NIGERIA – The United Bank for Africa Group (UBA) Plc has announced a gross earning of N147.2 billion (US$377.44m) for the first quarter(Q1) ended March 31, 2020, up from the N131.7 billion (US$337.69m) posted in the corresponding period of 2019. 

Net interest income rose to N65.417 billion (US$167.74m), compared with N58.075 billion (US$148.91m) in 2019. The bank leveraged on modest growth in both interest and non-interest income as well as increased efficiency to deliver an 8.5 per cent growth in profit before tax (PBT) to N32.7 billion (US$83.85m), compared with the N30.2 billion (US$77.44m) recorded in 2019. Its profit after tax (PAT) also grew from N28.665 billion (US$73.5m) to N30.101 billion (US$77.18m) in 2020. 

UBA sustained its strong profitability recording an annualised 20 per cent Return on Average Equity (RoAE). Its loans and advances to customers rose from N2.061 trillion (US$5.28bn) to N2.256 trillion (US$5.78bn) in the period under review, while customers’ deposits improved from N3.832 trillion (US$9.83bn) to N4.272 trillion (US$10.95bn), showing the confidence reposed in the brand. 

The bank’s total assets also rose by 13.4 per cent to N6.4 trillion (US$16.41bn) in the period under review, compared to the N5.6 trillion (US$14.36bn) recorded at the end of its 2019 financial year, while shareholders’ funds grew to N612.6 billion (US$1.57bn) from N597.9 billion (US$1.53bn) in the same period. 

Commenting on the performance, the Group Managing Director/CEO, UBA Plc, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, expressed satisfaction, saying it was encouraging despite the challenging business environment. 

“We are pleased with our top and bottom lines in the first quarter of 2020. The double-digit growth in the topline testifies to the resilience of our business model as a group, even as the 17 per cent growth in our fees and commission income underscores our diversified business model, enabling us to deliver best value to our stakeholders, even in tough macroeconomic scenarios,” he added. 

According to him, he was very excited about recent successes recorded in all business segments, especially the retail and electronic banking platform, within the period, with retail deposits accounting for 72 per cent of customer deposits even as cost-of-funds moderated to 3.3 per cent. 

“We will continue to grow market share in all our markets, whilst maintaining cost discipline across our businesses, driving efficiency in our processes using best-rated technology,” he said. 

Speaking on customers’ growing concerns on banking services during the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, Uzoka explained that the bank has put in place various strategic channels to ensure that customers transactions are effectively carried out with ease. 

“In response to the spread of COVID-19 several national governments have announced a partial or total lock down in a number of our markets, post Q1 2020. Fortunately, we have built robust electronic channel platforms to enable us effectively serve our customers from the convenience of their homes,” said Uzoka. 

“Despite the lock down, our banking channels have remained open to our customers 24/7, even as we continue to align and adapt our operating model to ensure we service our customers excellently and safely.”