UNION Bank will divest its non-banking subsidiaries within the next 18 months in compliance with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s, regulations separating business and retail banking. The CBN had, three years ago, stopped issuing universal banking licences and enforced new minimum capital requirements for banks in a bid to avoid a repeat of the 2009 near collapse of several lenders which almost affected them. Union Bank scaled a recapitalisation hurdle after the central bank propped it up by giving it a $750m cash injection by a group of investors to keep it afloat.
Emeka Emuwa, chief executive officer, CEO, of Union Bank, said that following the CBN approval, the bank would proceed to divest its interest in non-banking and portfolio companies and also operate as an international commercial bank. He said the bank had 18 months to implement the divestment. Kandolo Kasongo, Union’s chief risk officer, said the post-divestment structure would reduce the overall risk profile of the bank, while increasing the protection of depositors’ funds, adding that the sale proceeds would be used to boost its balance sheet.
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, CBN governor, had earlier inaugurated a historic $4bn bailout of nine banks shortly after assumption of office in 2009, pledging to reform the industry and get credit flowing to the productive real sector and small businesses. He said his primary objective was to ensure that banks were effectively supervised to ensure the safety of depositors’ funds by prohibiting them from speculative capital market activities.
Honour to UBA’s Top Performing Staff
THE United Bank for Africa Plc, UBA, held its most valuable performers’ recognition award ceremony on October 28, at the Lagos head office. It was designed to motivate and encourage individual staff member’s performances towards the attainment of the bank’s corporate goals and business targets. The bank said the programme was part of its plan to create a best-in-class work environment for its employees.
Philips Oduoza, group managing director/CEO, UBA, said a total of 120 best performing staff members were honoured at the decoration ceremony. He said that the most valuable professional, MVP, programme was one of the career management initiatives of the bank geared towards achieving talent attraction, development and retention and described the MVPs as employees that create extraordinary value for the organisation by consistently exceeding expectations.
Oduoza said: “We are honouring today’s MVPs for their exceptional performances and in appreciation of what they have contributed to the growth of the bank. They are top performers and have met the minimum criteria in terms of performance and adherence to the bank’s core values.” He congratulated the MVPs and urged them to wear the special lapel pins with pride even as they enjoy the associated privileges which include, accelerated career development, unrestricted access to company events, cash reward, leadership exchange programmes, cross-country postings as well as the much-coveted UBA citizenship membership.
Ecobank in Ethiopia
ECOBANK Transnational Incorporated has announced the opening of its branch in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This would bring the total number of countries in Sub-Sahara Africa in which Ecobank has presence to 35. A statement by the bank said the banking group obtained a licence to operate a representative office in July 2013.
“Through the Addis Ababa representative office, local Ethiopian banks will be able to access Ecobank’s correspondent banking and trade finance activities across Africa, as well as correspondent banking in Europe via Ecobank’s affiliate in Paris.” Ecobank said it would be marketing the benefits of its pan-African platform to international and non-governmental organisations with operations in Ethiopia and local banks, together with its leading retail product offerings, including Rapid Transfer, the Ecobank regional card and the Ecobank diaspora account.
Thierry Tanoh, Ecobank’s group chief executive officer, CEO, said Ethiopia has emerged as one of Africa’s most exciting new markets and is forecast to be the world’s third fastest growing economy between 2011 and 2015, behind only China and India. “Our Addis Ababa representative office will provide us with an opportunity to establish an important foothold in Ethiopia, ahead of the anticipated deregulation of the banking sector. With continued market reforms and the government’s pro-business agenda, Ethiopia is positioned for sustained rapid growth and the introduction of mobile banking will be a game changer in terms of bringing financial services to Ethiopia’s unbanked population of around 80 million people.”
Compiled by Chinwe Okafor
— Oct. 28, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT