“Project Alpha, as far as UBA is concerned, is an initiative that will relaunch us into our dominant leadership position in Nigeria and also propel us to a leading position in Africa. Today UBA operates in 19 African countries, and the countries outside Nigeria were actually set up within a relatively short period of time between 2008 and 2011,” UBA group managing director Phillips Oduoza told CNBC Africa on Wednesday.
“Out of these 18 countries, only two of them are brown fields. When we were expanding rapidly, there was so much stress on Nigeria because when you are a rapid growth phase, you find that there is a tendency for you to just leave the business as usual but focus on certain of those footprints.”
Project Alpha will assist the group in becoming the number one bank in Nigeria in terms of profitability and service, and plans to use the 19 countries to enhance its status in the local and continental banking industry.
Key attributes of the project include rapid growth in the accounts’ number pace, where UBA, which currently has 7 million customers, plans to double the number.
Dormant accounts will also be reactivated and a rollout of electronic banking products will be instituted. The project will be a three-year process of improvement.
“We also decided that we need to strengthen the top management as well, and we hired somebody to now focus essentially on the Nigerian businesses. We have another person driving the African businesses. UBA is probably the only bank today that has human resources elevated to the executive director’s status. These are the key tenets of Project Alpha,” said Oduoza.
“As we move towards the destination, there are some key milestones we should’ve achieved, for instance the total deposit we’re supposed to have, the level of risk asset profitability and so on.”