Bob Diamond's Nigerian Bank Expects to Accelerate Lending

(Bloomberg) -- Union Bank Nigeria Plc, the Nigerian lender owned by Bob Diamond’s Atlas Mara Ltd., expects to boost lending for the rest of this year after a 64 billion-naira ($177-million) writedown in the first half caused its book to shrink.

UBN’s loan book will probably expand 10-12 percent this year by focusing on consumer goods, agriculture, agri-processing, services such as education and health, transportation, manufacturing and small businesses, Chief Financial Officer Oyinkan Adewale said on a conference call on Tuesday. It shrank 9 percent in the first half compared to the end of 2017 because of the write offs.

The Lagos-based company’s ratio of non-performing loans to total credit will improve to below 10 percent for the full year from 10.8 percent in the first half and 19.8 percent at the end of 2017, he said. The real estate industry accounted for about 32 percent of NPLs, the CFO said.

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