… As offshore subsidiaries shine
United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc. again proved its leadership position on the continent, as the Banker Magazine crowned it the “African Bank of the Year 2017”. The Banker Award is premier for Nigeria, as it marks the first time a Nigerian-headquartered bank will be winning the prestigious and highly coveted regional award.
To further demonstrate the group’s strength and dominance in the financial sector on the continent, four of UBA Group’s operations in Africa also led contenders in their respective countries to emerge the Best Bank of the Year 2017 in their respective markets. UBA Congo, UBA Tchad, UBA Gabon and UBA Senegal emerged the Best Bank of the Year in Congo, Tchad, Gabon and Senegal respectively, reinforcing the strong franchise of the group across its chosen markets in Africa. Notably, UBA Gabon and UBA Senegal won the same awards in 2016, as both subsidiaries of UBA Group remained the banks to beat in Gabon and Senegal.
A publication of the Financial Times Newspaper, the Banker Magazine is a global financial intelligence magazine that provides global bank ratings/analysis and is the definitive reference in international banking for high level decision makers globally. According to the magazine, the aim of the award “is to highlight industry-wide excellence within the global banking community. The winner is selected from participating banks in each of the 120 countries from which entries are received for the competition.”
Explaining the rationale behind UBA carting multiple categories in its December issue, the Banker’s Magazine noted that Africa’s economic landscape has been unpredictable in recent times, which resulted in recession in some best performing economies, while the region as a whole only expanded by about 1.3 per cent in 2016. “In these conditions only the most diversified and innovative of regional banks can prosper. And this is precisely why UBA scooped the 2017 regional winner award. For one, the lender registered impressive top- and bottom-line growth over the review period,” it noted.
The magazine went further to enumerate the various achievements recorded by UBA Group during the period, noting that earnings for the year reached N384 billion ($1.07 billion) signalling 22 per cent growth from its 2015 performance while profit before tax also grew by 32 per cent to reach N91 billion.
According to the organisers, “equally impressive is UBA’s capital adequacy ratio which, at the end of 2016, stood at 20 per cent, while its nonperforming loan ratio was a healthy 3.9 per cent. Operating across 19 markets in Africa, the bank serves more than 14 million customers.”
It added that the Pan-African bank’s foray into various ventures in Africa also helped to clinch its activities in the year under consideration, stating that, “beyond the numbers, the bank has won and acted on a number of headline deals. These include the financing of a new stadium in Douala, Cameroon, for the 2019 African Cup of Nations for $285 million.
“In Senegal, more than $250 million of trade finance was provided to the state oil company, while the lender acted as arranger and bank agent in the raising of $160 million to finance road infrastructure. The bank’s digital tax collection solutions are also helping regional governments in Senegal and Burkina Faso.”
The organisers noted that UBA is making impressive strides in the digital space, adding that in terms of internet banking, the organisation processed seven million transactions valued at more than N600 billion in 2016. Mobile banking processed transactions valued at N70 billion over the same period.
UBA has also launched eMailMoni, a service that lets customers transfer funds through e-mail, while Chat Banking allows clients to perform basic transactions through social media platforms. “For these reasons, and others, UBA is the winner of our 2017 African Bank of the Year award,” the magazine stated.
The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, UBA Plc, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, who was delighted by the recognition from The Bankers said, “these awards mark another milestone for UBA Group and is a testament of the diligent execution of the bank’s strategic initiatives on customer service. Being recognised as Africa’s best bank complements positive feedback from customers and is a recognition of our improving efficiencies, service quality and innovation. I therefore dedicate it to our growing loyal corporate and retail customers, who are our essence. Given our heritage commitment to Africa’s development, we continue to impact lives through our service as well as funding to individuals, businesses and government.”