UBA@75: Our vision is to be the role model for african businesses, GMD

The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of United Bank for Africa Plc, Oliver Alawuba, has said that the main vision of the bank is to be the role model for African Businesses.

Alawuba stated this Monday at a global press conference to commence the global financial power house’s one-year long 75th anniversary celebration in Lagos.

According to the bank GMD, UBA has continued to deepen innovation and prioritise customer service but most importantly uniting Africa while connecting Africans to the World and the World to Africa.

“Our primary focus is to be the payment bank for Capital flows, trade and investments between Africa and the rest of the world. We are committed to expanding our presence, seizing growth opportunities, and delivering value to all stakeholders. The collaboration and partnerships as exemplified by the $6 billion SME funding agreement signed with the African Free Trade Area will be instrumental in achieving our strategic objectives,” Alawuba told top journalists at the media event held at the Tony Elumelu Amphitheatre inside UBA House in Marina, Lagos.

UBA is one of the old-generation banks in Nigeria. Founded in 1949 on Kakawa Street, Lagos Island as the British and French Bank, UBA has grown extensively over the decades, expanding its reach across Africa and beyond, providing a wide range of financial services to its customers. The bank has presence in 20 African countries and four global financial nerve centres: New York, United States of America; London, United Kingdom; Paris, France; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The UBA GMD added, “All the subsidiaries in Africa are profit-making and all of them are contributing more than 50 per cent of the gross income of UBA and this trend will continue. So, the vision of going into these countries is paying off and will continue to pay off. We will continue to invest in Africa and deepen our market share. Our market share in those countries is improving and if you go to some of these countries, UBA is one of the top three banks and they appreciate the contribution of the bank to their economy.”

While restating the Group’s commitment to investing in new products, services, and digital platforms to enhance customer experiences, the GMD also added that as part of its vision, the bank has made it a priority to invest in infrastructure in all countries where it has a presence.

The GMD said the past 75 years have been marked by stability and excellence, pillars upon which UBA’s legacy stands tall.

At present, Alawuba said, the bank has over 25,000 staff, more than 35 million customers it serves through multiple channels, over 350,000 Point of Sale terminals, 2,000Automated Teller Machines terminals, 1,000 Business Offices and 19.7 million card customers.

He stated further that as the bank celebrated its 75th anniversary, UBA has a record of several firsts in the banking landscape amongst which are:

1. The first Nigerian Bank to offer an IPO: UBA was the first Nigerian bank to offer an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in 1970.

2. The first Nigerian Bank to be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

3. The first Nigerian Bank to open a branch in the United States of America and the United Kingdom.

4. The first Nigerian Bank to install Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).

5. The first Nigerian Bank to open a campus branch at the University of Lagos.

6. The first Nigerian Bank to open a subsidiary in Africa (Ghana in 2005)

7. The first Nigerian Bank to appoint a Female Board Chairperson in Nigeria

8. The first Nigerian Bank to pioneer the introduction of Mobile Banking in Nigeria.

9. The first Nigerian Bank to launch a Multilingual Chatbot: Leo, in Nigeria.

10. The first Nigerian Bank to launch the most successful Prepaid Cards across Africa.

“This milestone is not just a celebration of longevity, but a testament to resilience, innovation, and unwavering commitment to excellence that have defined UBA’s journey over the decades,” Alawuba stated.

The GMD disclosed that while the entire UBA Group takes pride in recording these successful milestones, the Group Chairman, Mr. Tony Elumelu, CFR, truly deserves special recognition and mention.

According to him, without Elumelu’s sacrifices, contributions, support, and guidance over the years, the bank would not be where it is today as one of the global financial power houses.

“To this end, please join me in celebrating our current Group Chairman, Board Members, Executive Management and staff across all our subsidiaries. Without his (Elumelu) visionary push in 2005 and tutelage over the years, I doubt whether we would be where we are today. We appreciate and honour you because you built and nurtured the platform on which we are standing today. For these and more, we say a ‘Big And Resounding Thank You’ to him,” Alawuba stated while not leaving out for acknowledgement and appreciation all our former Chairmen of Group and Subsidiary Boards, Board Members, Group and Subsidiary MD/CEOs, and staff in various capacities over the years.

“As we honour our past leaders, we also commend our present and look forward to future leaders who will continue to raise the bar of banking in Africa and globally,” he added.

Alawuba noted that amidst economic challenges and market dynamics, UBA has demonstrated remarkable financial strength and resilience.

His words: “Our splendid performance, especially within the last year, is a testament to our robust fundamentals and sound strategic decisions. As we navigate through the ever-changing landscape, we remain committed to creating value for our shareholders and capitalising on emerging opportunities in the market. Innovation and digital transformation are at the heart of UBA’s strategy for future growth and competitiveness.

“We will continue to invest in innovative products, services, and digital platforms that enhance customer experience and drive operational efficiency. Our commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility is strong, with initiatives focused on education, healthcare, entrepreneurship, and environmental sustainability, thus making a concrete impact on communities across Africa. “As we reflect on the significance of this epoch-making event, it is important to acknowledge that UBA means different things to different people. For some, UBA is a trusted financial partner; for others, UBA is a beacon of stability and reliability, a development partner in various local communities as well as a catalyst for African development.

“We are dedicated to deepening relationships with customers, employees, regulators, and other stakeholders for mutual benefit and long-term success. I would like to reiterate UBA’s commitment to Customer First Philosophy, which is our primary business strategy. The customer is our employer and the sole reason why we come to work. Our three key pillars of service (People, Process and Technology) are all geared towards the delivery of excellent customer experience, which is our promise. As we embark on the next phase of our journey, I urge all stakeholders to continue their support and collaboration. Together, we will write the next chapter of success for United Bank for Africa Plc.”

For the 75th anniversary, Alawuba revealed that the bank will undertake a lot of CSR projects and a promo for its loyal customers.

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