UBA’s continuous focus on corporate governance deepens operational activities

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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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