By Stephen Ubanna
More facts have emerged why the management of the United Bank For Africa, plc, a pan African Bank and one of the biggest employer of labour in the nation’s banking industry embarked on the restructuring of its operations in the last quarter of 2019.
This is because of its strategic plan to enhance productivity and optimise its service delivery to Customers, shareholders and other stakeholders of the ban
Findings by The Value News shows that plans by the bank to rejig the workforce began late 2018 after the appraisal of staff performance but was kept a closely guided to avoid heating up the bank. Although information about the restructuring of the bank had filtered out but that was how far it could go.
Based on the appraisal that were said to have been carried out in all the Departments and branches of the bank for much f last year, the names of the employees that may no longer be required in the service of the bank and those to be promoted were said to have been compiled.
The staff may have known that the Management were up to something when new staff , particularly fresh graduates , were being recruited. It was a matter of time before the Management gave the nod to the Human resources Development Department to release the names of those affected in the restructuring exercise.
As at press time, it could not be ascertained the number of redundant staff who were asked to put in their resignation letter to avoid being sacked in order to enjoy their full benefits.
There is no gain saying the fact that UBA had done was not unusual as it is the normal practice the world over that whenever appraisal of staff were carried out in an Organisation, the few employees that may have been found to perform below expectation and those to their retirement age may be asked to go.
The UBA Management appear to have put smiles on the faces of staff relieved of their position by ensuring that they go back home with reasonable financial Compensation. Some of them were said to have been paid eight months’ salary arrears to help them start a new life. This is in addition to the payment of their pension contribution which runs into millions of naira in the bank.
Financial experts believe that with the payment of such mouth watery severance package to the disengaged staff, UBA, has set a standard in the nation’s banking industry which may be difficult to beat by any of its major Competitors in the industry.
Note that the restructuring of the bank was not only limited to disengaging of some staff, considered to be unproductive but also used as an opportunity to reward those who were said to have excelled in their various Departments by promoting them.. The bank Authorities were said to have promoted more than a fourth of the staff across cadre.
A Statement by the Bank which was made available to the Magazine shows that 3,292 employees were promoted. More so, it was said to have employed over 2,800 operations staff and an additional 1,336 non –operations staff , thus bringing the total number of staff recruited within the period to4, 136, to still maintain its leadership position as the largest employer of labour in the nation’s banking industry.
A document made available to The Magazine shows that the pan African bank which has the largest number of employees among its Competitors may have been encouraged to disengage the affected staff because carrying such over bloated workforce was not economical but a financial drain to the bank This is evident going by the yearly profit and gross earnings of the bank.
A source told The Magazine that as at December 31, 2018, the bank, alone has a staff strength of about 12,909, to be precise but it never reflected on the gross earnings per head which was said to be about N38.27milliononly.
Investigations shows that the bank profit and gross earnings per head was significantly lower than that of the gross earning of First Bank, Guarantee Trust Bank, popular, GTB, Access and Zenith, which were said to have an average of N77.98 million.
The situation was not different in the profit earnings of the bank within the period under review.. The bank profit earning per employee of N6 million was also said to be lower than that generated by employees of the major Competitors which was put at an at an average of N18.96m as at 2018. Given that he management are accountable to the Board of Directors, who in turn, are accountable to the shareholders and other stakeholders of the bank and therefore could not sit by and watch its yearly profit and gross earnings continue to nosedive while that of its Competitors continued to rise, it has no option but restructure to make operationally efficient.
Perhaps, to restore the bank to reckoning, the lucky staff, both senior and the juniors, who were not affected in the restructuring exercise, including the business Community, the management were said to have crashed the bank grading system from 16 to 12 as the staff salaries were increased by 170 Percent across cadres. The salaries of 1,735 additional junior staff, employed were said to have also be reviewed upwards.
Kennedy Uzoka, bank’s Group Managing Director, was said to have told those that cares to listen that the decision to ask the identified unproductive staff to resign as well as those close to their retirement age was not an indication that the Management was unappreciative of their service to the bank. ‘’As a leading Financial Institution , we do not take issues of uncaring to the issues relating to staff lightly’’, he had said . He noted that they take great pride in being a listening bank that has the ears of the employees as they are the one that turn the wheels which had made the Organisation successful for the Customers and shareholders.
Those who are conversant with UBA style of recruitment could attest that the bank recruits highly talented staff who perform at the best standard. At present, the bank Management were said to have taken steps to ensure that it remains at the’’ top tier as it relates to the talent pool and make it easier and faster for the bank’s employees to progress along with their career.
In a related development the bank on Monday, January 6, 2020, announced the appointment of Oliver Alawuba as CEO of UBA Africa, which gave him the mandate of overseeing the bank’s 20 African countries operations. He succeeded Victor Osadolor, who was said to have retired from the Group Board after nine years of service working at the bank.
UBA Africa, alone serve millions of customers across the African continent, providing retail, commercial and institutional banking services, and implementing cutting-edge products including the first ever banking chat bot in Africa, LEO. The bank also has established presence in the global Financial centres of London, NewYork, and Paris.
To prove that it is an international bank which could compete with any other international bank across the globe and ready to hire the best hands, the bank was said to have appointed one Abdoul-Aziz Dia, a Senegalese, as the Executive Director, Treasury and International Banking.
According to a source, the appointment of the Senegalese, needed the approval of the Godwin Elumelu led Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN to make it effective . approval of Dia’s ppointment as an Executive Director in UBA ,by the CBN would make itt the first to employ a non-Nigerian into the Group Executive director of the bank
. He is expected to bring his wealth of multi-geographical experience in banking to the Group. Snippets from the bank reveals that he will be responsible for pan African’s global network of operations in New York, London and Paris. He is expected to combine it with Group Treasury, where UBA offers a sophisticated range of products to multinationals, international institutions and African clients.
Other appoints made by the bank was the confirmation of Chukwuma Nweke, who is currently the Executive director of the Group Operations by the Board as the Group Executive Director, Retail and Payments, demonstrating the Group’s commitment to its retail offering. Nweke, according to sources, has close to three decades of banking experience spanning banking operations, finance, technology, audit and strategy.
The Board was said to have also announced the appointment of Chiugo Ndubisi as Group Executive director and the Group Chief Operating Officer. The appoints, the source said are hwever, subject to CBN’s approval. Bankers who knew Chiugo described him as a professional with almost three decades of banking experience that includes the role of chief finance officer and Executive Director on the board of the Bank. ‘’His in-depth understanding of banking and the finance industry dynamics will bring a lot of value to the Group Board of UBA’’, a source remarked.
“These appointments emphasise the Group’s commitment to our pan-African and global network, our huge retail client base and our operational infrastructure,” Tony Elumelu, the Group Chairman, who could not hide his feelings said the appointments was a clear indication of the Group’s Commitment to its pan-African global network,huge retail client base and Operational Infrastructure.
“We are focused on improving our efficiency and further strengthening our pan-African mission, using the extraordinary pool of talent and experience available in the Group’’, he had said.
The UBA Group Chairman, was said to have thanked both the outgoing deputy managing director/CEO, UBA Africa, Victor Osadolor, and the former regional CEO for UBA in East and Southern Africa, Emeke Iweriebor, who just retired from the board, for their contributions to the bank
He revealed that that the bank provides services to over 17 million Customersglobally, through diverse chanels, a Customer base yet to be rivaled by any other bank within the African Continent.