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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

Nigerian Farmers Log on for Cash in Hi-Tech Networks

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It looked like the end had arrived for Adewale Fatai’s chicken farm. Money was running out.

 

Built to house 30,000 chickens, the farm was producing fewer than 2,000 chicks. His family had no funds to lend, and Nigeria’s banks weren’t interested.

 

Instead, he went online.

 

Two years later, Fatai now has 20,000 chickens. Flanked by thousands of chirping birds at his farm in Nigeria’s southwestern Ogun state, Fatai told Reuters that his operation was saved by Farmcrowdy, one of a breed of new peer-to-peer lending companies aiming to match farmers with small investors.

 

Farmcrowdy uses videos and photographs to show off farms to prospective investors, willing to tie up a bit of cash until harvest time and collect a small return.

 

Onyeka Akumah, co-founder and CEO, Farmcrowdy said the company has so far helped 7,000 small-scale farmers receive a total of $6 million from 2,000 investors since it launched two years ago. He said 95 percent of investment comes from within Nigeria.

 

The typical investment starts from around 90,000 naira – $300 – too little to interest many banks but enough to help keep a small farm going until harvest.

Onyeka Akumah, co-founder and CEO, Farmcrowdy

Since taking office in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari has said he aims to revitalize the agriculture sector in Africa’s most populous nation to reduce the OPEC member’s reliance on oil exports and cut down on costly food imports.

 

But local farmers face multiple challenges – from floods, to a lack of electricity to regulate irrigation, to fighting with semi-nomadic cattle herdsmen that has claimed hundreds of lives this year. Most of the tens of millions of farmers work on a subsistence basis and live on less than $2 a day.

 

Farmers complain that they lack the access to affordable loans needed to cover their costs until harvest time.

 

Farmcrowdy and another firm, Thrive Agric, allow investors to choose a farm on the internet and decide how much to invest. They advertise returns of around 12-20 percent for investments in soybeans, maize, tomatoes, poultry and cattle. Investors buy a funding stake and are kept updated on the progress of crops.

 

“One of the primary problems we were trying to solve was solving the problem of access to funds for farmers: giving them the right expertise for them to grow and also linking them to markets,” said Uka Eje, CEO of Thrive Agric, at his office in Abuja.

 

He said some $2.7 million had been raised by 1,670 investors for nearly 10,000 farmers since the company’s launched in 2017. His company provides farmer clients with expertise as well as fundraising, he said.

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Cyber Thieves Raid Banks, Inflict Losses

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Nigerian financial system has been jolted by a lethal development; and that is the growing activities of cyber criminals who work in and outside the system.

 

Website cloing, Identity fraud and Automated Teller Machine (ATM) scams, are now so rampant that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), banks, switching companies, the police and users are having sleepless nights.

 

In 2017, Nigeria was estimated to have lost about $450 million to cybercrimes.

 

The most common today is the fake bank alerts scam which is growing in scope and leaving in its losses in its wake.

 

In this scam, fraudsters pose as potential buyers of goods or services provided by the bank customer and after both parties have agreed on a price, send fake SMS’s indicating they have deposited money into the sellers’ account.

 

The criminals usually count on their target, believing the SMS is real and would not bother to confirm with his/her bank before releasing the goods.

 

There is also website cloning scam where websites of genuine financial institutions are cloned are the scammers using what is known as phishing, the criminals send fraudulent SMSes and emails to victims directing them fake Web sites where they are asked to input sensitive data.

 

In the emails, the criminals had attachments that, when clicked, secretly install “spyware” that can capture personal information and send it to third parties over the Internet.

 

With the information supplied by victims, the criminals successfully broke into the victims’ bank accounts leaving tales of woes and losses.

 

Though the financial institutions are mostly affected by cybercrimes, all other sectors are culpable and assured Nigerians that financial institutions are strictly compelled to adhere to CBN regulations to secure online financial transactions.

Emefiele, CBN Gov.

The CBN, said it is working on modalities for new regulations to stem the rising losses that emanate from cybercrime and technology risk in the financial sector.

 

Mrs. Aishah Ahmad, deputy governor, CBN, said that “There is compelling need to redesign regulations that will address risk that may emanate from the new emerging and increasing modern class of financial firms.”

 

Elsewhere, electronic transaction switching and payment processing companies are building more security layers on top of existing ones to check the activities of the fraudsters.

 

The Police on the other hand said that that the development was being monitored and that the Commission is inviting useful information that would help burst the crime.

 

 

 

 

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Renmoney Emerges Winner Of Microfinance Excellence Award

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(R - L) Yetunde Faulkner, Head of Commercial, Renmoney, receiving Renmoney’s ‘Award for Excellence in Microfinance' from Mohammed Dabai Suleyman, Director, FSS 2020, Central Bank of Nigeria, while Folasade Femi-Lawal, Head, Card Business, First Bank, looks on; at the New Age Banking Summit held in Lagos, recently.

Renmoney, a Nigerian consumer lending company, has emerged the winner of the ‘Award for Excellence in Microfinance Banking’.

 

The award was presented at the 8th edition of the New Age Banking Summit which held at the Lagos Continental Hotel, Victoria Island.

 

Other winners of the evening were: GTBank, Diamond Bank, First Bank, First City Monument Bank, Union Bank and Wema Bank.

 

Receiving the award, Yetunde Faulkner, Head of Commercial at Renmoney, said: “We’ve been working really hard to build more convenient lending solutions for Nigerians so this award will be a huge morale boost for our team!” Yetunde added, “We launched our online loan application process this year to provide loans in under 24 hours and we are looking forward to launching even better solutions in 2019”.

 

For Anisha Ajimani of the UMS Conference, the organisers of the event, Renmoney was an obvious choice for the award because of the company’s focus on technology and customer experience.

 

She said: “The New Age Banking Awards are aimed at honouring organizations that have consistently demonstrated exemplary performance. These will not just recognize the endeavours of the most successful financial organizations, but will also set a benchmark, inspiring other organizations to achieve their own goals”.

 

The theme of the two-day event was ‘Staying Relevant in the Changing Financial Landscape of Nigeria’.

 

It was attended by a wide array of industry experts comprising Chief Information Officers of financial institutions in Nigeria, speaking on various developments and challenges in the digital banking and fintech space.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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