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UBA’s has more than 65 years of providing uninterrupted banking operations dating back to 1948 when the British and French Bank Limited (“BFB”) commenced business in Nigeria. BFB was a subsidiary of Banque Nationale de Crédit (BNCI), Paris, which transformed its London branch into a separate subsidiary called the British and French Bank, with shares held by Banque Nationale de Crédit and two British investment firms, S.G. Warburg and Company and Robert Benson and Company. A year later, BFB opened its offices in Nigeria to break the monopoly of the two existing British owned banks in Nigeria then.
Following Nigeria’s independence from Britain, UBA was incorporated on 23, February 1961 to take over the business of BFB. UBA eventually listed its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), in 1970 and became the first Nigerian bank to subsequently undertake an Initial Public Offering (IPO). UBA became the first sub-Saharan bank to take its banking business to North America when it opened its New York Office (USA) in 1984 to offer banking services to Africans in Diaspora.
Today’s UBA emerged from the merger of then dynamic and fast growing Standard Trust Bank, incorporated in 1990 and UBA, one of the biggest and oldest banks in Nigeria. The merger was consummated on August 1, 2005, one of the biggest mergers done on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Following the merger, UBA subsequently went ahead to acquire Continental Trust Bank in the same year, further expanding the UBA brand. UBA subsequently acquired Trade Bank in 2006 which was under liquidation by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
UBA had another successful combined public offering and rights issue in 2007 and made further banking acquisitions of three liquidated banks namely: City Express Bank, Metropolitan bank, and African Express Bank. The bank also acquired Afrinvest UK, rebranding it UBA Capital, UK.
The quest to build a strong domestic and African brand intensified in 2008 when UBA made further acquisitions of two liquidated banks, Gulf Bank and Liberty Bank while at the same time intensifying its African footprint with the establishment of UBA Cameroon, UBA Cote d Ivoire, UBA Uganda, UBA Sierra Leone, and UBA Liberia as well as the acquisition of a 51% interest in Banque Internationale du Burkina Faso, which was the largest bank in the country with 40% market share. Currently, UBA has 18 African subsidiaries contributing about 20% of the Group’s balance sheet with a target of contributing 50%.
On 13 December 2012, the shareholders of UBA Plc unanimously voted for the bank to restructure into a Monoline Commercial Banking Model in order for it to fully comply with the new CBN guidelines for commercial banks in Nigeria, which repealed the erstwhile universal banking regime.
With the restructuring, the Group’s non-commercial banking subsidiaries with the exception of Africa Prudential Registrars Plc and Afriland Properties Plc were consolidated under UBA Capital Plc and spun-off to shareholders of the Bank. The Bank’s excess real estate assets were used to capitalise Afriland Properties Plc, which was then spun-off, along with Africa Prudential Registrars Plc, to be held directly by the Bank’s shareholders.
Along with UBA Plc, the result of the restructuring is three stand-alone entities held directly by the Bank’s shareholders – UBA Capital Plc and Africa Prudential Registrars Plc, which are already listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, as well as Afriland Properties Plc, now controlled by independent shareholders.
Under the Monoline business structure, UBA Plc remains the parent company for all of the Group’s commercial banking activities in Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world. UBA Plc is also the parent company for UBA Pension Custodian Limited, UBA Capital (UK) and UBA FX Mart Limited.
Now fully positioned as a pan-African bank, the UBA Group is firmly in the forefront of driving the renaissance of the African economy and is well positioned as a one-stop financial services institution, with growing reputation as the face of banking on the continent.