Shareholders of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc have approved the group’s 2020 annual accounts and commended the board and management for sustained profitability in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The shareholders gave the commendation at the company’s 2020 Annual General Meeting held on Tuesday by proxy in Lagos due to coronavirus.

The shareholders at the meeting also approved the recommended dividend of 25k per 50k ordinary share declared by the company for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2020.

They applauded the nank’s resilience in these times and its focus on sustaining shareholder value.

Addressing the shareholders at the meeting, Mrs Hamza Bassey, the bank’s Chairman, highlighted key achievements of the bank in 2020.

Bassey said the bank during the period focused on digital innovation for high-quality service delivery across touch points.

“Our commitment to delivering high quality earnings remains unwavering.

“I am pleased to announce that the bank delivered a resilient set of results in 2020 notwithstanding the challenging macroeconomic operating environment.

“Our overall performance demonstrates our resilience and ability to adapt to the constantly changing business environment to maximise shareholder returns.

“We remain committed to delivering value to our shareholders as we continue to drive growth and profitability of our business,” she said.

Also speaking, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Emeka Okonkwo, said that the company delivered strong performance in spite of the headwinds caused by the pandemic.

“In 2020, despite the headwinds caused by the pandemic, Union Bank continued to deliver a strong performance that has enabled the Board of Directors propose a dividend payment for the second consecutive year.

“This indicates resilience and affirms the strong foundation that was rebuilt over the past eight years.

“As we begin a new chapter, we will continue the journey to becoming a leading financial institution in Nigeria.

“Sustaining value to our shareholders remains at the core of our continuous drive and we remain committed to delivering improved profitability and higher returns in 2021 and beyond,” Okonkwo said.

He added that the bank would continue to execute its strategy to achieve the vision of being Nigeria’s most reliable and trusted partner.

The bank’s profit before tax grew by 2.8 per cent to N25.4 billion from N24.7 billion posted in the comparative period of 2019.

Customer deposits also increased by 27.6 per cent to N1.13 trillion compared with N886.3 billion in 2019.

The increase in customer deposits reflects the bank’s agility in delivering a compelling range of products to its customers during the pandemic and increased adoption of digital channels.

Similarly, non-performing loans ratio reduced to four per cent from 5.8 per cent in 2019, driven by a disciplined recoveries strategy, robust loan book and key restructurings to support customers during the pandemic.

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