Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Unity Bank Grows Balance Sheet to N506 Billion

Unity Bank Plc has recorded a 63.68 per cent growth in balance sheet size in the financial year ended December 31, 2011, from N309.35billion in December 2010 to N506.35 billion while operating income grew by N27.59 per cent from N24.23 billion to N30.91 billion.

The bank is also set to raise tier-one capital in order to enhance its long-term solvency and financial stability.

Chairman of the bank Nu'uman Barau Danbatta disclosed that customer deposits grew by 20.14 per cent from N222.15billion to N266.88 billion as at end of December which was a reflection of customers' growing confidence in the Bank's brand.

Danbatta, who spoke during the bank's Annual General Meeting in Abuja yesterday, said that loans and advances grew by 2.88 per cent from N118.58 billion to N121.98 billion during the same period.

The bank undertook a clean-up of its books with the sale of assets worth about N20 billion to the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria, which significantly rose from 15 per cent the previous year to 5 per cent in the year under review, in line with the regulatory expectations.

According to the chairman, the clean-up exercise and other initiatives implemented were aimed at putting the bank on the path of sustainable growth and profitability in 2012 and beyond.

Managing director of the bank Ado Yakubu Wanka reiterated that the bank would continue in its bid to shore up its capital base to sustain a vibrant and financially stable bank.

He explained that the bank has successfully raised N11.4 billion tier-2 capital while arrangements were at advanced stage for the raising of tier-1 capital in order to enhance the bank's long-term solvency and financial stability.

Wanka also disclosed that, in furtherance to the bank's retail banking posture, several products have been introduced even as new ATMs and POS terminals have been rolled out in many merchant locations across the country, in addition to branch network expansion.

He also added that the bank is ready to play a dominant role in the areas of agriculture and agro-allied, trade finance, telecommunications, oil and gas (downstream), transportation, power and construction to align with the opportunities that lie in key growth industries and government's initiatives on development.

A further highlight of the bank's performance indicated that shareholders' funds stood at N44.51 billion in 2011 as against N44.15 billion in 2010, representing an increase of 0.81 per cent, while the bank's non-performing loans to total loans ratio declined significantly from 15 per cent the previous year to 5 per cent in the year under review, in line with the regulatory expectations.

The chairman also assured that the bank is poised to building a superior customer service environment to make the institution the preferred choice of a wide range of customers and explained that this can be achieved with a highly skilled and dedicated staff that is willing to go the extra mile for its clients, which can be achieved by attracting and retaining the best people.

Shareholders got one bonus share for every 10 ordinary shares previously held as return on their investment during the year, a situation they described as commendable in view of the harsh operating environment during the review period.

They, however, called on the bank to improve its performance to ensure that cash dividend was paid at the end of the current financial year.

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