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



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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NDIC Warns Nigerians of “Wonder Banks”



The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has urged Nigerians to be wary of “wonder banks” that give extra-ordinary interest rates and profits on investments.

Its Managing Director, Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim, gave the advice in an address at the NDIC Special Day at the ongoing 29th Enugu International Trade Fair in Enugu on Thursday.

Umaru, who was represented by Mr Festus Ekechi, NDIC Director of Strategy Development, said many Nigerians had continued to lose fortunes and even their life savings to Ponzi schemes and other illegal fund managers with disastrous consequences.

“The corporation’s activities, through the supervision of banks continuous monitoring and oversight, serve as consumer protection for depositors (in legal banks) which enhances confidence in the financial system.

“This acts as an incentive for the unbanked to access financial services of licensed banks.

“Poor and uninformed depositors need assurance that the services of licensed deposit taking institutions are safe and that they have access to their money whenever they need it,” he said.

The NDIC managing director said the NDIC was determined to ensure the safety and soundness of the nation’s financial system.

According to him, the key mandate of the corporation is to provide deposit guarantee to depositors of insured financial institutions, banks supervision, distress resolution, and bank liquidation.

He said that since inception, NDIC had grown from strength-to-strength in ensuring that the over-riding public policy objectives for establishing a deposit insurance system in the country were realised.

“With the protection of depositors in mind, the Maximum Deposit Insurance Coverage (MDIC) per depositor per bank progressively increased from N50, 000 in 1989 to its current N500, 000 per depositor per Deposit Money Banks (DMBs).

“Similarly, the insured limit for Micro-Finance Banks (MFBs) and Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs) in 2009 was increased from N100, 000 to N200, 000 per depositor per MFB/PMB in 2010.

“However, on August 4, 2016, the Minister of Finance approved an upward review of the deposit insured limit for depositors of PMBs to N500, 000 in order to ensure coverage of over 90 per cent of depositors in the banking sub-sector.

“It is pertinent to point out that depositors who have funds in excess of the insured limit are entitled to liquidation dividend after recovery of debts and sales of physical assets of the closed banks,” he said.

Earlier, the President of Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Chief Emeka Udeze, had commended NDIC for always partnering with the chamber to educate the banking public on the safety of their bank deposits.

Udeze said that NDIC remained resolute in the protection of depositors’ funds within banks and other financial institutions in the country.

“The NDIC has helped to build confidence amongst bank depositors, thereby helping to stabilise the Nigerian financial system,” he said.

The fair, which has entered its 7th day, has its theme as “Engendering the Competiveness of Nigerian Products in the Global Market.”

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SIGMA Pensions Launches Mobile App To Redefine Customer Experience



Sigma Pensions Limited, one of Nigeria’s leading Pension Fund Administrators with the goal of providing exceptional value to their stakeholders through the delivery of superior pension administrative services recently launched its mobile App; the Sigma Buddy.

The development of Sigma Buddy is evident in the organisation’s desire to be the Pension Manager of Choice providing innovative solutions and redefining customer experience.

It is fast, convenient and easy to navigate. It eliminates the hassle of walking into any of their branches to sort out account related issues.

Access to personal information, account related information and even communication with the customer’s assigned relationship manager is made possible with the Sigma Buddy.

For over a decade, Sigma Pensions has provided innovative solutions to its customers and the mobile App is an excellent opportunity to tailor more quality services with emphasis on the ease of transactions while building a stronger relationship with their customers.

One of the outstanding features of the Sigma Buddy is the ability to request for your e-statements.

The platform also provides a secure way to find their nearest branches closest to you. The App is free and available for download on both Play store and Apple store.

‘’We are revolutionizing the process of Pension fund administration and the first step towards achieving this is to offer easy access to our customers by bridging the gap between them and their retirement savings account.

This is the motivation for developing the Sigma Buddy’’.-Dave Uduanu, MD, Sigma Pensions Limited.

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Heritage Bank Achieves ISO 27001 Information Security Management Certification



Heritage Bank Plc, has achieved the Information Security Management Certification from International Standards Organisation (ISO).

This certification also known as the ISO 27001: 2013 is part of the ISO 27000 family of standards which helps organisations keep information assets secure. The certification was achieved on the heels of the bank’s drive to revolutionize the banking sector digital experience with Octopus, by putting in place a systematic approach to managing sensitive organisational information, ensuring it remains seamless, secure and available.

The Octopus platform owes numerous benefits to the users, thereby enable small businesses key into electronic payment system easily, efficient collections, social integration, retention strategy, bills payment, mobile virtual top-up, funds transfer, balance enquiry, movie show time, news.

With the introduction of Octopus, the ISO 27001: 2013 Information Security Management Certification is proof of the Bank’s demonstrated ability to consistently provide products and services that gives service consumers and customers an easily recognisable security hallmark.

Speaking on the award received, Ifie Sekibo, MD/CEO of Heritage Bank Plc, reiterated the bank’s commitment for secured services, whilst assuring customers that their information is appropriately protected and, as such, reduces the need to undertake time consuming and costly onsite security audits reducing time and cost for both parties.

According to him, the certification demonstrates credibility and trust, which reduces customer and supply chain audit and ISO 27001 certification reduces third party scrutiny of your Information Security Management by customers and the wider supply chain.

“The achievement of ISO 27001 will differentiate two competing organisations in the market place, providing a valuable competitive advantage. Increased legislative and regulatory compliance ISO 27001 supports compliance with relevant laws such as the Data Protection Act 1998 and software copyright legislation.

This in turn reduces the risk of facing prosecution and fines. An organisation’s liability in security incidents may be reduced if it is certified ISO 27001 compliant,”

He further explained that it reduces customer and supply chain audit, stating that ISO 27001 certification reduces third party scrutiny of your Information Security Management by customers and the wider supply chain.

As ISO 27001 is the current international benchmark for Information Security Management, it is increasingly recognised that compliance with the standard is supportive evidence of adequate security.

Considerations and outcomes To achieve ISO 27001 certification, an organisation must produce documentation that demonstrates that it has developed an Information Security Management System that complies with the standard.

Organisations should consider producing most of this documentation even if they are not going for certification as it provides a best practice approach for compliance as well.

There are three key issues to note about the standard: Its generic requirements mean that it is applicable to all organisations, regardless of size, type or nature. However, you tailor it to the exact needs of your organisation through the information security controls that you select to implement within your Information Security Management System.

It takes a flexible, risk-driven approach. It is dynamic – it focuses on continual improvement and helps the organisation keep ahead of changes both within and outside the organisation.

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