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Banking Sector

Union Bank Reports N6.9 Billion Profit in Q1 2021

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Union bank - Investors King

Union Bank Plc, a leading financial institution in Nigeria, grew profit before tax by 12 percent from N6.2 billion filed in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020 to N6.9 billion in the first quarter of 2021.

In the unaudited financial statements released for the quarter, the bank’s gross earnings declined by 15 percent from N42.6 billion recorded in Q1 2020 to N36.4 billion in Q1 2021.

Similarly, operating expenses were down by 4 percent to N17.3 billion in Q1 2021, down from N18 billion in Q1 2020.

Union Bank Financial Highlights

● Profit before tax: up 12% to ₦6.9bn (₦6.2bn in Q1 2020); driven by higher non-interest income and lower operating expenses.
● Gross earnings: down 15% to ₦36.4bn (₦42.6bn in Q1 2020) driven by lower interest environment in the Nigeria financial sector
● Net operating income after impairments: relatively flat at ₦24.3bn (₦24.2bn in Q1 2020).
● Non-interest income: up 10% to ₦14.1bn (₦12.9bn in Q1 2020); driven by successful debt recovery efforts.
● Operating expenses: down 4% to ₦17.3bn (₦18bn in Q1 2020); an outcome of sustained cost optimisation efforts
● Gross loans: up 3% at ₦757.4bn (₦736.7bn in Dec 2020)
● Customer deposits: flat at ₦1.1trillion (₦1.1 trillion in Dec 2020)
● Non-performing loans ratio: flat at 4%

Speaking on the Performance, Emeka Okonkwo, CEO said: “I’m pleased to be able to provide the first set of quarterly results under my tenure as CEO following a smooth transition in leadership. Despite the challenging economic climate, our Bank has maintained a steady performance that we can build on for the rest of the year.

“The Bank has responded well to the challenges in the market since the onset of the pandemic. Our overall efforts in Q1 delivered a 12% growth in PBT. We are particularly pleased with the consistent growth we are seeing in transaction volumes which validates our digital-led strategy and is delivering returns. By prioritizing personalized solutions and enabling self-service, we are attracting transaction-backed deposits and enhancing customer knowledge to better manage risk.

“Our performance was also supported by strong debt recovery efforts which contributed to growth in non-interest income, enabling us to maintain net operating income at N24.3bn despite the significant reductions on net interest margins across the industry since Q1 2020.”

“Going forward, we will continue to focus on accelerating digitization to drive customer acquisitions and transactions. Our business and operating model are being enhanced to deliver on revenue and product penetration targets across geographies and segments where we have identified opportunities.

Speaking on the Q1 2021 numbers, Chief Financial Officer, Joe Mbulu said: “We have continued to deliver improved efficiency, enabling growth in PBT, which grew by 12% to ₦6.9bn. We are continuing to partly mitigate the impact of a lower interest margin and high inflation environment by maintaining a focus on cost which drove a reduction in operating expenses by 3.4% from N18bn to N17.3bn and an enhanced cost-income ratio of 71.4%, from 74.3% in Q1 2020.

“The 10% growth in non-interest income recorded during the quarter was supported by strong growth in recoveries as well as an improvement in net income from other financial instruments which rose by 109% to ₦3bn from ₦1.4bn.

“Our capital position remains strong, with a capital adequacy ratio (CAR) of 17.3%, while our non-performing loan ratio remains good at 4%. These are critical enablers to deliver our 2021 strategic priorities.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Banking Sector

FirstBank Expands Its International Money Transfer Network, Reinforces its Commitment to Customer Service

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In furtherance of the need to expand diaspora remittance inflow into the country, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has increased its network of International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs), targeted at easing the accessibility of its customers to receive money from close to 100 countries across the world in a safe and secured manner. With over 750 branches across the country, customers can receive money from the nearest FirstBank branch closest to them.

Over the years, FirstBank has been in partnership with Western UnionMoneyGram, Ria, Transfast, and WorldRemit. The bank is also in partnership with other IMTOs which include Wari, Smallworld, Sendwave, Flutherwave, Funtech, Thunes and Venture Garden Group to promote remittance inflow into the country, thereby putting Nigerians and residents at an advantage in receiving money from their families, friends and loved ones across the world.

Beneficiaries can receive remittance in US dollars in any of our over 750 branches spread across the country. Customers without an existing domiciliary account can have dollar account automatically created for their remittances. You can also receive inflow directly into your account through Western Union.

In addition, FirstBank has launched its wholly owned remittance platform named First Global Transfer product to promote the international transfer of funds across its subsidiaries in sub-Saharan Africa. These subsidiaries include FBNBank DRC, FBNBank Ghana, FBNBank Gambia, FBNBank Guinea, FBNBank Sierra-Leone, FBNBank Senegal.

Reiterating the Bank’s resolve in promoting diaspora remittances, regardless of where one is across the globe, the Deputy Managing Director, Mr Gbenga Shobo said “at FirstBank, expanding our network of International Money Transfer Operators is in recognition of the significant roles diaspora remittances play in driving economic growth such as helping recipients meet basic needs, fund cash and non-cash investments, finance education, foster new businesses and debt servicing.

We are excited about these partnerships, as it is essential to ensure our customers are at an advantage to receive money from their loved ones and business associates, anywhere they are, across the world.”

FirstBank pioneered international funds transfer and remittances over 25 years ago and has been at the forefront of promoting cross border payments in the country, having started the journey with Western Union Money Transfer. The Bank’s wealth of experience and operation in over 750 locations nationwide gives it the edge in the market.

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Banking Sector

Global Banking Sector Grows 40% Reviving Pandemic Losses in Just 12 Months

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European Investment Bank - Investors King

In 2020, the global banking sector took a hit following the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which was reflected in the overall market capitalization. However, with the ongoing global recovery, the banking industry has regained most of the losses incurred during the health crisis. 

According to data acquired by Finbold, in just 12 months between Q2 2020 and Q2 2021, the global banking sector’s market cap has surged 39.62%, adding €2.1 trillion from €5.3 trillion to €7.4 trillion. On the path to recovery, the market cap slightly plunged in 2020 Q3 to €5.2 trillion before gaining 17.3% the next quarter.

Among the Western European banks, Spain’s BBVA bank recorded the highest total shareholder return rate at 19.7% between April 2021 – July 2021, followed by Société Générale from France at 13.8%, while Banco Santander, also from Spain, ranks third at 12.1%. United Kingdom’s Barclays is the worst performer with a TSR of -8%. Data on the global banking sector’s market cap is provided by Banking Hub.

How banking sector sustained growth

The registered market capitalization is supported by the large-scale reopening of economies due to the vaccine rollout. Additionally, the banks, especially from major economies like the United States and Europe, have reaped from policies meant to cushion the economy from the adverse effects of the pandemic. Notably, the decisions by most banks to retain a low-interest-rate environment has been beneficial to banks.

Worth noting is that during the pandemic, banks found themselves in a tight spot. Historically, the banking sector has been considered the custodian of the economy but the pandemic also plunged the banks into a crisis. The banking sector’s profits were adversely affected considering they are bound to the business cycle and interest rates.

At the same time, banks also put in place measures like approaching loans with caution due to uncertainty in repaying which directly impacted profits. However, banks were tapped to facilitate the distribution of stimulus packages boosting their capital reserves in return.

Worth pointing out is that institutions like the European Central Banks allowed banks to continue using their capital buffers flexibly with a planned extension until 2022. With such moves helping banks sustain growth, it eliminates the worry of straining capital buffers while the health crisis is still impacting the banks’ balance sheets.

Furthermore, the crisis highlighted the need for banks to keep huge reserves of capital that can be activated in the wake of economic turmoil. Although most banks have historically relied on assets for future cushion, a crisis like the coronavirus calls for more capital because selling assets in such an environment is challenging.

Besides the policies, the banking sector recovery was partly aided by existing operational risk management arrangements. The pandemic tested all financial market participants and most leading banks successfully invoked business continuity plans. The plans ensured that the financial markets continued to run smoothly and orderly.

The sector’s recovery has also been accelerated by other factors like the increased adoption of pre-pandemic trends like digitalization and sustainability. Digitization of operations has been backed by consumers who are willing to conduct transactions online. At the same time, the digital shift has presented a competitive factor in the sector, with institutions that had established online presence benefiting the most.

Notably, the recovery was at some point under threat during the third quarter of 2020 amid concerns of the pandemic’s second wave. However, the sector sustained the gains with the rollout of the vaccine. Furthermore, moving into 2021, the industry appears not to be bothered by the Delta variant.

The future of the banking sector

By sustaining the market capitalization for two consecutive quarters, it can be assumed that the banking sector response to the health crisis is bearing fruits. However, it is still early to determine if the recovery is sustainable.

The rally will be tested, especially when central banks eliminate all the policies meant to cushion the economy. However, in the long run, banks will have to tailor their operations towards changing consumer behaviour.

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Banking Sector

How Stanbic IBTC is Transforming Nigeria’s Trade Landscape

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Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC, a subsidiary of Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, has reiterated its commitment to fostering international trade and help the nation actualise its economic growth and development goals.

The Bank said it will continue to fine-tune its three-pronged approach to facilitating trade activities for clients. These are the development of bespoke financial solutions to help boost trade for clients; sponsorship of relevant trade shows that bring together stakeholders in global trade, including exporters and importers; and organisation of seminars and workshops to provide clients and other stakeholders with industry insights and enlighten them on global trade opportunities.

“Our goal is to become the ‘go-to’ Bank as far as global trade is concerned, with emphasis on Africa-China trade. This approach is of immense value to our clients and will help us achieve our fundamental purpose, which is to drive Nigeria’s growth,” Chief Executive Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC, Wole Adeniyi, said.

In line with this resolve, Stanbic IBTC organised a webinar on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The webinar themed: ‘AfCFTA State of Play: Understanding Potential and Maximising Opportunities for the Customer’, emphasised Stanbic IBTC’s readiness to leverage the trade opportunities of the AfCFTA agreement to unlock business opportunities for its clients in the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) sector as well as its corporate clients.

In 2019, Stanbic IBTC launched its Africa China Agent Proposition (now called Africa China Trade Solutions – ACTS) to boost trade transactions between Africa (Nigeria) and Asia, especially China, and help customers consummate the best business deals without having to travel to China.

According to Stanbic IBTC, ACTS will give customers exclusive access to an array of exporters in China through an accredited agent, Zhejiang International Trading Supply Chain Co Ltd, also known as Guamao.

Stanbic IBTC has held various fora as part of its sensitisation drive on ACTS and the currency swap agreement between Nigeria and China. These fora provided insight on how best to help clients and businesses leverage the opportunity and assess the impact of the Chinese economy on trade in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.

According to Wole, these workshops were geared towards deepening trade connections with the Chinese business community, thereby stimulating strong trade and business ties between Africa, with a special focus on Nigeria and China.

Stanbic IBTC Bank was a platinum sponsor of the 2021 Global Trade Review (GTR) West Africa Conference themed ‘Connecting the Region’s Trade Experts. The GTR West Africa Conference is an annual regional event for trade discussions and networking among leading practitioners in trade, export, and commodity finance to strategically explore the latest developments, strategies, and solutions needed to drive growth.

Experts have continued to commend Stanbic IBTC on this bold approach to educate its clients and investors about the benefits of AfCFTA, the Nigeria China currency swap deal, and the ACTS proposition, all geared towards helping clients unlock business opportunities.

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