance.
Union Bank’s Chairman, Mrs. Beatrice Hamza Bassey said: “On behalf of the Board, I am pleased to inform our shareholders that we have recommended a dividend payment for the first time in over a decade. We remain committed to delivering high-quality earnings to our shareholders, and I am pleased to announce we were able to deliver this in 2019, despite the challenging operating environment.
“We remain focused on delivering value to our shareholders as we continue to drive growth and profitability of our business towards sustaining this trend.”
Major highlights of the Bank’s financial performance in 2019 show that profit before tax grew by thirty-three percent to N24.7 billion from N18.7 billion in 2018. Gross earnings grew by 14 percent to N159.9 billion from N140.1 billion in 2018. Customer deposits also increased by five percent to N 886.3 billion compared to N844.4 billion in 2018, reflecting the strength of the brand in a very competitive environment for deposits.
Commenting on the Bank’s performance for 2019 and plans for 2020, the Chief Executive Officer, Emeka Emuwa said: “In 2019, we continued to emphasise revenue productivity and efficiency across all facets of our business. We were focused on further leveraging the platform (people, technology, brand and infrastructure) we have steadily built over the years to drive sustainable growth in earnings and profitability. Our efforts yielded positive results as we witnessed major feats across all our priority areas.”
Continuing, he said: “We remain committed to delivering improved profitability and higher returns in 2020 and beyond. Returning value to our shareholders has been at the core of Union Bank’s transformation and continuous drive to become a leading financial institution in Nigeria.
“Notwithstanding the tough operating environment, we remain focused on our strategy and ambition as we strive towards achieving our ambition to be Nigeria’s most reliable and trusted banking partner.”