Thursday, November 01, 2018 / 07:55 PM / NSE
With the exception of negative capital base, underlying financial indices largely point to the potential existing for the Bank, including:
facts behind the figures
Financial performance declined in 2017, as the Bank took the bold action to tackle the lingering effects of legacy problems, which were further exacerbated by the severe economic downturn witnessed in the Nigerian Economy.
Having done a thorough diagnostics of the Bank, the new Board & Management of the Bank took firm and strategic action in a bid to eliminate the drag on the Bank in the form of huge legacy non-performing loans, an inefficient operating structure which manifested in excessive costs, poor branch spread and inadequate application of technology amongst others.
These strategic initiatives, amongst others, are geared towards a complete transformation of Unity Bank and setting her up on the path of strong and sustainable growth and profitability.
The courageous action taken by the Bank towards cleaning up the observed issues thus resulted in a negative capital base, however resulting in a leaner, smarter and dynamic Bank with a healthy Balance Sheet. Furthermore, with the progress being made on the ongoing capital raising, the Bank is firmly on course to achieve sustainable growth and sound performance.
Management action taken have included the following:
Consequent on the above, the Bank is on the verge of becoming one of the leading financial institutions in the country, with the following strengths particularly vital:
Unity Bank’s strategic initiatives: looking forward
Following from the new Management’s extensive diagnostics of the Bank, a number of strategic initiatives were identified and put into process for implementation, shaping Unity Bank as a Bank of the present times and dynamic to serve the future. These initiatives include:
Revised market focus: The new management of the Bank considers new imperatives for long term business growth. With a view to obtaining value and providing significant support for the economic growth plan of the Federal Government, key area of focus for the Bank are identified in the area of
1. Agriculture and agro-allied financing
2. Financial Inclusion with specific attention to:
3. MSME Banking
Enhanced Retail Banking drive: As part of a 5-year strategic transformation plan which commenced in 2015, Unity Bank further accelerated its Retail and SME drive in 2018 with four tactical initiatives.
ü Launch of the UniFi Youth banking platform. As part of the program, the Bank also held 6 campus storm events across all the geo-political regions.
The UniFi program featured a brand ambassadorship arrangement with Adekunle Gold (one of Nigeria’s leading artistes), with the inaugural launch held at the University of Lagos, and with further events held at University of Jos, University of Ibadan, University of Benin, Bayero University Kano, and University of Abuja. The program was a first of its kind which took the “banking hall to the student”, with instant account opening on a mobile device, BVN registration, instant card issuance and free Wi-Fi to enable students download the bank’s revamped Mobile App.
ü The re-launch of the Bank’s Mobile App, an omni-channel platform with state-of-the-art security features as well as lifestyle benefits. The App, which is available on all the major App Stores, was an instant hit with the students and wider user range, as it comes with card control features, which protect the customer’s account in case of fraud. Additionally, it was a pioneering App in the industry to allow customers pay for movie and event tickets directly from the App. The platform is fully omni-channel, offering customers the same interface on both the web/internet banking as well as on a device app.
ü Thirdly, Unity Bank facilitated breaking of new grounds in Public-Private Partnership, by partnering with CBN and RIFAN (the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria) to deliver on the long-held objective of ensuring self-sustainability in Rice production in the country. The program is one of the biggest and most complex anchor-borrower programs ever embarked upon, and it has so far succeeded in engaging over 300,000 farmers, cultivating over 260 thousand hectares of land with an expected yield of 2 million metric tonnes of rice for the wet season alone. The additional indirect job creation component has generated employment of almost 1,500 Agric extension agents, excluding the positive impact on hundreds of aggregators, distributors and retailers in the Agribusiness value-chain business.
ü The fourth initiative involved the commencement of Agency Banking, which the Bank launched in Gumel (Jigawa state) and Rijiya-Lemu (Kano state). The North-West was prioritized in order to tap into the huge unbanked population in the region, with key features including the provision of instant account opening as well as basic transactions services to people in peri-urban areas.
Lately, Unity Bank has been at the forefront of the Shared Agent Network Expansion Project (SANEP), collaborating with NIBSS to extend BVN registration and agency banking services to locations in Bauchi, Gombe, Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states. In addition to deepening financial inclusion, the agency banking drive also contributes to the CBN’s financial exclusion goal.
Cost containment: The new management has already began to take bold and specific steps that eliminate wastage, and significantly improve efficiency. The key areas of succinct attention for the Bank include:
Service Quality and Customer centricity – Unity Bank is now poised to focus on excellent service delivery, as the new management has identified, and are already taking key steps in:
Prudence and enhances Risk Management practices: Considering the sale of NPLs and the eventual de-risking of the financial position of the Bank, the management and the board have developed sound governance structure, practices and policies around its Enterprise Risk Management Framework in order to tame credit loss, prevent the elevation of NPLs and maintain a strong credit portfolio for the Bank.
Enhanced workplace environment: – The new management has committed itself in strong terms to promoting a great-place-to-work environment through
Current Year: pushing forward
Key ratios are also on the up, including