By James Emejo, 06.13.2010
Union bank’s new management has tackled all its major issues by bringing all non-performing loans and other toxic assets on balance sheet.According to Union Bank’s Group results for the nine months ended December 31, 2009 released by the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) last weekend, gross earnings stood at N114.68billion while operating income was N65.37billion, underscoring the bank’s core business viability. However, the provisions for losses on non-performing loans and other operational un-reconciled/under-provided items of N276.9biliion, led to a loss after tax of N281.2billion.
There are however, strong indications that the bank as returned to profitability in the first quarter of 2010 after this significant clean up in order to ensure that the bank is on sound footing going forward. In a related development, as part of the process for repositioning the bank to enhance customer service and profitability, Union Bank has realigned its operations bank wide.
Group Managing Director of the Bank, Mrs Funke Osibodu, made this known during an interactive session with newsmen in Lagos last weekend.
Specifically, she said that the realignment process became necessary as part of the efforts designed to reposition the bank into profitability.Before the latest development, at least 70 per cent of the branch staff were back office.The new expectation according to the Union Bank boss, is to have at least 60 per cent of the branch staff to be in contact with customers (i.e front office) whilst not more than 40 per cent will be in back office.
She said the development has necessitated the expansion of the current 19 operational zones of the Bank to 42 zones and the appointment of senior management staff (some of whom are currently in the Head Office) to lead the newly created operational zones spread across the country.Osibodu said: “In addition, the current branch structure of the bank is being reorganised both in terms of management and focus. The branches will now be managed by more senior personnel designated as business development managers while chief marketing officers will be appointed within each branch to lead the strategic business units comprising retail, corporate, commercial and public sector business as applicable to locations and business opportunities.
“Appointment of key staff for the branches is expected to be unveiled soon in phases starting with 55 flagship branches. The re-energised branches will serve as the fulcrum to relaunch Union Bank to market prominence.”In the same vein, the bank plans to roll out 200 Automated Teller Machine (ATM) plazas, with 50 to be deployed in a the pilot scheme, as part of the efforts to decongest the braches and move banking services closer to the customers.
The bank had in the past few months recruited more than 700 new staff, mostly fresh graduates, 50 senior staff, mostly accountants, all in an effort to deliver better and quality service to the bank’s customers.