When two banks come together

Tuesday October 13 2020
prosper08pix

NCBA’s chief executive officer Anthony Ndegwa. PHOTO | COURTESY

By Our Reporter

NC bank and the Commercial Bank of Africa (Uganda) recently merged to form NCBA bank with the aim of developing its digital presence driven by micro lending under MoKash. As the bank develops its asset financing, advisory financial services and use of technology to provide financial services, Prosper Magazine interviewed NCBA’s chief executive officer Anthony Ndegwa. Excerpts below.

Congratulations on reaching this milestone. NC Bank and Commercial Bank of Africa are now NCBA Bank Uganda Limited. Give us a brief on the merger between NC Bank and Commercial Bank of Africa.
The respective Boards of NC Bank Uganda Limited (NC Bank) and Commercial Bank of Africa Uganda Limited (CBA) first announced the proposed merger on December 6, 2018. In April 2019, shareholders of both banks approved the merger.
In Kenya, the Central Bank of Kenya approved the merger of the two entities to become NCBA Bank PLC and thereafter Rwanda as well.
In Uganda, Bank of Uganda issued a letter of ‘No objection’ in May 2020 and later a commercial banking licence on Monday June 15, 2020 paving way for the two organisations to officially start operations as NCBA Bank Uganda Limited.

Two Banks became one to form a new bank thus new brand. Briefly tell us about the NCBA brand.
The NCBA Brand is a reflection of both banks’ values, borrowing from the best of both and building new strengths to deliver better banking experience for our customers and set new standards for the industry. We are excited about our bold, new unified identity, which sets us apart and resonates very well with our customers. NCBA is a stronger and larger bank, with the financial strength, expertise and regional connectivity to put its customers first through an expanded range of products and services.

What does the name NCBA mean?
Our name NCBA, represents the coming together of NC and CBA and it is just the beginning.  
As NCBA, we’ve retained the best of both, harnessing our collective strengths and values to build a stronger, more agile bank, to better serve all customers, setting a new standard in service delivery and banking.
Is the name NCBA an acronym for something?
On their own, the letters do not stand for anything. There is no hidden meaning, no smoke and mirrors, or clever jargon: just like the new bank. Our name represents two proud banks, coming together to bring customers a more compelling and complete offering under one roof.
Our name is not an acronym for anything, but a promise that you can expect a better bank, because we have combined the best of both for you - our customers, staff, shareholders and other stakeholders.
What does the logo represent?
Regarding the logo, the joint Board of Directors from both banks were clear that NCBA has to set its sight across Africa.  
Therefore, retaining the map of Africa, as an icon of our vision, was key.
With that , we needed to bring new and symbolic meaning to the icon to galvanise all staff to the shareholders’ vision.
If you look carefully at the map, you will notice the silhouette of Africa is formed by shapes inspired by the ‘Greater Than’ symbol.  
This represents the coming together of the two banks. Two is always greater than one!

So this merger to become NCBA Bank Uganda, what does this mean for the bank in the financial industry?
As a combined entity, NCBA has a significant capital base, total assets of Uganda Shs550b as at May 2020, a strong liquidity profile and  well-motivated team, with a strong focus on exceeding customer expectation.
NCBA has presence in five countries in the region, with over 100 branches and ATMs. 
The merger of NC Bank and CBA in Uganda, has opened a new chapter in the growth and expansion of our business. 
With increased lending capacity, cost efficiency, profitability metrics and a strong, diverse team, this a good start towards achieving our ambition, to be one of the largest banks in Uganda.

How are your customers going to benefit from this merger? 
We are excited about our bold new unified identity which sets us apart and resonates very well with our customers. NCBA is a stronger and larger bank, with the financial strength, expertise and regional connectivity to put its customers first while inspiring greatness and helping customers reach their ambitions through an expanded range of products and services.
When you look at each of the entities, there were some similarities. However, there were quite a few products that were available in one bank and not in the other. On one side of the merger, NC Bank as one of the leading banks in providing the asset finance solution has been known as the Home of Asset Finance. As NCBA, we shall continue providing our customers with the Asset Finance Solution through creating stronger relationships with both local and international car and machinery dealerships to provide competitive rates to our customers.  
On the ex-CBA side, we were known for digital innovation particularly Mokash, the mobile savings and loan solution offered to over seven million customers in Uganda. We also intend to continue supporting our customers in this front and provide more digital solutions. 
In terms of customer service, how has the integration process been handled? Can customers of the previous entities walk into any of the NCBA branches and be served efficiently?
Yes. We took some time to ensure the harmonisation process was done effectively and efficiently and the systems are speaking to each other. This means a former NC Bank customer can walk into a former CBA branch and would be able to transact seamlessly and receive the same service. We have put in tremendous efforts to ensure our systems are interoperable, we have cross-trained our staff and further ensured that there is presence of and Ex NC Bank and EX CBA staff at each branch so that customers can see familiar faces.

Advertisement

What does this merger mean to the company operations especially employees? 
We were cognizant of the fact that our people would be very influential through this merger and therefore earlier the board decided that staff must be taken care of to ensure the success of this journey and beyond. Therefore, the new bank’s structures, ambitions, strategies and development plans accommodated the kind of deep smart and great talent that was brought together. All our staff have maintained their jobs in NCBA.

What is your response to the current situation of Covid-19 as NCBA Bank? Have you reduced your interest rates or offered loan relief to your customers?
To mitigate the effects of this pandemic, and in accordance with Bank of Uganda’s monetary policy statement of April 2020, NCBA Bank has reviewed and where required, restructured loan facilities for eligible corporate and individual customers. This has included a grace period on loan repayments for customers who have been affected by the pandemic. We have been transparent about our restructuring process to all our customers and have been responsive to those who need it.

Any parting shots or final remarks to the readers?
 We have brought together two well-structured banks that speak strongly to governance, management and innovation. We would like the customers to know that apart from the excellent customer experience, deep relationship management, competitive products and services, NCBA is a truly African bank.

IMPACT OF MERGER
What does this merger mean to the company operations especially employees? 

We were cognizant of the fact that our people would be very influential through this merger and therefore earlier the board decided that staff must be taken care of to ensure the success of this journey and beyond. Therefore, the new bank’s structures, ambitions, strategies and development plans accommodated the kind of deep smart and great talent that was brought together. All our staff have maintained their jobs in NCBA.

Advertisement