August 6, 2014 / 3:31 PM / 3 years ago

CORRECTED-Nigeria's Union Bank sees 40 pct loan growth in 2014

2 Min Read

(Corrects para 5 to 'writebacks' from 'writedowns', clarifies they were in H1 2013)

LAGOS, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Nigeria's Union Bank aims to boost its loan portfolio by 30 percent in the second half of 2014, after increasing it by 10 percent in the first six months, targeting retail and business customers, its chief finance officer said.

"In the second half we would do 30 percent (in loans). We closed December 2013 at 231 billion naira loan book. We are looking generally in the region of 40 percent growth for 2014," CFO, Oyinkan Adewale told Reuters in a phone interview.

Union Bank was bailed out in 2009, along with eight other Nigerian banks in the wake of a financial crisis. A private equity consortium recapitalised the lender, which reported last week that its first-half pretax profit fell by a third, on lower gross earnings.

Shares in Union Bank, which have fallen 14.3 percent this year, were up 0.2 percent at 8.20 naira on Wednesday.

Adewale said she expected the second-half profit to be "strong" without giving a guidance for the full year, but said that the fall in the first-half was due to one-off writebacks in the first six months of 2013, which would not occur in the second half.

She said management was rebuilding Union Bank after the bailout and the lender was upgrading its banking software and human resources to be able to compete with rivals like First Bank and Zenith Bank. (Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Tim Cocks and Susan Fenton)

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