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Q1 2020: In Spite Of Business Upsets, UBA Records Impressive N32.7bn Profit

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Pan African financial institution, United Bank for Africa Group (UBA) Plc has released its unaudited results for the first quarter ended March 31st, 2020, showing double-digit improvement across all its major income lines.

The bank leveraged on modest growth in both interest and non-interest income as well as increased efficiency to deliver an impressive 8.5 percent year-on-year growth in profit before tax in the first three months of 2020, to N32.7 billion compared with N30.2 billion recorded in the first quarter of 2019. Again, UBA sustained its strong profitability recording an annualized 20% Return on Average Equity (RoAE).

Driven by year-on-year growth in interest income, UBA Group recorded an 11.8% percent year-on-year growth in gross earnings to close at N147.2 billion for the three months period ending March 2020, compared to N131.7 billion recorded in the first three months of the year 2019.

The bank’s total assets also rose by 13.4% to N6.4 trillion in the period under review, compared to N5.6 trillion recorded at the end of 2019 financial; while shareholders’ funds grew to N612.6bn from N597.9 billion in the same period.

The Group Managing Director/CEO of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, expressed satisfaction with the Bank’s performance in the first quarter of 2020, which according to him remains encouraging despite the challenging business environment.

He said, “We are pleased with our top and bottom lines in the first quarter of 2020, delivering N147.2billion in gross earnings and profit before tax of N32.7billion. The double-digit growth in the topline testifies to the resilience of our business model as a group, even as the 17% growth in our fees and commission income underscores our diversified business model, enabling us to deliver the best value to our stakeholders, even in tough macroeconomic scenarios.

Continuing, the GMD said, “I am very excited about recent successes we have recorded in all our business segments, especially our retail and electronic banking businesses within the period, with retail deposits accounting for 72% of customer deposits even as cost-of-funds moderates to 3.3%. 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.

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.

He said, “In response to the spread of COVID-19 several national governments have announced a partial or total lockdown 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. Despite the lockdown, 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.”

He noted that as economies and businesses adjust to the headwinds occasioned by the novel COVID-19 pandemic, the bank has been identifying emerging strategic opportunities arising from this and positioning to take full advantage of this to delight customers and create value for stakeholders. “We also remain committed to our prudent risk management practices, as profitable growth and good asset quality remain our priority in 2020,” he stated.

The Group Chief Finance Officer, Ugo Nwaghodoh, who also commented on the result, said, “Our profitability ratios are upbeat and indicative of our good earnings quality and cost efficiencies. We recorded a return on average equity (ROAE) of 20% for the period, bolstered by a net interest margin of 6% and 11.6% growth in net fee and commission income. Amidst the volatile operating environment, the Bank recorded a net loan growth of 9.5% whilst maintaining our low to moderate risk appetite.

Continuing, he added, “Remarkably, our operating income grew 12.2%, giving credence to improved operational efficiency across the group, and the increasing contribution of subsidiaries to our earnings base. We are exploring and taking advantage of all opportunities to improve our operations and balance sheet efficiencies, given the prevailing market conditions”.

United Bank for Africa Plc is a leading Pan-African financial institution, offering banking services to more than eighteen (18) million customers, across 1,000 business offices and customer touchpoints in 20 African countries. With a presence in New York, London and Paris, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail, commercial and corporate banking, innovative cross-border payments and remittances, trade finance and ancillary banking services

BUSINESS

Access Bank Celebrates Recognition Of Tracy Batta As Forbes Africa’s 2020 30 Under 30

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Helping female businesses grow through discounted access to finance is one of the many unique value propositions under the Access Bank’s W Initiative. Tracy Batta, co-founder, SmoothieExpress and a W Power Loan beneficiary recently emerged on Forbes Africa’s 30 under 30 lists.

Tracy Batta co-owns Smoothie Express, a healthy focused brand known for providing consumers with healthy fast foods. Prior to her recognition under the 2020 class of Forbes Africa’s 30 under 30, Tracy was recognized under Business Day’s Top100 Fastest Growing SMEs. She has since grown to become a household name in Lagos.

Since its launch in 2018, the W Power loan has impacted the businesses of growing female entrepreneurs with N14bn for expansion whilst seeking opportunities and exposure to the global market.

Speaking on the impact of the W Power Loan on female-owned businesses, Ada Udechukwu, Head, Women Banking at Access Bank says, “Ensuring access to affordable finance for SMEs and opportunities to access new markets is an integral part of Access Bank’s economic ecosystem for SMEs. Since the introduction of the W Power Loan, more women can now sit at the helm of entrepreneurial affairs and grow their businesses to be internationally recognized.  We strengthen female-owned SMEs in Nigeria by being a pillar for them to lean on for growth and expansion”.

Access Bank’s support for female-owned home-grown businesses is undeniable and this is evident in the resultant benefits from its discounted financing initiative, The W Power Loan.

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BUSINESS

Access Bank W-Initiative Welcomes New Babies Through Health Financing Scheme

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Access Bank adds another feather to its cap through the women market program, The W Initiative Maternal Health Service Support (MHSS) scheme.

The W Initiative is happy to welcome the birth of two new babies to the couples who accessed the MHSS financing for their IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization) procedure having waited several years.

Since 2014, The W Initiative through its MHSS health financing program has supported the advancement of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)  to enable couples to access fertility treatment such as IVF.

Having successfully financed hundreds of procedures including fertility treatments, child delivery, fibroid treatments, surrogacy, bone marrow transplant, and other specialized procedures, The W Initiative remains ever committed to supporting more women and families by restoring hope and saving lives through its health financing scheme.

Women interested in accessing this health financing solution from the Bank can go through their service touchpoints- www.thewcommunity.com, or send a direct email to [email protected] or call 01-2273005

 

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BUSINESS

Heritage Bank-Dukia Gold To Boost Nigeria’s 200mn Ounces Of Gold Potential Reserves —- FG

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Federal Government of Nigeria has commended Heritage Bank for being part of a valuable private sector collaboration with Dukia Gold & Precious Metals Refining Co. Ltd, saying such partnership stands to create new opportunities for Nigeria to grow its potential reserves of 200 million ounces of gold.

The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, disclosed this during a Zoom- meet & chat session, a virtual platform at the launch of nationwide Dukia-Heritage Bank Gold & Precious Metals Buying Centres held yesterday

He affirmed that the launch of this expansive project between Heritage Bank and Dukia Gold would enable Nigeria to mine reserves properly, trade responsibly, refine locally and boost the nation’s foreign reserves.

He stated, “What we are looking at here is an extremely valuable new source of trade, jobs and foreign exchange.

“This project will create primary employment for local artisanal miners and mining cooperatives, and across the solid minerals value chain. Off-take agreements between Dukia Gold and local mining communities and owners of recyclable gold will be a useful provider of jobs in our post-COVID economy.

“The positive multiplier is expected to extend even further than this as the Dukia Gold project will also encourage the emergence of smaller-scale mining companies who, for the first time, will now have a transparent and welcoming market for their mined gold and precious metals. This is set to create jobs and unleashes the economic potential of mining communities.”

Osinbajo further counted the enormous benefits of the project, “This provides a sustainable way for Nigerians to exchange their gold jewellery and other precious items for cash. This system of exchange not only helps encourage a culture of recycling but will also serve as a complementary source for the raw materials needed for the Dukia Gold & Precious Metals Refining Company. These buying centres will also enable the responsible management of some of the electronic waste.”

Meanwhile, the project would further drive the diversification of the nation’s economy, Heritage Bank Plc, Dukia Gold which has given birth to new gold and precious metal market that will grow the mining industry’s contribution to gross domestic products to over 10% by 2026.

Records have shown that the growth of mining production at the end of 2019 in Nigeria was 0.1% and the sector still contributes less than 0.5% of GDP compared to other African economies who are strong in mining like Botswana (38%), Democratic Republic of Congo (25%), South Africa (18%), Zambia (18%), Guinea (12%) and Ghana (7%).

However, the MD/CEO of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo stated that the partnership that would boost the mining industry production has given birth to a new market, a platform that will contribute immensely to the transformation of Nigeria’s economy.

According to him, the operationalization of this initiative aligns with the overall Economic Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government of Nigeria especially as it relates to the full stream diversification of the Nigerian economy, job and wealth creation, development of the solid mineral space amongst others.

Sekibo affirmed, “It is our belief that as the economy of Nigeria is being recalibrated, given the impact of the global pandemic, the government’s committed aspiration to build a robust and resilient economy will be further enhanced through the operationalization of this initiative working with all stakeholders across States and Government Parastatals, the Central Bank, Private Sector and other international actors towards the development of the solid minerals sector and its appendages.”

He explained that this would enhance a regulated market that would see precious metals and other commodities take centre stage in the endeavour to ensuring irreversible economic growth and development in alliance with a modernized Exchange for commodities trading in Nigeria.

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