The well lit and decorated hall at the Eko Hotel & Suite, Victoria Island, Lagos set the right mood for the fun that lay ahead last Saturday evening. Male bankers dressed in black suit with matching black ties and their female counterparts adorned in cute black dresses were seen smiling from ear-to-ear exchanging pleasantries. They are generally soaking in the beautiful ambience, a remarkable difference from the formal office environment they are used to on week days.
The night was actually about them. It was high time for them to be duly rewarded for the hard work and effort they had put into the growth of the United Bank of Africa in the past financial year. It was the bank’s annual CEO Awards ceremony as it has is held every year to celebrate staff who perform exceptionally well in the past financial year. Since 2008, when the first edition of the UBA CEO awards was held, it has become a landmark celebration in the annual calendar of the financial institution.
UBA is a leading Pan African financial services Group with presence in 19 African countries, New York, London and Paris . Headquartered in Lagos , Nigeria , the Group provides commercial banking services to diverse customer groups across Africa . The CEO awards night not only allows the UBA Stars from other African countries where the bank operates the opportunity to visit the Group head office in Lagos and meet colleagues from other countries, but it also gives them a once in a lifetime whirlwind experience of the rich Nigerian entertainment industry. Indeed, the highlights of the event included music, dance, comedy and the award proper where staff with exceptional performance were appreciated and given plaques and certificates in recognition of their performance.
Phillips Oduoza, GMD/CEO of the UBA Group said the awards ceremony was most deserving because of the hard work and dedication to duty by staff members during the year. According to him though the full year financials of the bank are yet to be made public, the bank going by its third quarter results did very well in 2013. “It is only proper for us to gather and publicly celebrate our star performers in the presence of all stake holders and customers who have been a pillar of support” he enthused.
Oduoza, who gave out letters of commendation plaques and cash rewards, to the award recipients, noted that the event was part of the best-place-to-work policy initiative of UBA and a people strategy geared towards engaging, motivating and rewarding employees.
The award categories on the night include: Most Profitable Regional Bank in Nigeria based on absolute Profit Before Tax figures, Most Profitable Division based on absolute Profit before Tax figures, African Country with the highest deposit growth, Branch with the highest Non-Public sector deposit in Nigeria, Regional Bank with the highest trade volume in Nigeria, Country Subsidiary with the highest trade volume in Nigeria and African Country with the highest absolute profit before tax.
Customer focused awards were also given at the awards including; the Marketing staff with the best service culture in Nigeria, the Non-Marketing staff with the best service culture in Nigeria as well as the country subsidiary with the best service culture in Africa outside Nigeria.
Oduoza assured that UBA has continued to post strong financial performance in 2013, despite the increasingly challenging environment due to the dedication and contribution of its exceptional workforce.
“Our first, second and third quarter financial results shows the bank’s resilience. Our African subsidiaries are increasingly adding value to our operations currently contributing about 25 percent of balance sheet size and on target to hit 50 percent contribution to balance sheet.”
The recipients through a spokesperson, Chukwuekezie Magnus, the regional bank head, Akwa Ibom, thanked the management of UBA Plc for having thought of them, let alone appreciate them. He went on to pledge their allegiance to the company saying that they will continually serve with the same level of diligence as they have been doing.
Magnus who commended the board and management for placing great premium on its people said, “UBA is the one of the best places to work in Nigeria . It does not discriminate in its employment processes and has in place a strong rewarding system that motivates all staff to excel.”
The awards ceremony witnessed the presence of the captains of industry, customers and friends of the bank. Past and present UBA board members and other stakeholders from Africa and the rest of the world were also in attendance.
Top Nigerian and Africa entertainers who graced the occasion thrilled the packed audience with music and jokes. Among the top performers during the night were the duo of P-Square, Banky W, Ghanaian/UK based artist, ODG Fuse of the Azonto fame and music diva Tiwa Savage. Two top comedians, Gordons and Akpororo, also brought the roof down with their jokes.
“It is highly commendable for the bank to have recognized and celebrate employees that have made a positive impact on its operations by implementing exceptional standards and practices to provide outstanding service to their customers,” said Tunji Lawal-Solarin, a friend of the bank and chairman of Telsy Consulting. “The banking industry benefit from their achievement and the management has taken the right step to appreciate the winners for pushing UBA to higher standards of excellence.”
By: FUNKE OSAE-BROWN