The Group Managing Director, Union Bank Plc, Mr. Emeka Emuwa, on Tuesday, said the bank would increase its level of financial support to key sectors of the economy.
Emuwa said this while addressing shareholders of the bank at its 49th Annual General Meeting in Abuja.
He said the management of the bank had seen clear opportunities for growth in the economy this year, adding, “We see clear opportunities for growth in 2018. We have aligned our focus areas with key priorities for the Nigerian economy and we aim to invest in key sectors for Nigeria’s growth such as agriculture, manufacturing, services.”
Emuwa said the bank would continue to grow its loan book by lending to the real sector.
Speaking on the financial performance of the bank, the Chairman, Union Bank, Cyril Odu, said the group recorded a profit after tax of N15.5bn in the 2017 financial year.
He explained that gross earnings rose from N129.6bn in 2016 to N163.8bn in 2017 while interest income grew by 25 per cent from N99.7bn in 2016 to N124.5bn in 2017.
He added that non-interest revenue moved up by 31 per cent from N29.9bn in 2016 to N39.3bn in 2017.
The increase in non-interest income, Odu said, was driven by improvement in fee and commission income, trading income and a more effective debt recovery strategy.
He said, “Our commitment to deliver high-quality earnings to our shareholders is unwavering, and I am pleased to announce that we were able to deliver solid results in 2017 in spite of a challenging operating environment.
“Looking ahead, we are optimistic about the future of the bank and remain focused on ensuring we take advantage of opportunities as they arise. In 2018, we remain focused on leveraging our capital, talent and technology to drive growth across all business segments and improve enterprise value.”
Some of the shareholders, who spoke at the event, commended the management for repositioning the bank to the path of profitability.
Others, however, called on the management to reward them through the payment of dividend in the 2018 financial period.