Africa’s leading financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has announced its audited financial results for the half year ended June 30, 2020, showing commendable growth across key performance indices as well as increased contribution from its African subsidiaries.
Notwithstanding the challenging business and economic environment occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, the pan African financial institution was able to deliver growth in its gross earnings which rose to N300.6bn up from N294bn recorded in the same period of 2019.
According to its results filed with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the Group recorded N2.2 trillion in net loans to customers, representing a 6.1% growth even as deposits from customers increased impressively by 25.2% to N4.8tn. Net interest income grew by 8.4% to N119.3billion, whilst net fee and commission income stood at N38.6billion representing a 7.0% increase compared to the similar period in 2019.
As at June 30, 2020, the Bank’s Total Assets surpassed the N6tn mark as it leaped to N6.8 trillion. Operating income also grew by 7.7% to N197.1bn compared to N182.9bn while profit before tax stood at N57.1bn from N70.3bn in 2019, yielding a 14.4 per cent annualised return on average equity.
The bank’s Shareholders’ Funds remained strong at N634.7bn up from N597.9bn in December 2019, driven by growth in retained earnings, a reflection of UBA’s capacity for business growth. In line with its culture of paying both interim and final cash dividend, the Board of Directors of UBA Plc declared an interim dividend of N0.17 per share for every ordinary share of N0.50 each held by its shareholders.
Commenting on the results, UBA’s Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka said “Our 2020H1 results is yet another demonstration of the resilience of our business model in an extremely uncertain and tough operating environment. We recorded commendable growth in our underlying business in terms of customer acquisition, transaction volumes and balance sheet whilst inflation, depressed yield environment and exchange rate volatilities impacted our net earnings as anticipated.
He further stated, “Despite the short-term challenges to various economic sectors occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, we focused on the fundamentals of businesses in growth-driving sectors of various economies in which we operate and achieved 6.4% growth in gross loan to customers, reaching the N2.3trillion mark. The Group achieved N114.3 billion (a 10% YoY growth) in interest income from loans and advances to customers, as well as credit related fees and commissions.
Uzoka explained that notwithstanding the lock-down in a number of countries and the general lull in several economic sectors, UBA’s banking channels remained open to customers ‘24/7’, adding that “Fortunately, we had proactively built robust electronic channel platforms to enable us serve customers efficiently, and deliver services to them in the comfort of their homes. Notably, we are adjusting our operating model in response to the ‘new normal’ and will continue to optimise the way we work and serve customers in the days ahead.”
He expressed confidence in the bank’s capacity to deliver good returns to shareholders: “we remain committed to our drive as ‘Africa’s Global Bank’ and confident of claiming and sustaining industry leadership on key metrics across geographies where we operate. We will strive to deliver our services in a sustainable way, ultimately leveraging our best-in-class digital capabilities to delight our 21 million (and growing) customers across 23 countries.”
Also speaking on the results, UBA’s Group CFO, Ugo Nwaghodoh said “Our H1 2020 results reflects the inherent benefits of diversification as we have seen marked growth in contribution from the subsidiaries across Africa. Our Rest-of-Africa operations have continued to break new grounds in market share gains, providing a buffer for Group earnings. As the global and local economies begin to improve, we remain optimistic of a better performance in the second half of the year, with expected improvement in the Group’s NIM and ROAE which stood at 5.4% and 14.4% respectively as at end of H12020.
“We defensively positioned our loan portfolio whilst we grew gross loans by 6.4%, maintaining our prudent risk appetite, even as NPL ratio for the Group moderated to 4.1% (from 5.3% in 2019FY). We have prudently set-up reserves for loan impairments in recognition of potential losses on the portfolio, resulting in 150% growth in our provisioning. Albeit, cost of risk moderated to 0.7% from 0.9% in 2019FY. The Group’s capital adequacy ratio increased to 24.9% providing a very strong buffer for asset growth. We remain committed to maintaining our robust risk management practices, as profitable growth and good asset quality remain our priority in 2020,” he noted.
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UBA’s Leo Clocks Four, Set To Further Transform Digital Banking In Nigeria, Africa
The United Bank for Africa has announced that it has concluded plan to commemorate the fourth anniversary of its flagship artificial intelligence Chabot, with new offerings set to further change the face of digital banking in Nigeria
To further extend its reach, UBA said it has concluded plans to commence Leo services on Instagram and Google Business, terrains none of its peers can lay claim to.
“Birthed January 11, 2018, with a firm resolve to prioritise its customers as well as put the bank at the heart of disruptive technologies that will transform the experience of esteemed customers, UBA did the unthinkable by getting three million users hooked in less than three years of its inception,” the bank revealed in a statement.
Leo, which the bank stressed, had proven to be the most formidable artificial intelligence chat bot till date; serving an ever-increasing customer base who now have less transaction hassles to worry about is currently available on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat
Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, UBA, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, affirmed that UBA customers agree that Leo is one of the bank’s biggest investments in cutting-edge technology and has been steadily changing the face of banking in the continent.
“Three years later, and with over almost four million customers and counting, UBA’s Leo, has without a doubt, remained the smartest Banking Chatbot in Nigeria because of its speed and quick learning intelligence and has continued to evolve with plenty to offer its teeming customers.
“While other financial institutions are still trying to find their feet as regards Artificial Intelligence, we can proudly say that our Leo has become a massive success as it continues to consolidate on its successes and accolades winning several awards in a short while of its existence, “he added.
Uzoka said further: “In just four years, Leo’s landmark achievements have been indeed overwhelming, covering 20 African countries as well as garnering over 10 prestigious awards globally, a feat that is exceptional by every standard, I must say we are proud of Leo’s intimidating achievements which is largely unbeatable.
“With this in mind, we have ensured that, Leo continues to enjoy periodic and systematic upgrade with special emphasis on enhanced advancements and specialised unique features where necessary.
“UBA’s vision has always been and will remain to be a dominating force in Africa’s digital banking space. Our resolve is to provide unparalleled experience across all channels. We are a technology-driven institution with vast knowledge in the business that we do and Leo, being a tested, dependable and intelligent personality, did well to replicate on WhatsApp the success it recorded on the Facebook Messenger platform where it started its journey and later on the IOS (iPhone Operating System) platform.
“It is a solution that is from the customer’s standpoint, easy to use by anyone regardless of demography. Leo is always ready and waiting to help with any form of banking service.”
Uzoka further explained that Leo is already present in 20 African countries and in three languages and has a number of rich and robust features bound to mesmerise existing and potential customers with services that are extremely fast and secure as all transactions and enquiries are encrypted, end-to-end.
“Leo has the ability to do a wide range of things, including funds transfer, call card top-up, checking of account balance, retrieval of bank statements, instant account openings for new customers, statement to embassy/other banks/microfinance, purchase of airtime/ data, paying of bills (LCC, PHCN, Cable TV), effectively helping with savings and spend limit,” he said.
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Why More Women Are Banking With Access Bank, Wigwe Speaks
Access Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Herbert Wigwe, has identified good customer service, access to finance, provision of educative and possibility of business growth are some of the reasons why more women are patronising the bank. According to him, this is also the reason why half of the bank’s customer base are women, particularly those in business.
Wigwe made the disclosure recently while discussing the company’s expansion plans in an interview on CNN’s First Move with Julia Chatterley.
Noting that more women are embracing the bank due to what the bank has done for women, he explained that Access Bank had programmes for women and if they needed financing, they would be supported by the bank.
He said “Most times, they have gotten the money, it’s about supporting them with respect to various programs that would help educate them on what to do, how to grow their businesses, all of those type of things. So, that is what has made us so different and the fact that most women would rather bank with Access than anywhere else”
On Access Bank’s African expansion plans, Wigwe said, “It is something that we have been planning as part of our corporate strategic planning 2017 and the whole idea has been to support our correspondent banking business, to support our payments business and to basically ensure that there is greater trade within the continent. So, for us, what are we doing? We’re basically making sure that we have a strong presence in all the major trade centres in the continent.”
On Access Bank’s outlook for 2022, the bank CEO added, “I think we’re on track. I think in terms of profitability our different franchises are doing exceedingly well. And I think 2022 perhaps is actually going to be a big, big year for the institution.”
Explaining further, Wigwe said that in 2014, the bank created the W-program which is a more robust program, and it’s about inspiring, connecting and it’s also about empowering women.
He said the W-Programme includes both the professional lady or businesswoman who needs to be supported.
“You know sophisticated businessperson who is thinking about succession and wants a bank that can help them. All of those things were provided. We took it deeper and deeper into maternal health care schemes. Schemes that no other institution in the world have basically looked at. It’s the reason we won several, several awards.”
Revealing Access Bank’s focus on women in Nigeria, Wigwe also stated, “Coming back to Nigeria, and what it has done for women, half of our customer base today are women, all right. And because they know that they will be served by Access. And if they needed financing, they will be supported by Access. Most times, they have gotten the money, it’s about supporting them with respect to various programs that would help educate them on what to do, how to grow their businesses, all of those type of things. So, that is what has made us so different and the fact that most women would rather bank with Access than anywhere else.”
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UBA Customers To Win Big In Super Savers Promo Draw
Africa’s Global Bank, the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has assured its loyal customers of a memorable Christmas as the bank is set to reward thousands of people with super prizes, in its upcoming super savers promo draw.
The Super Savers draw will be held virtually on December 21 via Facebook and Youtube platforms in strict compliance with social distancing rules as directed by the federal and Lagos State governments following which 23 bumper account holders will smile home after a transparent draw with the following rewards; N2 million, N1.2 million, N500,000 and N100,000 cash prizes respectively.
Also another 10 savings account holders will win N1million each and 10 university students with a Next Gen account will win a monthly salary for a year while 30 children with a UBA Kiddies or Teens Account will win school fees grant. There is something for everyone in the Super Savers Draw.
The event will be supervised by representatives from the Consumer Protection Council, the National Lottery Regulatory Commission, and the Lagos State Lottery Board. To qualify, all new and existing customers need do to qualify for the draw is to ensure that they save N10,000 or more, monthly in their UBA Savings Account.
New customers should simply dial *919*20# if interested in opening a UBA Bumper Account. For more information, visit www.ubagroup.com/supersavers.
This unique Super Savers, which is open to account holders of the bank from the six geographical zones in Nigeria, has something big for everyone and intends to appreciate loyal customers of the bank, who have cultivated a savings culture and stayed loyal with the bank over the years.
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