BY BUKOLA IDOWU, Lagos –
It has been a season of recognition for the pan-African services group, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc this year as the Group’s performance in the African continent was being celebrated within and outside the country.
UBA once again proved to be a leader in the banking industry bank as it was named the “African Bank of the Year 2017” by the Banker Magazine making it the first Nigerian bank headquartered within the country to clinched the highly coveted award.
The Banker Magazine, a publication of the Financial Times Newspaper, is a global financial intelligence magazine that provides global bank ratings/analysis and it 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.”
Analysts said having established a strong presence in 19 African countries and business offices in three global financial centers: London, Paris and New York, the latest award further demonstrates the group’s strength and dominance in the financial sector on the continent.
Indeed, the UBA Group’s dominance in the continent is not in doubt as its 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, 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 remain the Banks to beat in Gabon and Senegal.
The Banker award’s “Bank of the Year Awards” are widely regarded as the Oscars of the Banking Industry. For 90 years, The Banker has been the world’s leading monthly journal of record for the banking industry. The organisers note that the aim of the awards programme is to highlight industry wide excellence within the global banking community.
The Banker selects one winning bank for each of the 120 countries that are covered. Over 1,000 applications are entered and judges select winning banks based on the ones that have made most progress over the past 12 months.
Like a gold fish that has nowhere to hide, the bank was also recognized by other reputable organistions. Apart from the prestigious The Banker Award, UBA carted away key industry award emerging the winner of the 2017 Sectoral Leadership Awards – Financial Services (Banking) organised by the PEARL Awards.
The PEARL Awards Nigeria, endorsed by the Securities and Exchange Commission is one of Nigeria’s foremost award recognition bodies, focused on rewarding corporate excellence in local institutions and promoting healthy competitiveness amongst quoted companies through growth, diversification and innovation; ultimately leading to improved performance on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
UBA triumphed over Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (first runner-up) and Zenith Bank Plc (second-run) to win the PEARL sectoral leadership award as a result of the bank’s outstanding operational and stock market performance in the 2016 year of assessment. The bank emerged winner based on verifiable facts and figures.
The bank’s performances in the 2016 financial year end result showed that the bank emerged largest in both profitability and assets size in Nigeria, controlling an estimated 10 per cent market share in deposits. Also, its subsidiaries in the rest of Africa accounted for a notable 31 per cent of the total earnings of the Group over the same period. Earlier in the year, the bank had successfully raised $500 million through a debut Eurobond, which was 240 per cent oversubscribed.
Behind every success story lies great efforts of people and that of the bank’s robust human resources was also recognized. The man at the saddle of leadership of the bank, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive of UBA Plc, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, also clinched the Bank CEO of the Year 2017 at the 2017 edition of awards organised by New Telegraph newspapers.
Commenting on the African Bank of the Year 2017” award given by the Banker Magazine, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive of UBA Plc, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, 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 recognized as Africa’s best bank complements positive feedback from customers and is a recognition of our improving efficiencies, service quality and innovation.”
Dedicating the award to the bank’s loyal corporate and retail customers, Uzoka said “our heritage commitment to Africa’s development, we continue to impact lives through our service as well as funding to individuals, businesses and government.”
“The bank remains focused on its goal of democratizing banking in Africa, leveraging on new technologies and our rich pool of talent. It is satisfying that our efforts towards leadership are yielding great results. We continue to gain market share across our chosen markets, as we deepen financial inclusion, meeting basic and complex financial service needs of the growing African population. We are Africans determined to change the narrative of financial services in Africa and this is just the beginning,” he noted.
On his part, Mr. Emeke Iweriebor, Regional CEO, UBA Francophone Africa, described the awards as exciting, stating that the bank’s great work in Africa is increasingly being recognized. “Our pioneering innovations in the African banking sector are undoubtedly critical to the growth and development of the continent. Africa’s banking sector has come a long way but we still have a lot to do. We at UBA Group are dedicated to being a critical part of this transformation.”
He added that the bank will continue to leverage its local knowledge, global exposure as well as presence to drive positive change in Africa, working actively with the government, local businesses, regulators and other stakeholders in deepening financial services.
UBA was incorporated in Nigeria as a limited liability company after taking over the assets of the British and French Bank Limited who had been operating in Nigeria since 1949. The United Bank for Africa Plc merged with Standard Trust Bank in 2005 and from a single country operation founded in 1949 in Nigeria – Africa’s largest economy – UBA has become one of the leading providers of banking and other financial services on the African continent. The Bank provides services to over 14 million customers globally, through one of the most diverse service channels in sub-Saharan Africa, with over 1,000 branches and customer touch points and robust online and mobile banking platforms.
UBA was the first Nigerian bank to make an Initial Public Offering, following its listing on the NSE in1970. It was also the first Nigerian bank to issue Global Depository Receipts. The shares of UBA are publicly traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the Bank has a well-diversified shareholder base, which includes foreign and local institutional investors, as well as individual shareholders.