United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc. has emerged The Banker Magazine African Bank of the Year 2017, marking the first time a Nigerian-headquartered bank is winning the prestigious and highly coveted regional award.
This is just as its four operations on the continent also led contenders in their respective countries to emerge best banks of the Year 2017 in their respective markets.
The Banker Magazine specifically crowned UBA Congo, UBA Tchad, UBA Gabon and UBA Senegal as best banks of the year in their respective domains, thus reinforcing the strong franchise of the Group across its chosen markets in Africa, according to press statement from the bank Thursday.
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.
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According to the magazine, the awards seek to “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 noted that Africa’s economic landscape has been unpredictable in recent times, which resulted in a recession in some of Africa’s best-performing economies, while the region as a whole only expanded by about 1.3 percent 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 N384 billion ($1.07bn), representing 22 percent growth from its 2015 performance just as profit before tax grew by 32 percent to reach N91 billion.
“Equally impressive is UBA’s capital adequacy ratio, which, at the end of 2016, stood at 20 percent, while its non-performing loan ratio was a healthy 3.9 percent. Operating across 19 markets in Africa, the bank serves more than 14 million customers,” stressed The Banker.
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 $285 million.
“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 magazine also 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 N600 billion in 2016 with mobile banking transactions valued at N70 billion over the same period.
“These awards mark another milestone for UBA Group and is a testament to 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,” Kennedy Uzoka, UBA’s group managing director/chief executive, said.
He added that the UBA remains focused on its goal of democratizing banking in Africa, leveraging new technologies and its 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, 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.