June 13, 2024

UBA Marks 75 Years of Excellence

UBA Marks 75 Years of Excellence

United Bank for Africa (UBA) is commemorating its 75th anniversary, marking an extraordinary journey that began in 1949. The African banking giant has since evolved into a story of unwavering commitment to innovation, strategic expansion, and a deep-seated dedication to fostering economic prosperity across the continent.

UBA’s roots can be traced back to British and French Bank Limited (BFB), established in Nigeria in 1949. Following Nigeria’s independence, UBA was incorporated in 1961, taking over BFB’s operations. This marked the beginning of a new era, one where UBA would play a pivotal role in shaping the nation’s financial landscape.

From its inception, UBA embarked on a growth trajectory, strategically expanding its footprint through mergers and acquisitions. The landmark merger with Standard Trust Bank in 2005, one of the largest witnessed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, solidified UBA’s position as a leading Nigerian bank.

This was followed by a series of other successful acquisitions, including Continental Trust Bank, Trade Bank, and several liquidated banks. Each merger and acquisition not only expanded UBA’s reach but also presented opportunities to integrate innovative practices and financial solutions, solidifying its position as a leader in the ever-evolving financial sector.

With a presence in New York, London, Paris, and Dubai, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail, commercial and corporate banking, innovative cross-border payments and remittances, trade finance and ancillary banking services.

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Beyond geographical expansion, UBA has consistently championed technological advancements to enhance its service offerings and cater to the evolving needs of its customers. In 2018, UBA unveiled LEO, the world’s first virtual banker, a groundbreaking innovation that redefined customer convenience.

LEO allows users to perform a wide range of banking transactions, including sending and receiving money, checking account balances, and paying bills, all from the comfort of their mobile devices.

This commitment to digital transformation extends to UBA’s user-friendly mobile app and online banking platform, ensuring ease of access for its over 25 million customers across its vast network spanning 20 African countries.

The year 2023 proved to be a banner year for UBA financially as well. The bank’s market capitalization surpassed the N1 trillion mark, with the bank being the most profitable and best-performing in Nigeria. The bank’s N1,022,562,698,843 made it the third most capitalised financial institution in Nigeria.

Additionally, UBA launched a landmark $6 billion financing initiative specifically designed to empower Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) across Africa. This ambitious project, undertaken in partnership with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) secretariat, aims to bridge the funding gap for SMEs operating in critical sectors like agro-processing, pharmaceuticals, automotive, transport, and logistics.

Over the next three years, UBA will deploy $6 billion in funding to eligible SMEs, marking a significant commitment signed during the 30th Afreximbank Annual Meeting in Accra, Ghana.

UBA’s comprehensive support package extends beyond just capital. The bank offers $240,000 in financing through working capital and asset finance loans, specifically tailored to equip SMEs with the tools they need to thrive in Africa’s dynamic business environment.

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This initiative aligns perfectly with the vision of Tony Elumelu, the UBA Chairman and a leading voice for entrepreneurship in Africa. As the founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to empowering African entrepreneurs, Elumelu’s personal commitment mirrors UBA’s dedication to fostering a thriving SME landscape.

Mr. Elumelu, who owns a 7.39% stake in UBA, has been instrumental in the bank’s remarkable financial performance. Under his leadership, UBA’s profits increased by 437.8% in the first half of 2023, from N70.34 billion ($94.7 million) in 2022 to N378.23 billion ($512.4 million) in 2023.

UBA has garnered numerous accolades over the years, a testament to its unwavering commitment to excellence. In 2023 alone, UBA was crowned the African Bank of the Year, a prestigious recognition that highlights its continental leadership.

The bank also secured the coveted title of Best SME Bank in multiple African nations, emphasizing its commitment to empowering small and medium-sized enterprises, the backbone of many African economies.