United Bank for Africa eye technology to drive customer service

UBA bagged double laurels at BusinessDay Banking Awards
Kennedy Uzoka, GMD, UBA

Kennedy Uzoka, Group Managing Director and CEO of pan-African banking group, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc says the bank is leveraging technology to “increase the depth and understanding of customer preferences and changing needs”  in order to improve customer service offerings across all its service channels.

He disclosed this during an investor conference call held on 31 August 2016 on the bank’s 2016 half year results.

“We want to be in the best position to meet the customer on their utility curve, to ensure that we proactively offer forward-looking products and services that will create unique customer experience as well as beat expectations”, Uzoka said.

He explained that UBA will not only be the first-to-market in new offerings but will also   offer bespoke products to its esteemed customers and serve them in the most efficient manner.

“Our customers deserve nothing but the best. At the heart of the bank’s Customer1st strategy lies our process re-engineering, as we diligently overhaul and streamline our processes towards our desired lean model”

Uzoka said that the bank is already reaping from its process transformation initiatives as it has led to reduction in customer service costs and also freed up human resources to be deployed to other segments of the bank’s business.

“We are confident that our dedication to Customer1st initiatives will not only increase our share of existing customers’ wallet, it will seamlessly create new markets for UBA as customers increasingly become our brand ambassadors” Uzoka explained.

Speaking on the bank’s performance in the second quarter, he said that despite the volatilities experienced in the macroeconomic environment, he was happy to report that UBA delivered 18% annualised return on average equity in the half year.

“This result further underscores our ability to consistently deliver superior return to our shareholders over the long term. We are taking proactive actions that will strengthen our competitive edge and effectively position UBA as the most preferred Pan-African Bank.”

Given some specific figures on the performance of the bank, Uzoka explained that the bank grew non-interest income by 12% to over N52 billion in the first six months of the year.

“This impressive growth in non-funded revenue is better appreciated when put in the perspective of the zero-COT regime which commenced at the beginning of the year. Notwithstanding the challenges of our operating environment, the Group grew half year profit by 3% to over N40 billion; an evidence of our resilient business model” Uzoka said.

He disclosed that UBA grew deposits and loans by 16% and 25% respectively, reflecting the impact of Naira depreciation and increasing penetration of our African business. The bank, he said, also maintained an optimally liquid balance sheet, as it positions its assets to ride the rising interest rate cycle.

“More importantly, we sustained our asset quality with NPL ratio of 2.4% and prudent provisions coverage of 113%. Notwithstanding, the impact of Naira devaluation on risk-weighted assets, the Bank’s BASEL II capital adequacy ratio at 19% remained strong and well above regulatory requirement, with most subsidiaries having capital adequacy ratio in excess of 20%. “

Uzoka also disclosed that the bank’s businesses across Africa have continued to gain traction, growing their deposit base by 30% since the beginning of the year.

“Overall, the African subsidiaries now account for over a quarter of our total deposit base, which is largely made up of low-cost savings and current account deposits. The African business, excluding Nigeria, contributed a quarter of our profit in the period, with a stronger outlook”

He assured that UBA will continue to consolidate its position across its chosen markets, as it penetrates the market through innovative, simple and convenient offerings.

“We will maintain our diligent focus on profitable quality asset creation, as we situate our growth appetite within our prudent risk management culture.

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