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Banking Sector

UBA wins 2023 Global Finance Best SME Bank, other international awards

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UBA House Marina

Africa’s Global Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has continued to elevate its global standing, coveting several prestigious international awards, signaling the Bank’s continuous contributions to the economic development of Africa.

The recognition of the bank’s outstanding performance reaffirms its status as a leading player in the financial industry with critical financial intermediation, project financing, trade facilitation and advisory in Africa and beyond.

UBA emerged Global Finance’s Best SME Bank for 2023 in Nigeria, Ghana, and Mozambique, awards that spotlight the bank’s continuous resolve towards supporting small and medium scale businesses which is the life of any growing economy.

Also, the bank, with presence in 20 African countries won the 2023 FMDQ Gold Awards in three key categories of Money Market Liquidity Provider; FX Market Liquidity Provider and Dealing Member of the Year, while UBA was also named as Global Finance’s Safest Bank in Senegal 2023.

Responding to the FMDQ Group Awards, the Group Chairman, Mr. Tony O. Elumelu (CFR) said “this recognition is a testament to UBA’s impressive capital strength and capacity to provide liquidity to African financial markets even in the face of harsh economic realities, our market knowledge, dedication to customer services and the trust of our clients.”

UBA Ghana clinched the World Business Outlook Awards for 2023 as the Best Banking Services Provider Ghana 2023; Leading Financial Services Institutions Ghana 2023 and the Banking CEO of the Year Ghana 2023 which was won by Mr. Chris Ofikulu, the then CEO of UBA Ghana.

Earlier, the financial institution was highly celebrated as it clinched nine prestigious awards including the highly coveted Bank of the Year Africa 2023 at The Bankers Awards 2023, organised by The Banker Magazine – a publication of Financial Times of London, the world’s leading business newspaper.

UBA’s subsidiaries in eight countries including: Cameroon, Chad, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania, underscoring the bank’s dominance and impact across diverse African markets.

Group Managing Director, Oliver Alawuba, who received the awards on behalf of the bank, expressed his gratitude and excitement, and said the recognitions come as a reassurance that the bank is on track in its goal at consolidating its leadership position in Africa, as it continues to create superior value for its stakeholders.

“UBA is honoured to be named the Bank of the Year in these eight countries and to receive the overall Award for Africa. This accomplishment is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and innovative spirit of the entire UBA team. We remain committed to delivering top-notch banking services that positively impact the lives of our customers across the continent,” Alawuba added.

Speaking about consistent excellence in the financial services sector across the continent which has earned the bank great accolades overtime, Editor of the Banker, Joy Macknight, noted that UBA remains a clear winner across a wide range of criteria, having performed impressively across its footprint with a strong financial performance across most of its markets.

“In a year of strong competition among the continent’s major banking groups, UBA has gained the edge on its rivals to win the Bank of the Year award for Africa for the third time in five years. Congratulations. The award recognises the bank’s strength across Africa, including many of its most competitive markets,” Macknight stated.

UBA recently joined companies with N1trillion capitalization having seen its shares grew by over 260% since the beginning of 2023. The N1trillion mark comes amidst the bank’s share being named as the highest performing stock in the banking sector in 2023, which underscores the bank’s robust growth trajectory and unwavering market confidence.

UBA provides banking services to more than 25 million customers across 1,000 business offices and customer touch points in 20 African countries. With 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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Banking Sector

Tinubu Aide Urges CBN Governor to Consider Political Impact of Economic Reforms

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)

Tunde Rahman, a senior aide to Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, has said Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Olayemi Cardoso must start factoring in the political effects of CBN’s decisions.

In his piece, titled “Navigating the Dilemma: Political Considerations in Economic Reforms,” sheds light on the complexities facing Cardoso as he seeks to stabilize Nigeria’s economy.

Rahman’s commentary shared through the Presidency’s official channels, acknowledged the challenges Cardoso confronts, particularly regarding the country’s currency devaluation and the contentious plan to relocate CBN staff from Abuja.

While Rahman refrained from direct criticism of Cardoso’s policies since his appointment by Tinubu, he underscored the necessity for the CBN governor to strike a delicate balance between economic imperatives and political sensitivities.

The upcoming meeting of the monetary policy committee presents a pivotal juncture for Cardoso, where discussions are expected to revolve around potential interest rate hikes to counter inflation and bolster the national currency.

Rahman’s insights underscore the high stakes involved in these decisions, especially given the public outcry over soaring living costs and inflation rates nearing three-decade highs.

Cardoso’s commitment to orthodox central banking, following a period marked by blurred monetary and fiscal policy lines, reflects his determination to navigate Nigeria’s economic landscape with prudence.

Nonetheless, Rahman’s op-ed serves as a reminder of the intricate interplay between economic reforms and political realities, urging Cardoso to exercise flexibility in policymaking, especially in matters with broader political implications.

As Nigeria grapples with economic challenges, the spotlight remains firmly fixed on Cardoso and the CBN’s response to the nation’s evolving financial landscape.

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Banking Sector

CBN’s New Foreign Currency Gateway Bank Raises Concerns Over Nigerian Banks’ Liquidity: Fitch Ratings

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s announcement of a new Foreign Currency Gateway Bank has stirred concerns over the liquidity of Nigerian banks, according to recent commentary from credit rating agency Fitch Ratings.

The proposed bank, designed to centralize correspondent banking activities, has prompted Fitch to issue cautionary remarks regarding its potential impact on the banking sector’s foreign currency (FC) liquidity.

Governor of the CBN, Dr. Olayemi Cardoso, unveiled plans for the Foreign Currency Gateway Bank to streamline and centralize correspondent banking functions, currently dominated by two major banks.

The initiative is part of the CBN’s efforts to address Nigeria’s persistent forex crisis.

Fitch Ratings expressed apprehension, highlighting the potential negative effects on the banking sector’s FC liquidity.

The agency noted that the centralization of correspondent banking activities, coupled with recent measures by the CBN, might exacerbate liquidity challenges for Nigerian banks.

Furthermore, Fitch cautioned that the recent devaluation of the naira, coupled with the CBN’s circular prohibiting banks from holding net long foreign currency positions, could further strain FC liquidity.

The prohibition on net long FC positions may leave banks more vulnerable to naira depreciation, potentially affecting their capital positions.

The CBN’s move to harmonize different segments of the foreign currency market last June led to significant naira devaluation, with the local currency closing at 899/$ at the official market by the end of last year.

As of February 13, the naira experienced a second devaluation, reaching 1,516/$, marking a 40% devaluation.

While the shift away from a managed exchange rate regime aims to attract capital inflows and mitigate forex shortages, it poses short-term risks such as heightened inflation and potential strains on loan quality and capital adequacy within the banking sector, as highlighted by Fitch Ratings.

As discussions continue, stakeholders closely monitor the implications of the proposed Foreign Currency Gateway Bank on Nigeria’s financial landscape.

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Banking Sector

CBN Mandates Automated Transaction Monitoring to Combat Fraud in Nigeria

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has introduced new regulations mandating banks to implement automated transaction monitoring systems to combat the growing threat of fraud in the country’s financial sector.

Under the CBN’s latest ‘Consumer Protection Regulations’ draft, banks are required to adopt advanced measures to protect customers’ assets and prevent fraudulent activities.

These measures include multi-variant customer identification, multifactor authentication mechanisms for transactions, automated transaction monitoring, alert functions, and behavioral monitoring.

The move comes amid a significant rise in fraud cases across Nigeria, with the first half of 2023 witnessing 24,232 reported fraud cases totaling N12.33 billion.

The banking industry has seen 110 executives and junior staff members dismissed due to fraud-related offenses amounting to N82 billion over the past two years.

According to the CBN, sensitizing customers on fraud threats or scams and providing secure and simple user interfaces for digital financial services are crucial steps to minimize the risk of fraudulent activities.

The regulations emphasize the importance of continuous efforts to enhance cybersecurity and protect consumers in an increasingly digital financial landscape.

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