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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.

 

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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E-Financial

SEC’s eDividend Campaign Moves to South South

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Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Nigeria through its Port Harcourt Zonal Office will be holding a Town Hall meeting with stakeholders and the general public.

 

This is in a move to enlighten investors and the general public on the process and benefits of eDividend and to discuss other contemporary issues in the Nigerian Capital Market.

 

This will also provide an opportunity to throw more highlights on investment opportunities available in Nigerian Capital market and how retail investors can benefit therein.

 

The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 18, 2018 at Hall ‘C’, Landmark Hotel, 4, No. 4, Worlu Street, off Olu-Obasanjo Road, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Registration of participants starts by 9:00amwhile the main event starts at 10:00am.

 

The event will create an arena for the Apex capital market regulator to educate and enlighten the public on the above subject and also for operators, stakeholders and various investors to interact and discuss other issues surrounding the activities of the capital market.

 

Recall that the SEC in January 2015 commenced the e-dividend registration campaign in Abuja with a Road Show culminating in a Town Hall Meeting.

 

The Commission had announced that the e-dividend registration would continue seamlessly in spite of the expiration of free registration deadline which and also enjoined investors yet to enroll, to continue with the registration at a cost of N150 only.

 

“Investors should continue to approach their banks or registrars, as usual, to seamlessly mandate their bank accounts for the collection of their dividends electronically, including unclaimed dividends, not exceeding 12 years of issue; as the N150 would not be demanded from them at the point of registration.

 

“The N150 fee would not be demanded from the investors at the point of registration or submission of completed e-dividend mandate forms, divergent views have begun to trail the Commission’s stance that investors yet to register are to bankroll the exercise at a marginal cost of N150” the SEC added.

 

 

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Broadband, Mobile Phones, Others Expanding Business Frontiers – Okere

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Austin Okere, founder, CWG, has said that the ubiquity of broadband and the pervasiveness of mobile phones, along with breakthrough technology such as Artificial intelligence, Big Data and Blockchain are expanding the frontiers for business models in ways that were hitherto not possible, and leveling the playing field in the process.

He stated this in his presentation delivered at the 2018 Lagos Bankers & Stakeholders’ Nite held in Lagos over the weekend.

According to him, ‘any bank that does not read the signs and join the innovation train will definitely be disrupted and left behind. Remember that there was a time when the Post Office was at the center of our lives. When was the last time you visited a post office?’.

“Even though cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin tend to steal the limelight, it is their underlying blockchain technology that is proving to be of practical benefit. This technology, which goes beyond financial application, is expected to disrupt global supply chains by boosting transaction speed across borders and improving transparency.

“Essentially, the blockchain is a shared virtual public ledger where encrypted transactions are confirmed by outside parties. Confirmed transactions are placed in a “block” and added to the chain, hence the name blockchain. It is this technology that the FinTechs are leveraging to disrupt the traditional banks.

“Here in Nigeria, blockchain can help immensely unlock the immense capital locked in land assets that are not enumerated because of an antiquated system of land administrated that is very ripe for disruption.

“The most disruptive application of the blockchain technology however, is in the Financial Sector; and this will form the focus of my discourse. The consistent complain about banks have reached a crescendo in recent years. Is this justified?” he said.

 Okere added that Fintech companies in emerging markets have shown that with blockchain technology, it is possible to leapfrog to new forms of banking.

“Truth be told, Banks are best placed to continue to influence the future of Financial Services because of their huge branch network, solid reputations, and risk controls, as well as years of customer cultivation and loyalty. They however, have to radically change the mindset of we win when you lose’.

He noted that regulators are now helping Fintechs. “Fintechs are getting a lot of support from Regulators, believing that Fintech firms are small enough for any problems to be manageable, and on the other hand, might produce useful innovation (the sandbox approach).

“The intention is to lower market entry barriers for Fintech companies. For instance, France’s Central Bank has announced opening up a new innovation lab, aiming to collaborate with blockchain startups.

“In December 2015, Nasdaq executed its first trade on a blockchain, through its Linq ledger. The exchange said the blockchain promises to expedite trade clearing and settlement – all the steps needed to transfer the asset from seller to buyer including recording the transaction — from three days to as little as 10 minutes. That’s because the trades remove many manual processes and bypass third parties.

“As such, settlement risk exposure can be reduced by over 99%, dramatically lowering capital costs and systemic risk. Other stock exchanges tinkering with the blockchain include Australia, Germany, Japan, Korea, London,Toronto and  Myanmar.”

Okere explained that the future of Fintech seems bright. “Accenture recently released a report which found that investment in Fintech around the world has increased dramatically from $930 million in 2008 to more than $12 billion by early 2015.

“The Fintechs employ Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Machine Learning to glean the credit habits of customers from their mobile usage, and so have mitigated against the risk of default.

“The homepage of LendingClub advertises personal loans of up to $40,000. You can “apply online in minutes” and “get funded in as little as a few days,”. Another prominent Fintech lender Funding Circle claims that small businesses can get loans from between $25,000 and $500,000 in as little as 10 days.

“These are innovative services that seek to fill important niches in the credit markets. They enable people who have historically been shunned by banks to get loans in order to expand their businesses,” he said.

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Farmcrowdy Wins Digital Business of the Year Award in Africa

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Farmcrowdy, Nigeria’s first and leading digital agriculture platform has won the Digital Business of the Year (2018) award in Africa. The award was granted at the annual Global African Business Awards (GABA) ceremony in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Jimoh Maiyegun, Farmcrowdy’s Chief Technology Officer at the Global African Business Awards ceremony in Addis Ababa.

Launched in 2017, GABA, the world’s premier annual business award was created to celebrate, honour and generate public recognition of the achievements and positive contributions of organizations and working professionals in the continent of Africa.

Other nominees of the Digital Business of the Year award include e-commerce platforms – Konga, Jumia, Zando, Dressmeoutlet, Mall for Africa and Dealdey; WeFarm, the world’s largest farmer-to-farmer digital network; Interswitch payment gateway; and Delvv.io, South Africa’s branding and refinement partners.

Onyeka Akumah, Founder and CEO of Farmcrowdy says, “we are honoured to have our hard work aimed at impacting on the lives of rural farmers recognised.

We are delighted about the great opportunities ahead of us as we continually strive to remain at the forefront of technological innovation in Agriculture across Nigeria and eventually the continent of Africa.”

With a team of 35, Farmcrowdy has, in the last 20 months, empowered over 7,000 direct and indirect rural farmers and given thousands of farm sponsors a platform to participate in Agriculture from their computers or mobile phones in order to make profit at harvest.

This impact has seen the platform plant Maize, Rice and Cassava on over 8,000 Acres of farmland in less than 2 years and raised close to 600,000 chickens to boost food production in the country.

The leading digital agriculture platform has also raised $1.4 million dollars in seed funding from local and international investors including Cox Enterprises, Social Capital, Techstars Ventures and most recently, won a grant from the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Innovator Fund.

So far, the funds have given the leading startup the potency to scale its operations to 10 states of operation in Nigeria with plans for more expansion across more states and regions.

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