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Thursday, December 1, 2022

UBA only African bank with deposit-taking license in US

The United Bank for Africa (UBA) has been recognized as the United States of America’s sole African bank with a deposit-taking license (USA). 

Tony O. Elumelu, Chairman, United Bank for Africa (UBA) and Heirs Holdings Limited, said the bank was able to scale the most stringent regulatory requirements of the US financial services regulators while speaking at the Jamaican Stock Exchange’s 17th regional investments and capital markets conference. 

UBA has offices in 20 African nations, as well as New York, Paris, London, Grand Cayman Island, and, most recently, Dubai. 

The Nigerian financial sector, according to the UBA chairman, was not what it is now when he began his own business adventure many years ago.  

“We had over a hundred banks all striving for dominance in a regulatory environment that wasn’t as specialized as it is now,” he continued. 

“I took a troubled bank and put forth three big and daring strategic objectives in our turnaround approach right away.” 

“Because we were a troubled bank at the time, our primary goal was to become financially sustainable.” Our second goal was to become one of Nigeria’s top ten banks, and we set deadlines to accomplish this. 

“Number three – and then to be one of Nigeria’s top three banks. Our efforts, actions, and successes were shaped by these strategic intentions. We were daring yet disciplined, I dare say.”  

“We have a client base of over 25 million customers and counting around the globe,” Elumelu said. 

“We haven’t been in the Caribbean yet, but this is something we’ll look into when I visit Jamaica with the CEO of our UBA Americas business.” 

Elumelu, on the other hand, said he plans to visit Jamaica in the first quarter of 2022 to meet with Prime Minister Andrew Holness and others to discuss how “we can further accelerate cooperation between Africa, the Caribbean, and the black diaspora, because we share so much, in terms of history and opportunity.” 

Elumelu has traveled extensively over the world and has noticed the importance of teamwork in achieving goals and objectives.  

He said that the capital market is capitalism’s motor and that a well-regulated, responsible capital market benefits an economy. 

It has the potential to democratize wealth and maintain prosperity if properly managed, he claims. While acknowledging the government’s role in creating an enabling climate, Elumelu further mentioned that private sector development leads to wealth creation for everyone, and that this wealth creation benefits everyone. 

“This is what I call Africapitalism in what I do.” Africapitalism sees the private sector, particularly entrepreneurs, as a catalyst for the continent’s social and economic growth.  

“It is for this reason that we must applaud Dr. Forrest-Street and her colleagues for their outstanding efforts in enhancing the prominence of the Jamaican Stock Exchange.” They’ve helped over 80 firms raise cash through the Exchange, and its stock market is worth more than USD16 billion. They’ve aided the growth of entrepreneurs and their businesses.  

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