Unity Bank Profit Spikes as Lender Deepens Footprint in Agri-financing
Tomi Somefun -Unity Bank Plc CEO

Unity Bank Profit Spikes as Lender Deepens Footprint in Agri-financing

Following its deepened footprint in Agriculture financing, Unity Bank Plc profit spikes despite turbulent operating environment.

In its 9-month 202o result, lender’s gross earnings rose to N33.90 billion from N31.25 billion recorded in the comparable period in 2019.

Gross earnings lift recorded represents an 8% growth from the corresponding period last year.

Also, lender’s total assets rose significantly to N420.87 billion in the nine-month period ended Sept. 30, from N293.05 billion in the corresponding period of 2019.

This translates to a 44% year on year growth in balance sheet size, supported by increased in loan book, cash and balances with the Central Bank and financial assets carried at amortised cost.

Year to date, Unity Bank’s net loans and advances to customers jerked up 27% from N104.017 billion to N131.846 billion.

Meanwhile, income statement shows that the bank maintained uptrend in bottom line in the period despite multiple external threats in the economy.

Its pretax profit rose to N1.71 billion from N1.61 billion in 2019.

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Ultimately, lender’s profit after tax expanded 6% to N1.57 billion from N1.48 billion recorded in the same period in 2019.

Customers deposit portfolio hits N332.36 billion at the end of 9M-2020, representing a 29% surge from N257.69 billion in the comparable period.

Unity Bank had, earlier, rolled out massive customer-centric products to the public, especially in the retail space, which accelerated the banking patronage during the period.

Speaking to the result, Tomi Somefun, Unity Bank Plc.’s Chief Executive Officer welcomed the steady growth of the balance sheet, from both assets and liability side of the business and across key performance indices.

She said that this had sustained impact on the bottom-line, even as the bank continued to innovate in its e-business product bouquet to target and support value chain business with robust technology and thus diversify its earnings base.

“One of the areas that will define our strategic direction going forward is investment in alternative channels leveraging further deployment of resources in technology.

“COVID-19 gave us a chance to test the integrity and scalability of our technology, the IT infrastructure, and the electronic banking channels.

“This provided us an opportunity to see where we needed to improve and strengthen, knowing that the future of sustainable banking business is in alternative channels.

“The results can also be attributable to the bank’s growing brand profile and leadership in agribusiness, especially having provided loans and financing to over one million smallholder farmers, especially those in primary production and other value chain businesses in the agricultural sector,” she said.

According to her, during the period under review, the bank enhanced and deepened its collaboration and partnership with major commodity associations.

These include the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Maize Farmers Association of Nigeria and the National Cotton Association of Nigeria.

The partnership is to finance over 400 smallholder farmers’ crop production with the overall strategic intent of fostering food security, employment generation and aggregate economic welfare of citizens across the value chains.

The bank also worked with processors and members of Millers Association of Nigeria to provide working capital through the CBN’s various intervention funds, while providing credit facilities to large number of input suppliers and vendors through the Anchor Borrower’s Programme.

Somefun said that the bank would continue to focus on agriculture, while deepening business in various new markets that had been developed alongside to pull more resources and enhance multiple streams of income.

Unity Bank Profit Spikes as Lender Deepens Footprint in Agri-financing