July 31 (THEWILL) – Mr. Kennedy Uzoka turns six this week, August 1, 2022, in the exalted position of Managing Director/Group Managing Director (GMD/CEO) of the African World Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc.
When UBA Chairman Mr. Tony Elumelu ‘unveiled’ Mr. Uzoka as GMD/CEO Designate at the bank’s 54th Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Friday, April 8, 2016, the atmosphere in the vast event hall of Eko Hotels & Suits, Victoria Island, Lagos, burst into visible ecstasy. The happy shareholders responded in a thunderous unison that could be mistaken for excited school kids being offered a bunch of free chocolates: “Yeah! Kennedy we love you…we love you…!”
It was contagious joy. Shareholders had applauded the bank’s board and management for an impressive performance the previous year. They had also approved the recommendation of the board of directors to pay a final dividend of 40 kobo per share after paying an interim dividend of 20 kobo in September 2015, bringing the total dividend paid for its 2015 financial year to 60 kobo per share. stock.
Speaking on behalf of the shareholders, the Chairman of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Sir Sunny Nwosu, expressed his gratitude to the board and management of the bank for the growth in profits and the increase in dividend payments at a time when many other banks were recording lower profits and had to cut dividends.
He said; “This dividend payment strengthens the Bank’s resilience in a difficult operating environment; it also shows the quality of the bank’s management”. He added, “Kennedy, we welcome you as GMD/CEO effective August 1, following Mr. Phillips Oduoza, who is holding his final AGM with us today. We’ve been with you all these years and we know you have the ability to deliver. Nwosu was not wrong.
Uzoka, then DMD of the bank’s Africa operations group, had assured shareholders that UBA’s African subsidiaries were going from strength to strength and that the group aimed to increase Africa’s contribution to the group’s profits to more than 25% in 2016 compared to 24% in 2015. , without calling into question the positive outlook for Nigeria, where he predicted positive growth. He was both prophetic and realistic. The applause from the shareholders was more thunderous. But what would the future hold for Kennedy, who assumed the difficult position of leading the African World Bank, then in its 67th year, before two critical moments – two recessions in 2016 and 2020 coupled with the ruinous effects of COVID-19.
Uzoka’s six years as GMD/CEO of United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc leave indelible marks of high-end leadership by a young man who studied mechanical engineering and then chose to ‘design’ cars. ‘silver. He has shown his ability to apply elasticity, plasticity, ductility… to create and multiply wealth in an organized way. And the numbers are there.
The bank’s gross revenue jumped 71.6 percent from N383.64 billion in 2016 to N658.29 billion in 2021, according to data from Tier-1 Bank’s annual reports. Profit before tax increased to N153.07 billion from N90.64 or 68.9%, while profit after tax jumped 64.3% to N118.67 billion in 2021 from 72, 26 naira in 2016.
Loans and advances to customers increased significantly under Mr. Uzoka’s leadership from N1.5 trillion when he took office to N2.68 trillion, an increase of 78.7%; while customer deposits, a measure of growth in confidence in the bank’s service and performance, jumped 156.5% to 6.36 trillion naira in 2021 from 2.48 trillion naira in 2016.
Total revenue from external operations (subsidiaries) in Africa and the rest of the world increased by 135% from N159.42 billion in 2016 to N374.69 billion in 2021. increased from 30 to 64.59 billion naira. 46 billion over the period, an increase of 112% which confirms the brilliant performance of Uzoka as DMD in charge of the African subsidiaries.
These figures speak to the strength of the bank with strong assets which jumped 144% to 8.54 trillion naira in 2021 from 3.50 trillion naira in 2016, reflecting the bank’s remarkable earnings per share performance, which increased to 3.39 naira from 2 naira. 0.04 – a jump of 66.2%.
Plethora of rewards
Uzoka’s mandate is a harvest of rewards, prizes and recognitions for the bank and for himself. He became the winner of the “Finovator of the Year” award for 2021, organized by the Finnovex West Africa Awards 2021 and co-located with the Finnovex West Africa Virtual Summit. UBA was also named the winner of the “Excellence in Digital Banking” award at the same event.
Finnovex is the leading financial services innovation and excellence summit series that examines the future of financial services and how disruptive innovations are reshaping the way they are structured, provisioned and consumed.
Delivering the awards during the virtual event, Ancy Antony, Conference Manager, Finnovex West Africa Awards 2021 said, “It is our greatest pleasure to honor the pioneers and visionaries who have transformed the financial services industry and present this award to you. Ancy said the Finnovex Awards cherish and celebrate outstanding achievement in the banking and finance industry, adding that the award aims to honor organizations and individuals who have consistently demonstrated exemplary performance.
UBA reaffirmed its leadership position across Africa, as it was recognized globally as the African Bank of the Year 2021 by the prestigious Banker Magazine, a leading global financial news publication published by the Financial Times. from London.
Organizers explained that UBA’s strong financial performance, excellent service delivery to clients and continued role in facilitating rapid economic growth across the African continent were some of the reasons that led the bank to be named best bank in 12 of its African subsidiaries and in Nigeria:
UBA Nigeria Plc, UBA Benin UBA Burkina Faso UBA Cameroon, UBA Chad, UBA Congo Brazzaville, UBA Ivory Coast, UBA Gabon, UBA Guinea, UBA Liberia, UBA Senegal, UBA Sierra Leone and UBA Zambia all ranked among the top banks in their respective countries.
In 2020, six of its subsidiaries in Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Chad, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Zambia won the Best Bank award. UBA Group, in 2021, broke a record with its outstanding wins as African Bank of the Year and Bank of the Year in 13 countries. “The total of 14 awards makes this the first time in The Banker’s nearly 100-year history that a banking group will take home as many as 14 wins in a single year,” the announcement read.
The bank’s digital transformation continued unabated during the year, with the continued rollout and adoption of its new UBA Mobile and Redd apps, as well as its Leo and UBA Connect chatbot services. These have been complemented by innovative services in individual markets, such as the UBA Sharp-Sharp low-income account service offered in Sierra Leone, which can be opened with a deposit of just 10,000 leones (0 $.91).
Uzoka’s management is leveraging technology to improve the bank’s consumer lending operations, among other business areas. In a lending webinar held last year on the theme: “Boosting Nigeria’s Economic Growth and Impacting People’s Lives”, the bank gave an overview of the approach it uses to address current challenges in the consumer lending space.
Digitization of lending is one of the plans the bank is adopting to develop this sub-sector. Others include expanding to customers of other banks, leveraging the power of the ecosystem that has to do with fintech partnerships and convenient, user-friendly products. The bank said it has created a data warehouse that allows it to profile a customer and know exactly what is going on in their business.
“Uzoka is a ‘bulldozer’. The bank has seen phenomenal growth in all aspects since he came on board as GMD/CEO. Bank customers and shareholders are satisfied. The way he has run the affairs of the bank during the COVID-19 period is commendable,” a senior bank employee who would not like his name disclosed told THEWILL last week.
The National Chairman of the Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Mr. Boniface Okezie, congratulated Uzoka on his impressive performance since his appointment six years ago. “Mr. Kennedy Uzoka has done very well as GMD UBA in all aspects. Dividend payout has improved significantly. Service delivery has also improved significantly unlike other companies whose shares have I hope the board allows him to continue and finish the good work he started,” he told THEWILL in a note.
The National Chairman of the Trusted Shareholders Association of Nigeria (TSAN), Alhaji Mukhtar Mukhtar, described Uzoka as a colossal personality and a master of the craft, under whose guidance he has made tremendous strides. He noted that Uzoka’s management has expanded and strengthened the bank’s offshore locations with the recent inauguration of the Dubai branch in the United Arab Emirates.
He said: “We really love this man for his commitment, his dedication and his vision for a bigger, efficient and strong UBA and he has always put a smile on the faces of investors at their banks. In fact, he is the best for UBA. We all love and appreciate him for the excellence of his accomplishments and the value he has continued to create for investors. Kennedy is a silent achiever who achieves set goals without unnecessary media noise.