…Honours, product of hard work, quality service, performance
COMFORT EKELEME, Assistant Business Editor
RANKING of the United Bank for Africa Plc and her four subsidiaries as the best financial institutions in Africa by the highly influential Banker Magazine has been applauded by the Bank’s numerous shareholders and customers who described the feat as well deserved and testimony of the hard work, diligence and quality service rendered to customers by the board, management and staff.
National Coordinator, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Mr. Boniface Okezie and the National President, Constant Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Mikail who gave the commendation in separate interviews with Daily Champion yesterday said the positive rating should serve as a wake- up call for employees of the Group to work harder and consolidate on the success story of the management team led by the Group Managing Director, GMD, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka.
The Banker Magazine, a publication of the Financial Times Newspaper had on Wednesday in London, United Kingdom, UK 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.Besides, 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.
In his reaction, Mr. Okezie said: “In the recent time, UBA has done very well, since assumption of office of the incumbent GMD, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka. He has consolidated on the achievements made by the former GMD, Mr. Phillips Oduoza. The bank has been moving forward, I think that was what informed those awards. Today in Nigeria, I know that many companies buy awards and I don’t think UBA bought theirs because the bank has done well; the awards were based on hard work.“If you look at UBA’s share price where it is today and where it was, it has been good. Today UBA is paying interim dividend and final, which has not been done in the past. UBA has done very well in terms of openness, in terms of corporate governance, conducts of meetings where their shareholders were given opportunity to ask questions so these are the criteria. These things have not been in existence in UBA and they have been incorporated.
“Shareholders have been taken seriously in terms of communications. In terms of performances, branch network, they have done very well. In terms of services rendered to customers, they are second to none. These are the criteria to judge company performances. Those awards came to spur the bank up to do more and not to relent and begin to live on the euphoria of the awards. “They must do more and since the society has acknowledged their quality service and performances, the bank should not relent, they should improve more on what they have done so as to get more awards. These awards should spur the bank and its managements to action, what informs any award is more hard work. They should be more commitment in terms of customer service delivery and more awards will come their way”. Similarly, the National President, Constant Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Mikail said the numerous awards won by UBA Plc and her subsidiaries are well deserved and due to the dedication by the entire workforce which shows that there is always a team work in all levels of the Group.
“Kudos goes to all the boards, managements and the entire workforce. We are happy because with these awards our bank is going to have more customers within Nigeria, Africa and worldwide because people would like to have interest in a well dedicated team and once there is an increase in customers’ data base then there would be more incomes which would make the companies to declare a better dividend and in this case shareholders would be more excited”.
Explaining the rationale behind UBA carting multiple categories in its December issue, the Banker Magazine said 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.”
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