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Unity Bank MD wins ‘top 25 CEOs Next Bulls’ award

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Unity Bank Plc MD/CEO, Mrs Oluwatomi Somefun

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Unity Bank Plc, Mrs. Oluwatomi Somefun has won the 2019 Top 25 CEOs Next Bulls award in recognition of the bank’s stellar performance on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

The 5th edition of the ‘Top 25 CEOs & Next Bulls Award,’ which took place in Lagos on Friday, May 10 2019, is one of the stock barometer awards structured by Businessday Media in association with the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

According to the organisers, Unity Bank ended the year as one of the companies with the best performing stocks, as its price opened at N0.53 and closed at N1.07, indicating a 101.89 per cent appreciation.

As reflected in its theme, a bull is the condition in financial market where the prices of a group of securities are rising or expected to rise. Thus, among the entities listed on the NSE, Unity Bank stocks stood out making one of the top 25 equities in the 2018 bull market with favourable conditions and stocks’ increases in value.

Commenting on the award, the Bank’s dynamic Managing Director who was ably represented by the Executive Director, Finance and Operations expressed appreciation to the organisers for their independent and objective analysis of stocks that saw the bank emerge tops in the awards.

The Bank in 2017 chose the tough but right path and resolved its legacy issues. “This bold action achieved notable points, including: reduction of NPL Ratio to zero per cent (0%); full de-risking of our balance sheet to remove toxic assets, total cleanup of our books and records as well as helping to fully mitigate the adverse impact of IFRS-9.

The Managing Director added that with a strong e-footprint in Agric Business, Retail and E-Business the lender is focused on Banking for the future.

For Unity Bank, the 2017 financial year will forever be known as one in which legacy clouds were laid to rest and the Bank arose to a new invigorated dawn. This according to dealers is attributable to the bank’s efficiency in curtailing cost, better market focus, revamp of electronic channels and increasing customer centricity which restored market confidence in the brand.

These strategic initiatives, amongst others, geared towards a complete transformation of Unity Bank and setting her up on the path of strong and sustainable growth and profitability, have endeared the lender to investors and contributed immensely to placing its CEO among top 25 that attracted the ‘next bulls” award.

Evidently, the courageous action taken by the Bank towards cleaning up observed issues, though resulted in temporary setbacks, but the Bank equally came out of the exercise a leaner, smarter and more dynamic Bank with a healthy Balance Sheet, Analysts have said.

Analysts see the NPLs resolution initiative and series of recoveries being made by the Management of the Bank as two-pronged approach to boost the Bank’s financial performance and create wealth for all existing and prospective shareholders.

These strategic initiatives according to industry experts rightly positioned Unity Bank, such that it successfully signed up 800,000 new customers and grew retail deposit base by 14 per cent in 2018 alone as a mark of growing customer conference.

The bank also worked on 4 important pillars:  deliberate improvement in risk management systems; improvement in internal processes; investment in technology and automation that helped development of products that customers have embraced for swift and convenience transactions.

Specifically, in its audited financial statements for the year ended December 31st, 2018, the lender returned to Profitability posting PAT of N1.27bn compared with a loss of N14.9bn in 2017. The Bank’s Balance Sheet Size also grew from N156.51billion in 2017 to N235.98 billion, culminating in Gross earnings of N37.33 billion for the year.

The Bank has continued to build business momentum with customer acquisition and improvement in deposit, thereby maintaining an upward trajectory in its Q1’19 results, posting a profit of N505m.

It also achieved mileage on the back of cost containment policy. Unity Bank’s cost minimization focus yielded positive results as the lender recorded a 20 per cent reduction in Total Operating Expenses from N24.460 in 2017 to N20.217 billion recorded in the year under review. This reduction is primarily as a result of the drive of Management towards building processes that attract efficiency gains in resource allocation throughout the Bank.

It would be recalled that Unity Bank successfully partnered CBN and RIFAN (the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria) to deliver on the long-held objective of ensuring self-sustainability in rice production in the country. The program is one of the biggest and most successful anchor-borrower programs ever embarked upon, and it has so far succeeded in engaging over 500,000 farmers, cultivating over 270 thousand hectares of land with expected yield of 2 million metric tons of rice for the wet season alone.

The Bank is now well placed to leverage on current and emerging market trends, improve service delivery and boost e-business.

Apart from the current award, Unity Bank has carted away other highly coveted awards and recognitions in recent times due to increasing market receptiveness to its growth focus. It won an Efficiency Awards in Fraud Reporting and prevention, Award of Sustainable Banking Transaction in Agriculture, Presidential Award as mover of Anchor Borrowers Programme at the 3rd anniversary of ABP, amongst others.

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BUSINESS

Unity Bank partners Signal Alliance and Businessday to host SME Clinic

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As part of collaborative initiative to consistently promote Small & Medium scale enterprises (SMEs), Unity Bank recently held its maiden edition of SME clinic in conjunction with Signal Alliance and Businessday Newspaper as a capacity building workshop to bridge knowledge gap.

The SME clinic was designed to boost SMEs operators by leveraging effective branding and marketing strategy expected to play key role in creating added value for products and making start up become a big brand enterprise.

Coming on the verge of the 5th industrial revolution and the need to put SMEs ahead of the fast paced developments, the clinic provided platform to expose participants drawn amongst Fintech operators, Retailers, Social services, Schools, Contractors, Professional service firms, Wholesalers, Manufacturers, Hospitality, NGOs, Clubs and Associations, Supplies and Agric value chain to the opportunities available as convergence of technology and human begin to take center stage.

Commenting on the Clinic, the Head of SME, Unity Bank Plc, Opeyemi Ojesina said that as a key market focus contributing about 48% of the national GDP in the last five year, 50% of industrial jobs and nearly 90% of the manufacturing sector in terms of number of enterprises, hosting a capacity building initiative of this nature enables the Bank to have more insight for enhancing financial inclusion plan for SMEs.

He further stated that as a leading Bank in the advocacy for SME, Unity Bank has developed innovative products for SMEs aimed at enhancing greater access to financial services, financial advisory and cluster marketing initiatives.

Participants were of the view that the SME clinic gave practical insights into techniques for creating distinctive brand concept centered on consumers and appreciated the three entities that organized the workshop.

The Chief Technology Officer, Signal Alliance, Mr Uchechi Nwaukwa used the platform to launch CloudGo, an IT product built on Microsoft cloud platform.

As a “solution that enhances communication, collaboration and scales innovation for business becomes a necessity” he further stated that “the product is a results of huge investment in IT infrastructure which helps to overcome upgrade challenges, enhance data protection and disaster recovery challenges faced by small businesses.

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HY ’19: Zenith Bank records improved results with interim dividend of 30 Kobo per share

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In a clear demonstration of its resilience and strong market share, Zenith Bank Plc has announced its audited results for the half year ended 30 June 2019, recording positive growth across key financial metrics, thus affirming the bank’s position as one of the leading financial institutions in Africa. As a testament to its commitment to its shareholders, the bank also announced a proposed interim dividend pay-out of 30 kobo per share.

Gross earnings grew by 3% from ₦322.2 billion to ₦331.6 billion driven by a significant growth of 24% (YoY) in non-interest income from ₦88.6 billion in H1 2018 to ₦109.7 billion in H1 2019. In particular, fees from electronic products increased by ₦17bn (168%) from ₦10bn in H1 2018 to ₦27 in H1 2019, demonstrating significant progress in our retail banking initiatives. This top-line growth filtered through to the bottom-line as Profit Before Tax (PBT) increased to ₦111.7 billion reflecting a 4% growth over ₦107.4 billion reported in H1 2018 with earnings per share (EPS) increasing by 9% to ₦2.83 in H1 2019 from ₦2.60 compared to the prior period.

Between December 2018 and June 2019, the Group’s total deposit increased by 3% with retail deposits growing by ₦267 billion (31%), from ₦861 billion to close at ₦1.1 trillion. Despite the growth in our deposit base, we optimized interest expense leading to a 4% reduction from ₦74.7 billion to ₦72.1 billion due to the Group’s improved funding mix and our profound treasury management skills. Net Interest Margins (NIMs) witnessed a compression from 10% in the same period last year to 8.6% in H1 2019, as a result of the declining yield environment but cost of funds improved from 3.4% to 3.0%.

Our robust risk management ensured that our absolute Gross Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) remained flat. However, the marginal movement in NPL ratio was as a result of the 3% reduction in our loan book from ₦2.02 trillion as at December 2018 to ₦1.95 trillion at the end of the period. We are creatively deploying new retail loan products to ensure we capture a reasonable share of the retail loan market. We remain committed to maintaining our strong balance sheet with liquidity ratio at 74.6% and Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) at 25%, ensuring we remain above regulatory thresholds.

Going into the second half of the year, we will continue to consolidate our leadership in the corporate space while our retail banking drive will continue unabated. We expect to see an improvement in economic activities even as we maintain our promise of delivering a unique service experience to our customers.

Consistent with this superlative performance and in recognition of its track record of excellent performance, the bank was recently ranked as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in 2018 by The Banker Magazine. Similarly, Zenith Bank was recognized as the Best Corporate Governance Bank in Nigeria by The World Finance for the sixth time just as Ethical Boardroom, a Europe based Boardroom watchdog reaffirmed this recognition by naming the bank as the Best Bank in Corporate Governance in 2018. Recognition has also come the way of the bank as it was recently named as the Best Institution in Sustainability Reporting in Africa 2018 (SERAS Awards) and the Bank of the Year 2018 (BusinessDay).

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Ojude Oba Festival 2019, proudly sponsored by FCMB

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It was a rich showcase of colours, culture and tradition at this year’s Ojude Oba Festival which held in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State on August 13, 2019.

The Ojude Oba, (which in Ijebu dialect means, “the king’s forecourt or frontage”, is a major festival in Nigeria that began over 100 years ago. It brings together all sons and daughters of Ijebuland in Nigeria and diaspora for a carnival-like celebration of the traditional, cultural, spiritual accomplishments and other values of the Ijebu nation. During the Festival, various age groups (popularly known as the Regberegbes), indigenes, their friends and associates from far and near – all in their colourful costumes and riding on horses, thronged the palace of the Awujale of Ijebuland to pay homage to him amidst prayers and other fun-filled activities.

Sponsors of the Ojude Oba Festival and foremost Nigerian financial institution First City Monument Bank (FCMB) congratulated the Awujale and Paramount Ruler of Ijebuland, Oba (Dr.) Sikiru Kayode Adetona, chiefs, age groups, all indigenes, friends and well-wishers of Ijebuland on this year’s festival.

The Bank reiterated its commitment to support activities that promote and add value to Nigeria’s culture and heritage which are also capable of boosting tourism, trade and the hospitality sector. FCMB’s participation was as usual grand, exciting and rewarding for the thousands of people within and outside the country that graced the fiesta.

In a goodwill message to the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba (Dr.) Adetona, the Founder of FCMB Group, who is also the Olori Omo-Oba Akile Ijebu, Otunba (Dr) Olasubomi Balogun, CON, expressed his gratitude to the paramount ruler for his selflessness, distinguished and exemplary leadership for the 59 years he has been the paramount ruler of Ijebuland, which makes him one of the longest reigning monarchs in Nigeria.

In the same vein, the Group Chief Executive of FCMB Group Plc, Mr. Ladi Balogun, congratulated the monarch for upholding the values of Ijebuland and raising the status of the event over the years. He stated that, ‘’the Ojude Oba Festival is a rallying point to promote the sustainable growth and development of our community. We recognise that celebrating our heritage is an important part of our national identity, a means of educating visitors and future generations about our history and an opportunity to measure our growth, development and sustainability. Hence, for us at FCMB, the Ojude Oba Festival is not just another event. It is a pride to us; being a major platform through which we reaffirm our commitment to the community and promote our nation’s cultural diversity. We will continue to support all activities of the State with focus on the economic and social development. We are committed to the longevity of the Ojude Oba Festival and are proud to be associated with its grandeur’’.

For more information about FCMB, please visit www.fcmb.com

Some pictures from Ojude Oba 2019 are shown below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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