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Nigeria’s Banking Industry: United Bank for Africa

The United Bank for Africa (UBA) is one of the largest banks on the African continent. It currently provides a variety of financial services to over 14 million people in locations across the world.

Most of its market remains in Nigeria, the country in which it was founded 70 years ago. But it presents itself as a pan-African institution, committed to supporting individuals and businesses on the continent with the products they need to grow.

History

The UBA began operating in 1949 as the British and French Bank Limited. It grew steadily over its first couple of decades, and was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 1970. Fourteen years later, it established its presence in New York, one of the world’s key financial centers.

In 2005, it merged with Standard Trust Bank, which had earlier been acquired by Tony Elumelu, an economist and entrepreneur. A new management team was formed, and the institution began a period of robust growth.

In the decade that followed, UBA extended its presence to several African countries, including Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Congo Brazzaville; it also opened offices in two other global financial cities, London and Paris.

UBA’s internet banking kicked off in the mid-2000s as well. In 2018 it became the first Nigerian financial institution to launch an AI-powered digital banking service. Leo, its banker chatbot, was widely hailed as a revolutionary product. Other banks have since introduced their own AI banking services.

Products

UBA offers regular commercial and enterprise banking products to a diverse customer base. Its array of deposit money accounts forms the foundation of most of its other services, including bank cards, internet banking, SME and corporate loans, and investment management services.

Customers can open and operate bank accounts with UBA from wherever they are, thanks to the institutions’ digital banking options. They can do this by accessing the UBA website or by downloading and using the UBA mobile application. They can also transfer funds from their accounts with dedicated USSD codes.

Small businesses loans, trade financing, and corporate services are available from UBA as well. Large companies involved in industrial scale projects can also get financed for such purposes; a special emphasis on energy corporations exists, but facilities are often extended to businesses in other sectors too.

Customers who want answers to their banking questions can inquire of Leo, UBA’s chatbot. The service is available at every time of the day on Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, and the UBA mobile app. 

The UBA Foundation

The UBA Foundation takes on social responsibility projects for the bank. It’s currently encouraging and supporting the education of young Nigerians, empowering communities with skill acquisition programs, and improving the physical environment in the regions in which it does business. 

Featured image: UBA Logo

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Ikenna Nwachukwu

Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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