The United Bank for Africa has ended the year on a flying note, picking up some of the most important awards in the global and local financial sector, writes Solomon Elusoji
One of Africaâ€™s leading financial institutions, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has once again proven its leadership on the continent, as the Banker Magazine crowned UBA the â€œAfrican Bank of the Year 2017â€. This Banker Award is premier for Nigeria, as it marks the first time a Nigerian-headquartered bank will be wining the prestigious and highly coveted award.
To further demonstrate the groupâ€™s strength and dominance in the financial sector on the continent, four of UBA Groupâ€™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, 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.
Â A publication of the Financial Times Newspaper, The Banker Magazine 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 â€œis 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.â€
The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, UBA Plc, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, who was delighted by the recognition from The Bankers said, â€œThese awards mark another milestone for UBA Group and is a testament of the diligent execution of the bankâ€™s strategic initiatives on customer service. Being recognised as Africaâ€™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 Africaâ€™s development, we continue to impact lives through our services as well as funding to individuals, businesses and government.â€
Uzoka added: â€œThe bank remains focused on its goal of democratising 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,â€ he noted.
On his part, RegionalÂ CEO, UBA Francophone Africa, Mr. Emeke Iweriebor, described the awards as exciting, stating that the bankâ€™s great work in Africa is increasingly being recognised.
Iweriebor who dedicated the awards to the bankâ€™s esteemed customers, said â€œOur pioneering innovations in the African banking sector are undoubtedly critical to the growth and development of the continent. Africaâ€™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.â€ 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.
The Banker awardâ€™s â€œBank of the Year Awardsâ€ are widely regarded as the Oscars of the Banking Industry.Â For 90 years, The Banker has been the worldâ€™s leading monthly journal of record for the banking industry.Â 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.
Success begins from home
Away from the Banker Magazine award, UBA has also, recently, emerged as Winner of the 2017 Sectoral Leadership Awards â€“ Financial Services (Banking) organised by the PEARL Awards; as well as the Bank CEO of the Year 2017 which was organised by New Telegraph Newspapers.
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 bankâ€™s outstanding operational and stock market performance in the 2016 year of assessment. The bank emerged winner based on verifiable facts and figures.
The PEARL Awards Nigeria, endorsed by the Securities and Exchange CommissionÂ 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.
In the same vein, the UBA Chief, Uzoka, who was recognised for his various achievements since he took on the leadership roleÂ at UBAÂ was selected as the Bank CEO of the Year 2017, by New Telegraph Newspapers.
In his remarks on the award, Uzoka, while expressing his delight at the nomination, added that it remained a humbling experience for him to be selected for the honourable award. He also stated that the award is a call for him to do even more to ensure that UBAâ€™sÂ customers are prioritised in the bankâ€™s activities.
He said, â€œI want to express my delight with this recognition. It goes to show that the effort that myself and my team have put in throughout the year has been totally worth it. I also congratulate all my colleagues because this recognition is not just for Kennedy but for the entire staff of UBA.â€
UBAâ€™s outstanding year can be attributed to several things, including its longstanding legacy of providing quality financial services to millions across Africa.
In 2016, the bankâ€™s year end result revealed that it emerged as the largest financial institution in Nigeria both in profitability and assets size, 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.
All these contributed to a scramble for UBA’s share, which in turn increased the bankâ€™s share price currently standing at aboutÂ N9.90, representing a rise of over 165 per cent orÂ N6.16 per share compared toÂ N3.74Â per share recorded in 2016. According to the organisers of the Pearl awards, it is this performance as well as other indicators that led to the bankâ€™s selection for the coveted awards.
A history of excellence
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 overÂ 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 in 1970. 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.