Pan African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc held its first-ever virtual Annual General Meeting by proxy since it began operations 71 years ago, by Proxy on Wednesday, April 29.
The meeting which had in attendance shareholders, management and staff members and representatives of key regulatory bodies, was held virtually via an Online Meetings Platform in line with Guidelines issued by the Corporate Affairs Commission.
Shareholders at the meeting commended the board of directors and management of UBA for the proactive role that the Bank has been playing in helping to lessen the negative effects of the Coronavirus pandemic across the African continent.
UBA Shareholder and President of Association for the Advancement of the Rights of Nigeria Shareholders, Dr Umar Farouk, who spoke at the meeting, applauded the Bank for the contribution of N5bn (USD14 million)to the fight against Covid19, adding that the move was unprecedented and will certainly go a long way to support governments as they work hard to tame the scourge. He also hailed the 20% increase in dividends that the Bank proposed to pay to shareholders.
He said: “I am also happy that you fulfilled the promise you made at the AGM last year to pay dividends in Naira and not kobo, by paying N1 per 50 kobo shares to shareholders in this difficult economy. We have seen the first-quarter results, and we are happy about the performance of our subsidiaries across Africa.”
Also speaking, the president of Pacesetters Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Alex Adio stated how impressed he was at how the Bank’s indices were looking up, despite challenging times. “This shows that we are making good use of the technology we have invested in, over the years. UBA has done very well and we commend the management and staff and hope that you will keep the flag flying,” he said.
On his part, the national coordinator emeritus, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Sir Sunny Nwosu, who lauded the initiative of the Bank to conduct the meeting virtually, advised the Bank on steps to ensure that more activities are carried out by customers without the need to visit the banking halls.
“I know UBA is a bank that is interested in the welfare of both its staff and customers, which is why I would like to be assured that measures towards improving electronic banking are fully activated, so that customers who will not want to come out to banking halls, can make use of ATMs and PoS, without issues. Also, we want to be assured on the level of our exposures to the oil and gas sectors especially in view of the challenges that the oil sector is faced with,” Nwosu said.
Speaking on how UBA has reacted effectively during the pandemic, the GMD Kennedy Uzoka said: “As you know, UBA is a learning organisation, we are not a Nigerian bank, but a pan-African Bank operating in 20 African countries and also in the UK, the USA and France. We are governed by different regulations and standards. When we learnt about this pandemic, we immediately activated our business continuity plan. All the investments we have made over the years in the area of technology will begin to yield now, because already we have continued to meet the needs of customers in terms of digital patronage, owing to the growing traffic we have been receiving in the past few weeks. We are well prepared for all situations,” Uzoka assured.
While expressing hope that a vaccine is found for the coronavirus, Uzoka disclosed that UBA will continually do business in a way to ensure that customers do not have to physically be in the bank. “We are set to take our business to the customers wherever they are and however they want it,” he said.
UBA Group chairman, Tony O. Elumelu who chaired the meeting expressed the bank’s appreciation to all the health workers who have been at the forefront of fighting the deadly pandemic and also commended the Federal and State governments in Nigeria and the various governments across Africa. He acknowledged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for their cumulative efforts in mobilising the private sector to provide support, medical care and palliatives to reduce the effect of the scourge on citizens.
Elumelu said: “I want to thank the UBA Board of Directors who have been responsive in this time of crisis, as the bank donated $14m to assist governments to fight the COVID-19 Pandemic in Nigeria and Africa. As I have always said, our commitment to improving lives in Africa is a long-term one which we do not take lightly, as we support governments in Africa to curb this pandemic and help to sustain employment across the continent.”
He commended the executive management of the bank as well as all the members of staff as he assured shareholders, that despite the pandemic, UBA, turned in an impressive performance in its just-released first-quarter results and he also noted that the bank is on course to remain on top of the situation has put in place effective measures to ensure that shareholders do not suffer losses on their investments. He stated that the bank’s exposure to oil and gas was well within the proper ratio.
United Bank for Africa Plc is a leading Pan-African financial institution, offering banking services to more than eighteen (18) million customers, across 1,000 business offices and customer touchpoints in 20 African countries. With presence in New York, London and Paris, 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.