New UBA Boss Promises Development Of Media & Country

UBA Bank Newly Appointed CEO, UsmanIsiaka

At a meet the press meeting held last Wednesday at the Brookfields Hotel in Freetown, the newly appointed Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the United Bank For Africa (UBA), Usman Isiaka, officially met with members of the press in a bid to build a better working relationship with that sector. He replaces Chinedu Obeta, the out gone MD/CEO.

During the interactive session, the UBA boss maintained that the UBA-SL has been providing different support to the government of Sierra Leone and will continue to do so when necessary. He added that the UDA-SL is also set to work with the SLAJ administration to improve professionalism.

He further informed journalists that he has come with ideas and solutions to take the UBA – Sierra Leone forward and make it an entity worthy of National and International commendation.

Giving a brief background about the bank, he said that they entered the banking sector of this country at a time when banking in Sierra Leone was being nurtured, adding that the mission of the UBA-SL is to take banking to every corner of the country and also to create the necessary space for ordinary Sierra Leoneans to see the need and importance of opening accounts with the bank.

He commended the government for creating the conducive atmosphere for the UBA-SL and other commercial private banks to operate. He maintained that he is determined to work well with the government in all spheres of financial management and social development, like his predecessor had done. He promised to ensure that the country develops in both social and financial sectors.

He urged the media to continue to embrace the UBA-SL as they did with his predecessor, stressing that he is a media-friendly person and will do all he can to develop the media. He reminded journalists about the remarkable role they play in every society, adding that this makes the media not only noble but an institution worth its salt. He mentioned that in the not-too-distant-future he will work in collaboration with the Independent Media Commission in the area of enhancing and improving not only the work of the IMC but the professionalism of journalists, which will include an award of Excellence for the Media. This, he went on, will go a long way to encourage media professionals to do more in their work.

Giving a brief background of his experience in the banking sector, the new MD/CEO has served the bank for 10 years with sterling performance, and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), a consummate banker with over two decades banking experience at senior management level, cutting across Internal Control, Audit, Compliance, Risk Management, Operations, Marketing and Business Development functions. He joined UBA Group in year 2000 and has since served in various roles; starting with Internal Control and Audit functions as Group Head, Internal Control; Director, Audit & Control UBA Africa and Deputy Group Chief Inspector at different points in time – a responsibility that provided him field work experience across 21 out of the 23 countries of UBA Group presence, before moving into sales and marketing function in January 2014.

Since the switch, Usman served as the Deputy Managing Director of UBA Ghana between January 2014 and May 2016; Regional Bank Head in Lagos (Nigeria), overseeing marketing and business development functions in a total of 56 branches between June 2016 and February 2018 and thereafter as MD/CEO of UBA Tanzania from March 2018, before his posting to UBA Sierra Leone as Country CEO. Usman Isiaka is coming with a wealth of experience to continue to position UBA as a leading and dominant financial institution in Sierra Leone in line with the Group’s aspiration.

UBA Sierra Leone is a member of UBA Group, a pan African financial institution with presence in 20 Africa countries and 3 global financial service centres; namely New York, London and Paris providing services to over 18 million customers across over 1000 branches and touch points.

Other speakers at the auspicious occasion included the President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Ahmed Sahid Nasrallah. He informed the UBA management that he and his colleagues have over the years been cooperating with the previous UBA CEOs, adding that this time round, he is happy to state that the new UBA-SL CEO has a vision for the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists which when it comes to fruition will not only improve the work of journalists to make them more professional but would go a long way to create impact on the government to do more for the media in Sierra Leone.

Several other representatives from various institutions including the Independent Media Commission (IMC), Guild of Editors, Women in the Media Sierra Leone (WMSL), Sierra Leone Sport Writers Association, Sierra Leone Reporters Union (SLRU) and other respectable members from various media houses.

Earlier, the new UBA CEO informed his audience that: “I am happy to join my media friends in this session to interact and understand the media business in Sierra Leone. This is a very special occasion to me to share with you how the bank has been working with the media across our subsidiaries and how UBA Sierra Leone will continue to work with the media.

He added: “Let me appreciate the Sierra Leone media for all the support and publicity you have been giving the bank since its inception in 2008. A case in point, the publicity I received on my appointment as the new MD/CEO UBA Sierra Leone is commendable. Since I arrived in the country, there is yet no negative press about the bank because I read the papers every day and I am very impressed and I thank you so much.”

He went on to give a brief history about the United Bank for Africa.

 He said the United Bank for Africa Plc is a pan-African bank with our financial services group headquarters in Lagos. It has subsidiaries in 20 African countries and offices in London, Paris and New York.

The bank started its operations in Sierra Leone in July 2008. We have seven (7) branches, 5 in Freetown and 2 in the provinces i.e. Bo and Makeni. We have plans to extend our services to other parts of the country.

On the mission of the bank, he added that to be a role model for African businesses by creating superior value for all our stakeholders, abiding by the utmost professional and ethical standards, and by building an enduring institution.

He added that the vision of the UBA-SL is to be the undisputed leading and dominant financial services institution in Africa.

He went on to say that their business strategy is built on being the bank of choice for businesses across the African continent. Using our extensive spread across the continent, we aim to facilitate inter–and-intra-African trade and also be the pivot for the inflow of investment capital.

He said the bank focuses on supporting people and businesses to succeed across Africa, Europe, and North America. Through our diverse range of financial products and services, we help people fulfil their goals and enable businesses to prosper.

In addition, the United Bank for Africa is committed to being a socially responsible company and role model for all businesses in Africa. As the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of the UBA Group, UBA Foundation is committed to the socio-economic betterment of the communities in which the bank operates, focusing on development in the areas of Education, Environment, Economic Empowerment and Special Projects. The UBA Foundation was incorporated in January 2004.

As one of Africa’s largest financial services institution, we recognise the need for a social contract between the bank, the community and its people. To this end, UBA became the first bank in Nigeria to institute a Foundation — UBAF as the CSR arm of the bank. UBA Foundation is committed to the socio-economic betterment of our communities. The bank funds its programmes and initiatives.

He maintained that the UBA-SL has been providing different support to the government of Sierra Leone and will continue to do so when necessary. Some of the bank’s support to the government includes:

The bank donated $500,000 for rescue missions and victims of the mudslide. The bank’s Chairman Tony Elumelu made a donation of USD$250,000 on behalf of the Tony Elumelu Foundation and another USD$250,000 on behalf of UBA.

The bank provided financial support to the Office of the First Lady for the launch of Hands Off Our Girls Project. A campaign that promotes education on sexual reproductive health and rights and the fight against rape in the country.

United Bank for Africa (UBA) donated over Le1 Billion to the Government of Sierra Leone to fight COVID-19   

The bank made a donation of One Billion, Four Hundred and Forty Million Leones an equivalent of($150,000) as part of the UBA’s Foundation direct relief support to the government of Sierra Leone to the fight against COVID-19.

Amidst COVID-19, UBA Sierra Leone through the UBA Foundation supported the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education Distance Teaching Program.

UBA Sierra Leone through the UBA Foundation provided a laptop and literature books through the Read Africa Initiative project to support the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education online teaching program.  The laptop is being used to stream the online teaching program live to over 40,000 children across the country.

UBA Support to the Freetown City Council

As part of the bank’s support to the Freetown City Council, we have procured over 1000 Aprons for the Council as part of the Council’s Cleaning Exercise.

UBA Media Engagement

  • Let me reveal here that this is not the first meeting the MD/CEO of the bank has interacted with members of the press. In 2018, we held a Media Parley at Lagoonda Hotel. Let me assure you that I will continue this kind of engagement with the press.
  • UBA Golden Touch Award- For this year, the bank would like to partner with SLAJ and IMC in the reorganization of the Annual Media Awards. The MCC Team will work closely with SLAJ and IMC once plans are put in place for Annual Media Awards.
  • Every Year, the bank provides opportunity to the media to participate in the Tony Elumule Entrepreneurship Program in Nigeria.  Some section of the media in Sierra Leone has benefitted from this program.  
  • The Bank provides annual training for journalists every year, but Sierra Leone is yet to benefit from this opportunity. My MCC Team will work with SLAJ once this opportunity is made available.

The bank will continue to work with the media in any related development project that will promote media development in Sierra Leone.

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