Afriland First Bank bows out just after 2 years in Ugandan market

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The Bank of Uganda (BoU) has approved a request by Afriland First Bank’s request for voluntary liquidation.
Addressing the media at the Central Bank headquarters in Kampala on Thursday morning, Michael Atingi-Ego, the Deputy Governor at BoU, said the Central Bank on on May25, 2022 exercised its powers under Section 98 (Part1) of the Financial Institutions Act, 2004 (as amended) and approved a request from Afriland First Bank (U) Ltd to apply to the High Court for voluntary liquidation.

“Afriland First Bank (U) Ltd’s decision for voluntary liquidation was an outcome of the strategic business review by the shareholders, Afriland First Group,” Atingi-Ego said.

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He added: “Bank of Uganda hereby informs the public that Afriland First Bank (U) Ltd is a solvent financial institution. Therefore, all depositors and other verified creditors shall be paid in full. All depositors of Afriland First Bank (U) Ltd are encouraged to withdraw their deposits from Afriland First Bank (U) Ltd  premises. All other verified creditors shall be paid in full by the liquidator that has been appointed by the shareholders of Afriland First Bank (U) Ltd.”

Afriland First Bank Uganda is a subsidiary of Cameroon based Afriland First Bank, a full-service bank, with subsidiaries in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Liberia, South Sudan, São Tomé and Príncipe and  Zambia. The bank was founded in Yaoundé in 1987 under the name of Caisse Commune d’Epargne et d’Investissement. It is the largest financial services group in Cameroon.

Poor Performance

Afriland First Bank Uganda Limited joined the Ugandan market in September 2019. However, the bank failed to hit the ground running so much that many Ugandans don’t know its existence.

Headed by Aboubaker Mayake as Managing Director,  Afriland First Bank (U) Ltd  published its financial statements for the first time this year.

According to the bank’s audited financial results for the year ended 31st December 2021, Afriland First Bank (U) Ltd was an undercapitalized financial institution.

Whereas BoU’s minimum capital requirement is Shs25bn, Afriland First Bank’s core capital stood at Shs19bn in 2021, down from Shs26.75bn in 2020.

According to the results obtained by Business Focus, Afriland First Bank made a loss of Shs2.67bn in 2021, up Shs1.84bn loss recorded a year earlier.

Apparently, the bank hadn’t extended any loans to customers for the period it has been operating in Uganda.

Its customer deposits were the lowest in the market, standing at Shs176m in 2021, down from Shs1.37bn.

The bank’s assets stood at Shs33.69bn in 2021, down from Shs34.28bn recorded a year earlier.

Afriland First Bank’s collapse follows the Orient Bank Uganda takeover by I&M Group Plc.The bank has since rebranded to  I&M Bank (Uganda) Limited. I&M Group Plc became the major shareholder in Orient Bank, with a 90 percent stake, in April 2021.

In recent years, smaller banks have either been swallowed by bigger banks or merged. For example, Commercial Bank of Africa merged with NC Bank to form NCBA. This development also follows the controversial collapse of Crane Bank.

This story was originally published on the Business focus website.

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