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UBA Wins Big at The Bankers Award, the Oscars of the Financial Industry

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l-r: Former British Broadcasting Corporation(BBC) correspondent, Mr. Michael Buerk; Chief Executive, UBA Capital(Europe) Limited, representing UBA Group, Mr. Andrew Martin; and Editor, Middle East and Africa, The Banker. Mr. James King, during The Banker Awards 2017, organised by The Banker Magazine, a publication of Financial Times(FT), where UBA Group coveted five awards, including the prestigious ‘African Bank of the Year 2017’, at a ceremony in London on Wednesday

United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Pan-African financial institution, has once again proven its leadership on the continent, as the Banker Magazine crowned UBA the “African Bank of the Year 2017”.

 

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 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, 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.  

 

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 “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 of Africa’s best performing economies, while the region as a whole only expanded by about 1.3% in 2016.

 

“In these conditions only the most diversified and innovative of regional banks can prosper. And this is precisely why the United Bank for Africa (UBA) has 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 N384bn ($1.07bn) signalling 22% growth from its 2015 performance while profit before tax also grew, by 32%, to reach N91bn.

 

According to the organisers, “Equally impressive is UBA’s capital adequacy ratio which, at the end of 2016, stood at 20%, while its nonperforming loan ratio was a healthy 3.9%. 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, “Beyond the numbers, the bank has won and acted on a number of headline deals. These include the financing a new stadium in Douala, Cameroon, for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations for $285m. In Senegal, more than $250m of trade finance was provided to the state oil company, while the lender acted as arranger and bank agent in the raising of $160m 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 7 million transactions valued at more than N600bn in 2016.

 

Mobile banking processed transactions valued at N70bn over the same period. UBA has also launched eMailMoni, a service that lets customers transfer funds via 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.

 

Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, group managing director/chief executive officer, UBA Plc,  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 recognized 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.”

 

Uzoka added; “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 and 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.

 

Iweriebor who dedicated the awards to the bank’s esteemed customers, said “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.

 

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.

 

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 (UBA) 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.

 

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So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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NIBSS, PFS Launch National Automated Cheque Clearing System

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Dr. Yele Okeremi, Managing Director of PFS,

Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) and Precise Financial Systems (PFS) have collaborated to unveil a new National Automated Clearing System (NACS), which allows all the Deposit Money Banks in the country to clear cheques within hours.

 

The banks have been test-running the infrastructure for 11 weeks ago and a total of N5 trillion  worth of cheques from 10 million transactions has been processed through the new platform.

 

At the post go-live session in Lagos with representatives of the banks, Mr. Ade Shonubi, managing director of NIBSS, explained that the institution had been on the project for over 18 months. He added that the infrastructure would allow all the banks to achieve several payment and non-payment transactions.

 

NIBSS’ boss said that as at today there are four clearing sessions. According to him, the advantage of having multiple clearing sessions was that the net amount against each bank is smaller so that risks are managed.

 

“With the new system, a cheque can be cleared within six hours, four hour or at whatever duration we agree”, he said.

 

Dr. Yele Okeremi, Managing Director of PFS, the software firm behind NACS, at the session said the process of clearing cheques in all Nigerian banks has been simplified with the launch of NACS and that the successful completion of the project has the door for more Nigerian firms to take on more national challenges.

 

Okeremi commended the collaborative effort that exists between NIBSS and PFS, saying that the partnership has given birth to the new system that “allows bank customers to experience the benefits of shorter cheque clearing cycles, as it reduces operational cost of the banks because the clearing departments of the bank can work smarter and close earlier”.

 

Mr. Kolawole Aminu, Head, Domestic Payments and Collections, Union Bank,  described the new platform as user-friendly.

 

He added that “over N5 trillion that has been processed on the new platform just within 11 weeks. We are talking of over 10 million in terms of the volume of cheques. That tells you how much we do with this mode of payment.”

 

 

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ATM Cash Withdrawal Volume Reach 107 Billion in 2016

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In 2016, the number of cash withdrawals at ATMs worldwide was 107 billion, a 6 percent increase over 2015.

And though the total number of withdrawals is declining in some developed markets, the value of the cash withdrawn is increasing as consumers choose fewer, higher-value transactions, according to Global ATM Market and Forecasts to 2022, a report from the research and consultancy firm RBR.

According to the report, not only are ATM withdrawal volumes and values on the rise in most markets, but also real-time cash deposits.

By the end of 2016, the number of ATMs that could be used to automatically deposit banknotes reached 1.1 million, or 34 percent of the global ATM total, RBR said in a press release.

By connecting additional facilities to the deposit module, deployers often enable customers to settle bills, transfer money, or pay for other goods and services with the deposited cash.

And just as the rise in ATM popularity meant that banks could rationalise their branch networks and redeploy staff to higher-value positions, automated deposit ATMs mean that they can continue to move staff members to other roles, such as sales.

For the customer, these ATMs mean that they can deposit their banknotes at more times of the day and in more locations, for greater convenience.

Recycling ATMs — automated deposit ATMs that also dispense the deposited banknotes — are growing in number. At the end of 2016, more than 670,000 ATMs at the end of 2016 were recyclers, up from 360,000 in 2012, RBR said.

In addition to staff redeployment or rationalisation, these machines also allow banks and independent ATM deployers to reduce their cash-in-transit costs, since fewer CIT visits may be required.

“Banks are improving the functionality of their ATMs so that more transactions can be migrated from the branch counter to self-service, freeing up staff to undertake sales and advisory tasks. Furthermore, they are increasingly rationalizing their branch networks and using ATMs to offer a wide range of services in areas that do not justify the presence of a traditional outlet,” said Rowan Berridge, research leader for the report.

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CBN Licenses Inlaks as Super-agent for Financial Inclusion

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The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has granted an approval-in-principle to Inlaks, a financial technology company, to drive its financial inclusion and the cashless initiative agenda. Inlaks will operate as a super-agent in the nation’s financial services system.

Inlaks, a system integrator in Nigeria and Sub-saharan Africa will work very closely with the CBN and all partners to reach the underserved population as well as the financially excluded.

The aim is to ensure that informal workers in Nigeria have access to affordable financial services through its agent network which will address social challenges in key areas such as health insurance, credit accessibility, savings, wage payments, among others.

To launch the service, Inlaks will leverage the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System, NIBSS, switching infrastructure to enable inter-scheme Cash-In-Cash-Out, CICO, at all its agent locations as approved under the CBN regulatory framework.

The Inlaks’ super-agency platform therefore shall be enabled to communicate with all its agents and shall also have visibility of its agents’ transactions through integration with NIBSS, according the CBN framework.

As stated in the framework, “Super-agents’ in Nigeria shall be responsible for the management and monitoring of the activities of their agents only, and shall not hold electronic money value and would also have information on the volume and value of transactions carried out for each type of service by each agent.”

The framework also states that the volume and value of transactions should be made available to the principal to monitor effective compliance with set limits and establish other prudential measures in each case. Measures such as onsite visits will be carried out to ensure that agents operate strictly within the requirements of the law, guidelines and the contract.

Femi Adeoti, managing director, Inlaks, while commending the CBN for granting it the license also highlighted the fact that the licence would deliver numerous gains to the Nigerian economy by enhancing financial access, financial inclusion, sustainability and growth of the small and medium scale enterprises.

Also as part of its efforts to reach the underserved, Adeoti said Inlaks would partner CBN to deploy a unified information technology platform for about 1000 Microfinance Banks in Nigeria. “The landmark project which is ongoing will be implemented under the auspices of the National Association of Microfinance Banks, NAMB,” he said.

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