UBA's continuous focus on corporate governance deepens operational activities

Pan African financial institution, UBA Plc is showing leadership in corporate governance and receiving recognition from both local and international organizations. The bank recently received the Corporate Citizens Award in the ‘Extensive Compliance Category at the maiden edition of the Corporate Citizens Awards  organised by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, Nigeria on May 18, 2015.
Some UBA Board Members at the recent AGM: (left to Right) Emeke Iweriebor, Rose Okwechime, Jafaru Paki, Joe Keshi, Kola Jamodu, Phillips Oduoza (GMD), Tony Elumelu (Chairman), Foluke Abdulrasaq,  Adekunle Olumide,  Samuel Oni, Onari Duke, Dan Okeke and Yahaya Zekeri.

The Corporate Citizens Award is open to all registered companies in Nigeria and seeks to promote the culture of good corporate governance in the Nigerian environment by recognizing corporate citizens that have conducted their affairs in compliance with statutory requirements and best practices.
Specifically, the independent panel of judges under the Chairmanship of Dr. Christopher Kolade, former Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, looked at financial management, work place environment, management of stakeholder relations, innovation, corporate social responsibility, industry leadership as well as corporate governance to select winners.  From over 800 companies that were considered, 26 companies including UBA made the final list; while UBA was one of the 9 winners that eventually emerged.
UBA’s GMD/CEO, Phillips Oduoza, who welcomed the recognition to the bank, said the award reaffirms the bank’s commitment to best practices in the way it does its business across the continent. He said, “We operate in multi-jurisdiction, given that we have presence in 19 African countries and three international financial centres; London, New York and Paris. We are thus committed to higher standards in regulatory compliance in the interest of our stakeholders   and customers.”
Recently, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, became one of the few companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to sign onto the Convention for Business Integrity (CBi) by publicly accepting to abide by the CBi’s Code of Business Integrity, which defines the minimum code for business integrity in Nigeria.. 
A key objective of CBi is to provide an alternative and show that there are other ways of behaving and doing business without engaging in unwholesome practices. Though the commitment to CBi is voluntary, however to show their pledge to the Convention, signatories enter into a purely moral commitment with the intent of benefiting from and upholding the platform of credibility which the members of the Convention share. 
“As one of Africa’s largest financial institutions, it is hugely important that we do business in a way that does not put at risk the trust of our more than eight million customers and other stakeholders” said Oduoza.
As a member of the CBi, UBA has continued to show its commitment towards developing a strong corporate governance culture. It became one of the few banks, late in 2014, to voluntarily subject itself to the pilot phase of the Corporate Governance Rating System (CGRS) developed by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in partnership with CBi.
The CGRS is used to rank all listed companies on the Exchange, based on their corporate governance practices. The CGRS evaluates companies based on the quality of their corporate integrity, corporate compliance, and understanding of fiduciary responsibilities by their directors and their corporate reputation. Executive and Non-Executive Directors from UBA participated and passed the fiduciary awareness test aspect of the CGRS evaluation confirming their high level of understanding of their responsibilities to all the bank’s stakeholders.
After the introduction of the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles (NSBPs) by the Bankers Committee, UBA was one of the first banks to adopt these principles. In doing this, UBA expressed its committment to promoting sustainable banking and  building a more sustainable Bank that will continue to meet its responsibility to the society by managing its direct and indirect operational impact, as it contributes towards sustainable and responsible growth.
To walk the talk on sustainability issues, UBA appointed Group Environmental Risk Managers to serve as the forerunners in guiding and implementing sustainable principles in the following units: Agricultural Finance, Credit Control, Operational Risk, Project Finance, Public Sector, Financial Institution and Corporate Lending. This was done in line with the principles.
The bank also introduced the Social and Environmental Impact Assessment Questionnaire for all credit customers, especially in the Oil and Gas, Construction, Energy and Power, Agricultural and Manufacturing sectors. Credit customers’ response to these questions are analysed and fed into the credit decision process to determine if the bank would go through with a transaction.
The bank has also taken active steps to reduce its carbon footprint arising from its operations and to reduce power use in its offices, the bank enforces mandatory closing times for non-critical activities in all business offices as well as at the Head Office. Also the use of central air conditioning system at the Head Office building is restricted to certain times, during weekdays and at the weekend. 
UBA is also making efforts to deliberately reduce the use of paper in its day to day operations by encouraging the use of e-mails, workflows, portals and other e-channels as work tools for members of staff.Information to customers are sent electronically via text, phone calls and e-mails. Bank statements, for example, are sent via e-mails, except where hard copies are specifically requested by the customer.
Customers are also encouraged to use the bank’s highly efficient and friendly e-channel products, such as the improved U-direct, U-Mobile, U-Social and Twitter Notification, all of which aim at reducing the use of paper in business operations.
Through UBA Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the bank, UBA also invests in the communities in which it operates. UBA Foundation intervenes through its focus areas; education, environment and economic empowerment to create sustainable livelihoods for members of the communities in which it operates.
Some of UBA Foundations programmes include an annual national essay competition for secondary students which took place in Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana in 2014.  The bank also organizes an annual prostate awareness campaign including sponsorships of capacity building programmes and projects for individuals and institutions on the continent.
Recently, at the bank’s Annual General Meeting in April 2015, Tony Elumelu, Chairman, UBA Board of Directors reassured shareholders that the bank will continue to strengthen its risk management and corporate governance capabilities to ensure effective mitigation of existing and emerging risk factors in its global operations.
The reassurance underscores the bank’s commitment to becoming a role model in best practices in corporate governance and sustainable banking

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