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Banking in Uganda

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Title: Banking in Uganda  
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Subject: Economy of Uganda, National Insurance Corporation, List of banks in Uganda, Uganda Development Bank, Kawempe
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Banking in Uganda

Prior to Uganda’s independence in 1962, government-owned institutions dominated most banking in Uganda. In 1966 the Bank of Uganda, which controlled the issue of currency and managed foreign exchange reserves, became the central bank. Uganda Commercial Bank, which had fifty branches throughout the country, dominated commercial banking and was wholly owned by the government. The Uganda Development Bank was a state-owned development finance institution, which channeled loans from international sources into Ugandan enterprises and administered most of the development loans made to Uganda.

The East African Development Bank, established in 1967 was jointly owned by Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. It was also concerned with development finance. It survived the breakup of the East African Community in 1977 and received a new charter in 1980.

In the 1960s, other commercial banks included local operations of Bank of Baroda, Barclays Bank, Bank of India, Grindlays Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Uganda Cooperative Bank.

During the 1970s and early 1980s, the number of commercial bank branches and services contracted significantly. Whereas Uganda had 290 commercial bank branches in 1970, by 1987 there were only 84, of which 58 branches were operated by government-owned banks. This number began to increase slowly the following year, and in 1989 the gradual increase in banking activity signaled growing confidence in Uganda's economic recovery.[1]

1990s - 2004

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Ugandan banking industry underwent significant restructuring. Several indigenous commercial banks were declared insolvent, taken over by the central bank and eventually sold or liquidated. These included Uganda Cooperative Bank, Greenland Bank, International Credit Bank, Teefe Bank and Gold Trust Bank, which were closed or sold. Uganda Commercial Bank was initially privatized through a sale of its majority shares to a purported company from Malaysia. However it later came to light that the actual buyer was a partnership between Greenland Bank, which was insolvent at the time, and some politically connected individuals. A second privatization sale was conducted, with the Standard Bank of South Africa emerging as the winner.

The privatized Uganda Commercial Bank was merged with the former Grindlays Bank which Standard Bank of South Africa already owned and had renamed Stanbic Bank. The combined new bank is now known as Stanbic Bank (Uganda) Limited. As of 2008, Stanbic Uganda was the dominant commercial bank in Uganda, with about 27% of all bank assets and about 20% of all bank branches.[2] Nile Bank Limited, an indigenous institution, was acquired by the British conglomerate, Barclays Plc., in January 2007 and merged with its existing Ugandan operations to form the current Barclays Bank (Uganda).

A moratorium on new commercial bank licences was declared in 2004, with the passage of a new banking bill in Parliament, which established new banking institution classification guidelines. There are four classes of lending financial institutions under the new regulations as outlined below.

Regulatory changes 2007 - 2010

The moratorium on new banks was lifted in July 2007. During the eighteen months that followed the lifting of the moratorium, eight new commercial banks were licensed. These included Kenya Commercial Bank, Equity Bank and Fina Bank, all from Kenya. The now defunct Global Trust Bank, and United Bank for Africa trace their roots to Nigeria. Ecobank is headquartered in Togo and Housing Finance Bank is an indigenous operation. Three other banks, ABC Bank (Kenya), Access Bank from Nigeria and CRDB Bank from Tanzania, have publicly declared their intention to start banking operations in Uganda.[3][4]

During 2008 and 2009, several of the existing banks went on an accelerated branch expansion either through mergers and acquisitions or through new branch openings. As of December 2009, total commercial bank assets in Uganda were estimated at US$4.6 billion (UGX 8.73 trillion).[5] (Official Exchange Rate in December 2009 was US$1=UGX:1,897)[6] Rwanda joined the East African Development Bank in July 2008. Burundi is expected to join the bank in the near future.[7] In April 2009, Bank PHB, Nigeria's fifth largest bank, bought 80% ownership of Orient Bank, Uganda's 8th largest commercial bank. This brought the number of Ugandan banks with major investments from Nigeria to three.[8]

As of October 2010, there were 22 licensed commercial banks in Uganda, with nearly 400 bank branches and a total of almost 600 automated teller machines. At that time, the number of bank accounts in the country was over five million. This represented a 16% penetration, given Uganda's population of 32,000,000, at that time.[9]

In November 2010, Bank of Uganda, the national banking regulator, directed that all commercial banks in Uganda, must raise their minimum capital to Ugx:10 billion (approximately US$4.34 million) by March 2011,[10] and to Ugx:25 billion (approximately US$11 million) by March 2013. Any new commercial bank entering the Ugandan market effective November 2010, has to have a minimum capitalization of Ugx:25 billion.[11] (Official Exchange Rate in December 2010 was US$1=UGX:2,300).

However most of the banking activity is concentrated around Kampala, the country's capital and other large towns, leaving 42% of Ugandans at the mercy of the informal financial sector, and another 30%, totally excluded from the financial services sector, according to a study in 2010.[12]

After 2010

By April 2011, the number of commercial banks had increased to 23. The bank branches in the country numbered over 400. The banking sector employed over 8,700 people. Total commercial bank assets in the country were valued at US$4.78 billion (UGX:11 trillion).[13]

During 2012, Bank of Uganda, closed down National Bank of Commerce (Uganda) (NBCU), a small indigenous operation with wealthy investors, some of whom held high-ranking government positions. The deposits of the liquidated (NBCU), were sold to Crane Bank, the fastest growing commercial bank in the country at that time.[14] In November 2012, the total number of commercial bank branches in the country reached 500.[15]

As of June 2012, the Bank of Uganda estimated the total banking assets in the country at Shillings 15.1 trillion (US$6.08 billion).[16] In June 2013, the Central Bank estimated the total of all commercial bank assets in the country at Shs:15.7 trillion (US$6.32 billion).[17] Those assets had increased to Sh18.6 trillion (US$6.695 billion), by 30 June 2014.[18]

Classification of financial institutions

Tier I Financial Institutions

This class includes commercial banks which are authorized to hold checking, savings and time deposit accounts for individuals and institutions in local as well as International currencies. Commercial banks are also authorized to buy and sell foreign exchange, issue letters of credit and make loans to depositors and non-depositors.[19]

Asset Allocation Among Commercial Banks As of December 2014.

It is estimated that asset allocation among the 25 operational Ugandan commercial banks, at that time, broke down as follows: The official exchange rate at 31 December 2014 was USh2,778 = US$1.00.[20]

Assets & Market Share Among Commercial Banks In Uganda
Rank Bank Assets (USD) Millions Market Share Number of Branches
1 Stanbic Bank 1,260 19.0% 91
2 Stanchart Uganda 936 14.0% 12
3 Crane Bank 620 9.3% 45
4 Centenary Bank 587 8.8% 62
5 DFCU Bank 513 7.7% 45
6 Barclays Bank 504 7.5% 43
7 Bank of Baroda 409 6.1% 15
8 Citibank Uganda 300 4.9% 01
9 Diamond Trust Bank 252 3.8% 32
10 Housing Finance Bank 220 3.5% 17
11 Bank of Africa 179 2.7% 37
12 Orient Bank 173 2.6% 20
13 Kenya Commercial Bank 131 2.1% 14
14 Equity Bank 123 2% 39
15 Imperial Bank Uganda 87 1.4% 05
16 Tropical Bank 84 1.4% 11
17 United Bank for Africa 60 1.0% 09
18 Ecobank 60 1.0% 11
19 NC Bank Uganda 56.5 0.8% 01
20 Finance Trust Bank 44 0.7% 33
21 Guaranty Trust Bank 40 0.7% 07
22 Cairo International Bank 30 0.5% 05
23 Bank of India (Uganda) 25 0.5% 01
24 Commercial Bank of Africa 19 0.3% 01
25 ABC Capital Bank 12.5 0.2% 02
Total Twenty Five 6,695 100.0 564[21]
  • The totals are slightly off due to rounding

Tier II Financial Institutions

This class includes Credit and Finance companies. They are not authorized to establish checking accounts or trade in foreign currency. They are authorized to take in customer deposits and to establish savings accounts. They are also authorized to make collateralized and non-collateralized loans to savings and non-savings customers:[22]

Tier III Financial Institutions

This class includes microfinance institutions which are allowed to take in deposits from customers in the form of savings accounts. Members of this class of institutions are also known as Microfinance Deposit-taking Institutions or MDIs. MDIs are not authorized to offer checking accounts or to trade in foreign currency.[24][25]

Tier IV Institutions

These institutions are not regulated by the Bank of Uganda. They are not authorized to take in deposits from the public. However, they may offer collateralized or non-collateralized loans to the public. In 2008, it is estimated that there are over 1,000 such institutions in the country.[27]

Development banks

Investment Banks & Stock Brokerage Firms

This is a list of investment banks and stock brokerage firms in Uganda[28] They are regulated by the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) and by the Uganda Securities Exchange.[29]

  1. African Alliance Investment Bank
  2. Baroda Capital Markets Uganda Limited
  3. Crane Financial Services Uganda Limited
  4. Crested Stocks and Securities Limited
  5. Dyer & Blair Investment Bank [30]
  6. Equity Stock Brokers Uganda Limited
  7. UAP Financial Services Limited
  8. Stanbic Financial Services Limited

Insurance companies

There are 25 insurance companies in Uganda, as of March 2010.

Foreign exchange bureaus

Other regulated financial institutions include 123 licensed foreign exchange bureaus, of which 92% are located in Kampala, the capital city and only 8% are located outside of Kampala.

Deposit insurance

The Deposit Insurance Scheme was established in 1994 and became operational in 1997. It is funded by premiums charged to every licensed deposit-taking financial institution in the country. Each account is protected to the tune of Uganda Shillings (UGX) 5 million (approx. US$2,000 in 2014).[31]

The Depositor Insurance Law was enacted by Parliament and states that all depositors must be paid within 90 days of a bank failure and the failing institution must be sold by the auctioning of its assets within six months of its seizure by the central bank. If the central bank determines that the failed institution will fetch a better economic return, if sold as a whole, then it will re-open under new ownership and management, provided the new owners and managers meet the approval of the Bank of Uganda.

Credit bureaux

In 2008, a credit reference bureau was established for the first time in Uganda. The bureau, Compuscan, based in South Africa, has subsidiaries in Botswana, Namibia, Rwanda and Uganda, with new ones planned in Kenya and Zambia.[32]

With improved credit risk assessment afforded by the credit bureau, new products including medium and long-term financing like car loans and mortgages have been introduced by most Ugandan commercial banks. As of April 2014, interest rates which were in the 20% to 30% range in the past, were down to as low as 10%, for the best customers at some banks.[33]

In March 2015, the Ugandan regulators licensed a second credit bureau, Metropol Credit Reference Bureau Limited, to become the second credit bureau in the country. Based out of Nairobi, Kenya, Metropol has operations in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.[34]

See also


External links

  • The First Bank In Uganda
  • Banking sector review 2013: And the winner is mobile money!
  • Uganda: Commercial Banks Reeling
  • Mixed Bag of Banking Stars:January 2014
  • Overview of Uganda's Banking Sector In September 2013
  • Ugandan Banks Swimming In Profits In 2011
  • Most Ugandan Banks Had A Profitable 2010
  • Overview of Uganda Banking Sector April 2010
  • Resurgence of Uganda's Banking Sector
  • UBA Uganda had US$77 million in Assets in 2008 & 130 Employees
  • Bank of Uganda Raises Minimum Capital For Commercial Banks From US$2 Million To US$12.5 Million (UGX:4 Billion To UGX:25 Billion)
  • Bank of Uganda Working To Establish Islamic Banking In 2012
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