By NY Staff
UBL Yemen hosted its top business partners and bank dealers last Thursday at the Movenpick Sana’a hotel. The meeting was designed and organized by UBL Yemen’s management in the honor of Mr. Wajahat Husain, Group Executive / Head of International (UBL), on his visit to Yemen and aimed to continue the support and patronage of UBL Yemen. Mr. Husain found his business trip to Yemen an excellent opportunity to update his Yemeni business partners with the latest successful stories, financial strength reports, and the bank restructuring plan among tremendous growth in the existing parts of its world plants .
UBL Yemen’s annual corporate event in Sana’a was dedicated to Yemen business improvement overseas. Using UBL to facilitate their business strategic activities, Mr. Zahid Hussain, General Manager of UBL Yemen said he had been watching the economic change very carefully and noticed the need to expand his banking activities. “We have three branches in Yemen: one in Sana’a, Hodeidah and Aden, just to serve UBL clients” said Mr. Hussain.
There was an hour of a warm welcome by the Group Executive, Mr. Wajahat Husain and UBL Yemen General Manager. The guests and business dignitaries represent a variety of the business industry, including manufacturing and trade groups. The head of International UBL Group Executive gave a speech on the occasion reminding his guests of early starts in the bank business in Yemen.
Wajahat said, the United Bank Limited is a full-fledged commercial bank with a proud legacy of serving its customers over 54 years, & having a network of more than 1,300 branches across 11 countries including UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Yemen, USA, Tanzania, and Pakistan. The United Republic of Tanzania is the latest addition to the UBL network, which begins operations in September this year.
“Our strong footprint in the GCC, as well as presence in the UK, US, Switzerland, Tanzania & China, means that UBL straddles 4 continents & important trade routes and investment destinations for Yemen”said Mr. Wajahat. Following UBL’s privatization in 2002, a professional management team, supported by an independent board of directors succeeded in positioning the Bank as a progressive & proficient player in its targeted markets.
The Bank provides a complete array of services in Wholesale & Retail Banking, as well as holding strategic interests in Insurance, Asset Management, & Micro Finance business.
UBL is owned by a consortium of the Abu Dhabi Group & Bestway Group of UK. His Highness Shaikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, UAE Minister of Culture Youth & Community Development, is the Chairman & Sir Mohammed Anwar Pervez, Chairman Bestway Group, is the Deputy Chairman of the Bank.
“With an asset base of USD 10 billion, a global workforce of 17,700 people, & a client base of over 5 million across the globe, UBL takes pride in fulfilling its customer needs with its traditional service quality & the vision of putting the customer first” said Wajahat. One achievement that UBL is particularly proud of, is its pioneering initiative of financial inclusion in Pakistan, a country of 180 million people. This has been achieved through its Branchless Banking service called Omni, currently provided through 12,000 outlets in towns & villages across the country. Omni won the Bank, the GSMA, Global Mobile Award in 2012. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, impressed by UBL’s use of mobile banking technology in distributing aid to flood victims in Pakistan, extended it a grant of USD 6.9 mn, to further scale up its UBL Omni electronic service platform.
Asiamoney, a prestigious financial publication, declared UBL the best Domestic Bank of Pakistan for 2011 & again for 2012, while the Bankers Magazine, another widely read & notable financial publication, awarded the Bank “Bank of the Year 2012 Pakistan” Award. In 2007, at the 16th Asian Brand Congress, UBL received the Brand Leadership Award for brand excellence in its International network. The Bank celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 2009.
Wajahat said, United Bank Limited has the privilege of being one of the pioneers of international banking in the Middle East, & commenced operations in the Republic of Yemen in 1972. After the privatization of UBL, there was renewed focus on Yemen operations. In 2007, the bank relocated Sana’a branch & management office to a prestigious location in Sana’a, accompanied by an upgrade in quality & skills of our work force. This was followed by the opening of Aden branch, as one of the most beautiful branches in the bank network, located in the strategic Aden Mall.
“The process of reshaping and strengthening UBL’s Yemen network continued and in 2008, for that we re-located the Hodeidah branch to Mina Street, in the city’s financial hub”said Wajahat. We are looking at other economic centers of Yemen, & at the right time, and with the blessings of the Government & regulatory authorities, may increase our footprint to serve a wider base of customers.
UBL’s Yemen’s main forte has been international trade and corporate finance, supported by the Bank’s international footprint, strong correspondent banking relationships & product expertise. The key sectors that the Bank here has financed include, power generation, oil & infrastructure activities. In addition, UBL Yemen has facilitated the imports of essential commodities like edible oil, other foodstuff & building materials into the country.
In 2010, UBL lead a syndicated project finance deal in the power sector, which was the first of its kind transaction in Yemen. This transaction opened doors for exploring more opportunities in syndicated/club deals space in the country. UBL intends to work alongside other market players to provide syndicate financing solutions to infrastructure projects of national eminence. Treasury products, including ready FX and forward hedging/risk management FX products are also an area of focus for UBL Yemen. Through the bank dedicated International Treasury sales hub located in UAE, we are capable of providing FX solutions at competitive pricing. Our Treasury team is also available to provide customized solutions to client’s specific investment and currency hedging requirements.
“We feel privileged and honored to be serving almost all the top names in Yemen and are happy that our services are recognized and appreciated by our esteemed customers” Wajahat continued. UBL Yemen has always focused on inducting local Yemeni talent, & provide them with the relevant training & exposure to groom them for more senior positions.
UBL remains committed to its operations in Yemen, and under the wise leadership of the Government, looks forward in continuing to play its due role in promoting trade and business in the country. “I would like to thank the leadership, the Government & the Central Bank of Yemen for their continued guidance & support” Mr. Wajahat Husain, Group Executive / Head of International (UBL) concluded his speech.
At the end of his speech Mr. Wajahat and Mr. Zahid Hussain, invited the distinguished guests to a banquet lunch in commemoration of UBL Yemen’s annual corporate meeting.
About UBL in Yemen:
UBL started operation in Yemen in 1972 through a branch in Sana’a. In 1989 the bank took over operations of HBL, which led to the addition of the Hodeidah Branch. The 35 year old Sana’a branch was relocated from Tehreer street to its current premises at the Sharah-e-Zubairi in November 2008 and the 19 years old Hodeidah branch was relocated from Sharah-e-Sana’a, Hodeidah to its current premises at the Sharah-e-Meena, Hodeidah in July 2008. The third branch in the country, the Aden branch was also inaugurated in November 2008.
After the privatization of the bank’s operations in 2003, the management decided to revamp the Yemen operations. Since then there has been a noticeable growth in business, bottom line and visibility of UBL in Yemen. During the last four years the Yemen Operations increased its participation in the country’s main economic segments, including cement, steel, hospitality, roads, power generation, and oil exploration. It also play an active role in the country’s trading sector which is a vital for meeting domestic demand of staple food, edible oil, foodstuff etc.
In-order to improve the bank’s visibility with an aim to augment the existing growth, along-with paving the path for future development in the country’s operations in terms of assets, liability, trade business and profitability, the Yemen operations has focused on further developing relationship with known names in the local corporate sector, various Ministries, and high net-worth individuals.
Realizing the importance of service quality the region gradually started the process of building teams of young, qualified, energetic, and committed officers. Accordingly, Yemen operations hired expatriates as well as local Yemenis for the newly opened Aden Branch and for the re-located Sana’a branch.
As part of its corporate social responsibility initiatives, UBL has been providing meaningful financial and moral support over the years to institutions and individuals, for the development of human resource and for providing better livelihood for people.
Edited by Kevin Davis