Union Bank of Nigeria Plc was established in 1917 as Colonial Bank with its first branch in Lagos. In 1925, Barclays Bank acquired the Colonial Bank, which resulted in the change of the Bank's name to Barclays Bank (Dominion, Colonial and Overseas) or Barclays Bank (D C O). Following the enactment of the Companies Act 1968 and the legal requirement for all foreign subsidiaries to be incorporated locally, Barclays Bank (D C O) in 1969 was incorporated as Barclays Bank of Nigeria Limited (BBNL). The ownership structure of BBNL remained unchanged until 1971 when 8.33% of BBNL’s shares were offered to Nigerians. In the same year, BBNL was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. As a result of the Nigeria Enterprises Promotion Act of 1972, the Federal Government of Nigeria acquired 51.67% of the BBNL’s shares, which left Barclays Bank Plc, London with only 40%. By the enactment of the 1972 and 1977 Nigeria Enterprises Promotion Acts, Barclays Bank International disposed its shareholding in BBNL to Nigerians in 1979. To reflect the new ownership structure and in compliance with the Companies and Allied Matters Act of 1990, it assumed the name Union Bank of Nigeria Plc (UBN “the Bank” or “Union Bank”).
In consonance with the government's programme of privatization and commercialization of public enterprises, the Federal Government in 1993 sold its shares in Union Bank to private individuals. Thus, Union Bank became fully owned by Nigerian citizens and organizations.
During the Central Bank of Nigeria's banking sector consolidation policy, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc acquired the former Universal Trust Bank Plc and Broad Bank Ltd and absorbed its erstwhile subsidiary Union Merchant Bank Ltd.
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intervened in the management of the Bank on August 14 2009, replaced the Executive Management Team, and appointed a five-man interim management team to stabilise and recapitalise the Bank.
Full recapitalization of the Bank was achieved in December 2011 with the injection of $500million into Union Bank by Union Global Partners Limited (UGPL) after the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) had provided capital in the sum of N46.93BN to bring the Bank’s Net Assets Value to zero.
The Bank is now owned 65% by UGPL; 20% by AMCON; and 15% by a diverse group of shareholders. UGPL, a consortium of strategically aligned group of investors, is the Bank’s core investor group and consists of:
- African Capital Alliance
- ADC African Development Corporation
- Corsair Capital
- FMO (the Netherlands Development Finance Company)
- Richard Chandler Corporation
- Standard Chartered Private Equity
Following recapitalization, Fitch, the London based global rating agency in 2012 has upgraded Union Bank’s Viability Ratio (VR) from “C” to “CCC” which acknowledges the restoration of the Bank to solvency through the injection of capital from AMCON and the core investor. Fitch’s rating action was as follows:
- Long-term foreign currency IDR: affirmed at ‘B+’. Stable Outlook
- Short-term foreign currency IDR: affirmed at ‘B’
- National Long-term rating: affirmed at ‘A+(nga)’
- National Short-term rating: affirmed at ‘F1(nga)’
- Viability Rating: upgraded to ‘ccc’, from ‘c’
- Support Rating: affirmed at ’4′
- Support Rating Floor: affirmed at ‘B+’
The Bank has 339 branches across the country, all of which are on-line real time. As at December 31, 2011 the Bank's gross earnings was N66,492billion; profit after tax was N82,239billion and total assets was N846.763 billion.
The Bank's management team is headed by Emeka Emuwa as the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive. Other executive management team members are:
Adekunle M. Adeosun - Commercial/Retail Banking (south) & Consumer Banking
Ibrahim A. Kwargana - Commercial/Retail banking (North) & Public Sector
Oyinkan Adewale - Chief Financial Official
Union Bank Group operates an interlocking organizational structure whereby some board members of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc act as external directors on the boards of subsidiaries and some of the associated companies. This arrangement ensures effective oversight and participation in the decision-making process of these companies, thereby helping to safeguard the Bank’s investments. The Bank's subsidiaries and associated companies are:
- Union Homes Savings and Loans Plc
- Union Trustees Limited
- Union Assurance Company Limited
- Union Bank UK Plc.
- Banque Internationale du Benin , Cotonou
- UBN Property Company Limited
- Union Capital Markets Limited
- Union Registrars Limited
- Union Pension
(a) Consolidated Discounts Ltd.
(b) HFC Bank Ghana Limited.
(c) Unique Venture Capital Management Co.
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