MD says their vision is to be undisputed financial service institution in Africa
February 22, 2018 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UBA Sierra Leone, Chinedu Obeta, has noted that their vision is to be the undisputed, leading and dominant financial service institution in Africa.
“Our vision is to be the undisputed, leading and dominant financial service institution in Africa. Our strategic intent is to be agent for driving financial inclusion in Sierra Leone, actively participating in the government development agendas by supporting projects in key growth sectors and their value chain, providing a unique pan-African banking platform to facilitate growth of regional trade and contributing to the economic growth of Sierra Leone,” he said.
CEO Obeta speaking Wednesday, February 21st, at the official commissioning of the 18th branch of the bank at Lumley in Freetown, where he said UBA Sierra Leone is a subsidiary of UBA PLC and that the bank is one of the largest financial services institutions in sub-Saharan Africa, with presence in 19 African countries.
He disclosed that by next month the bank would start operations in Mali, a development he said would increase their subsidiaries in Africa to 20, adding that UBA is the only sub-Saharan African Bank with presence in New York, United Kingdom and Paris.
He said UBA Sierra Leone commenced operations on 21st July 2008 – from a one office location to a full-fledged commercial bank – and that today they have eight branches across the country, including Makeni in the northern region and Bo in southern Sierra Leone.
Mr. Obeta said the introduction of the Lumley Branch could not be over-emphasised, considering the fact that Lumley is fast becoming a hot economic hub in the Western Area of the Freetown Municipality.
He reveals that UBA Sierra Leone offers various exciting financial services – products that meet the needs of players in all sectors of the economy – and disclosed that the bank has a clientele base of over 55,000.
He furthered that the bank is among pioneer banks that introduced ATM and Point of Sale Terminals (POS) in the country, adding that they have deployed 20 ATMs and 104 POS across the country, including at all major hotels, supermarkets and restaurants in the country.
He continued that UBA is also one of the pioneer banks that introduced Visa and Master Debit and prepaid cards in the country, adding that those products have made it possible for their customers to spend Leones in any part of the world via any visa enabled platform.
The CEO said that they have over 35,000 active Visa and MasterCard users – the highest deployed by any commercial banks in the country – and that the UBA is among the top banks that is digitally promoting financial inclusion in the country.
He continued that they have continuously been giving back to communities through their various initiatives, revealing that they donated the sum of US$300,000 to the country during the Ebola outbreak and also donated US$500,000 during the mudslide and flooding disaster.
He disclosed that UBA has paid over Le40 billion as tax and that the bank is one of the companies contributing significantly to the economic growth of Sierra Leone.
Emerica Karefa-Kargbo, Chairperson Board of Directors of UBA, said the opening of the Lumley Branch clearly demonstrates the bank’s continuous commitment as a partner in the economic and financial development of Sierra Leone.
She said the bank employed nearly 124 Sierra Leoneans in all their branches in 2015, paid a total of Le8 billion tax to government, adding that it increased that figure to Le10 billion in 2016.
Nigerian High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, Dr. Habiss Ibrahim Ugbada, said it was a great pleasure for him to have witnessed the ceremony marking the opening of a new UBA branch in Freetown.
Dr. Ugbada noted that UBA has been doing very well in Sierra Leone and that the opening of their eighth branch in the country was not enough as the metropolitan population of Sierra Leone continues to soar.
He called on the bank to ensure the bank is present in all districts in Sierra Leone, adding that the bank is one of the best financial institutions in Africa, performing well anywhere they are established.
Also speaking, Anglophone Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Oliver Alawuba, paid tribute to the government and people of Sierra Leone for their support to the bank’s operation in the country.
Mr. Alawuba said they have various banking platforms, including ATM, online banking, POS, adding that they would soon launch their mobile application that would make banking easier for customers.
Reading a statement on behalf of the Central Bank Governor Dr. Patrick S. Conteh, Director of Banking at the Bank of Sierra Leone, Jibao M. Flee, congratulated UBA for the progress they have made in expanding their footprint in the Sierra Leonean banking market.
He said Sierra Leone currently has 14 commercial banks in operation, compared to only five by the end of 2000, and that in less than two decades ten new commercial banks entered the market, including UBA.
He said before 2000, the banking market was dominated by a relatively small number of banks and that competition was not very vigorous, with access to banking services very limited for the majority of the Sierra Leonean population.