Kampala, 17th October, 2018: The Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), an international network of banking leaders from 54 member banks, committed to advancing positive change in the banking sector and Centenary Bank, Uganda’s leading commercial microfinance Bank, have today hosted the first conference in Africa, at which the Central Bank called upon banks in Uganda to embrace value-based banking and join the Global Alliance for Banking on Values.
The conference, a one-day event where Executives (CEOs and Top Executives) of African Financial Institutions and Regulators were invited with the key purpose of discussing the benefits of values-based banking in growing African economies and how to implement and spread this unique approach to sustainable banking.
Dr. Tumubweine Twinemanzi, Central Bank’s Executive Director Supervision in his remarks said that banks need to understand what motivates people to move or change service providers adding that studies show that 68% of people stay with service providers who care for them. He further encouraged commercial banks in Uganda to join GABV because it puts people before profit. Dr. Twinemanzi said, “The Central bank three years ago, launched the Financial Consumer Empowerment guidelines not just to protect the consumer but also for empowering them.” He further added that, “if you empower the consumer, it means that you are putting them first and giving them the latitude or wherewithal to know that they can realize their potential and only then will you be able make the kind of money you need as a financial institution.”
He applauded Centenary Bank for being exemplary and being the first Ugandan Bank in the country to join GABV.
Prof. Chris Ogbechie, Strategic Management, Lagos Business School and former Chairman of Diamond Bank Plc in his speech told guests that, it was a good thing that banks are now focusing on all the aspects of business including; bottom line, return on investment, return on equity, share price dividends as well as how they are touching the community and impacting the planet. Prof. Ogbechie said that, “Whereas it is time for the African lions to emerge and roar, there are multiple layer issues in driving this, including low numbers, where only 20% of adults in Africa have access to financial services, affordable credit is major binding constraint to the industrial sector especially SMEs and informal sector among others.”
Prof. Ogbechie held that value-based banking can help realize 9 out of 17 SDGs; Financial inclusion, Access to credit, promotion of healthy living in banks and customers and communities, investing in education, health care and industrial sectors.
Centenary Bank Managing Director, Fabian Kasi, while addressing the conference said that, the bank’s decision to join GABV was majorly because much of what the bank believed in was in sync with banking on values and promised tremendous benefits. Some of the benefits he said included; advancement in leadership and innovation skills, staff empowerment, support with strategic direction on qualitative and quantitative elements that can be implemented with particular identifiable results, as well as continuous improvement and support.
Mr. Kasi alluded to the bank’s partnership with Government and the Kampala Capital City Authority to lend youths at 15% and 10% respectively, a rate way below the Bank’s prime lending rates.
Mr. Kasi explained that, “For 35 years Centenary Bank has been serving the lower end of the pyramid, because we believe that is where a dire need to transform society lies with a balanced use of finance to deliver sustainable economic, social and environmental development,” appending that, “This relates to the GABV adage that says “you have to change finance in order to finance change.””
The bank has a model that supports lending and banking to the furthest parts of this country and more recently, through agents.
Speaking at the same event, Dr. Marcos Eguiguren, the Alliance’s Executive Director said that the Alliance was created following the 2008 Financial Crisis that hit some of the world’s hugest banks and shook the global economy. He added that it is founded on the principles of service to the real economy, a common denominator of its members who were not affected by the crisis.
Dr. Marcos commented that, “our intention is to be a role model for other banks through what we do and how we do it,” adding that, “through our own example, we position community lending at the top, where we set our assets on an expedition of improving the lives of our communities through positive lending, eradicating poverty, planet cleanliness, environmental issues, social inclusion among other key issues.
Centenary Bank whose tag line is “Our Bank” is pioneer African bank in joining GABV dating back to 2012 where the journey begun and has since grown in leaps and bounds because the banks has entrenched the values based model in its operations attributing it to the Alliance’s vision and processes, and strategic advice during the time.
Centenary Bank continues with its strategy of reaching the unbanked. Mr. Kasi emphasized, that the bank is continually innovating to serve the real economy through a range of products and services.