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2018: Uganda’s 19 banks rake in UGX790bn profit; 5 banks still loss making



Banks’ profit performance in 2018

Nineteen (19) of Uganda’s 24 banks in 2018 earned a combined UGX790.3 billion (USD210.3 million) in profit, just about a 1% rise in the UGX786.4 billion made by 18 of the profitable banks in 2017.

Five banks in 2018 remained loss making, down from six in 2017. The loss making banks made a combined UGX39.4 billion in losses, nearly 3 times the UGX15.1 billion, the loss registered in 2017 as Guaranty Trust Bank and Exim Bank (formerly Imperial Bank) took in deeper losses.

Exim Bank’s losses deepened from UGX6 billion in 2017 to UGX16 billion in 2018, while Guaranty Trust Bank saw its loss position widen from UGX1.9 billion in 2017 to UGX10.1 billion in 2018.

The other loss making banks are Cairo International Bank, NC Bank and Tropical Bank.

Commercial Bank of Africa and ABC Capital which were in 2017 loss making turned profitable while NC Bank that was profitable in 2017, slid back into loss making. 

Central bank reigns in interest rates; curbs excess profits

It is believed the slowdown in profitability is associated with the central bank’s sustained pressure on interest rates that saw the Central Bank Rate (CBR) fall by 41.18% over the last 24 months.

In January 2016 the CBR was at 17% but ended December 2018 at 10%.

CBR is the rate of interest which a central bank charges on its loans and advances to commercial banks. Although it is not the only determinant of interest rates, it is a major driver of market rates. 

Also the central bank cut down on rates for its 91 Days, 182 Days and 364 Days Treasury bill from 18.22%, 19.79% and 19.74% respectively at the beginning of January 2016, closing December 2018 at 10.12%, 11.02% and 11.51%.

Subsequently average lending rates for UGX denominated loans followed suit, falling from an average 24.29% at the beginning of January 2016 to 20.28% in December 2017, and further closing December 2018 at 20.1%- altogether a 17% decline.

USD based lending rates also fell from 9.43% at the beginning of 2016, to 7.57% at the end of 2017, closing 2018 slightly higher, at 7.83%.

Although there was a general fall in the cost of deposits from an average 3.48% in 2016 to 2.79% in 2017 and finally 2.26% in 2018, overall interest margins for the banking industry came under pressure, declining from 12.81% in 2016, to 11.57% in 2017 and 11.1% in 2018, according to Bank of Uganda reports.

Net interest margins is a measure of the difference between the interest income generated by banks or other financial institutions and the amount of interest paid out to their lenders and or depositors, relative to the amount of their assets.

Lower interest margins hurt profitability and vice versa.

As a result of lower margins, industry incomes grew by a humble 3.3%; from UGX3.6 trillion in 2017 to UGX3.7 trillion in 2018. Dfcu Bank was the largest hit, experiencing a 21% decline in income; UGX410.6 billion in 2018 versus UGX520 billion in 2017.

Healthy sector fundamentals

Although profitability stagnated, the industry saw a 5.7% rise in assets from UGX26.6 trillion in 2017 to UGX28.2 trillion- adding a further UGX1.5 trillion in fresh assets.

This was largely driven by a 12% growth in lending- from UGX11.4 trillion to UGX12.7. Matter of fact 89.4% of the new assets (UGX1.4 trillion) was loans and advances)

The lending itself, other than the Central Bank’s expansionist monetary policy, was backed by an 8% rise in customer deposits- which grew from UGX18.2 trillion to UGX19 trillion.  

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Uganda’s insurance industry underwrote UGX856bn in 2018



(Left Right) Britam Insurance officials, Aida Mwebaze, Edward Nambaffu, Richard Mwebesa and Andrew Mujuni at a recent launch of Britam Window Glass Cover- a new product by the company. According to IRA, much of the industry growth in 2018 was led by innovations in products and distribution channels

The insurance industry in Uganda underwrote UGX856 billion (USD227.8 million) in 2018- that is UGX73.60 billion (USD19.6 million) more than the Shs782.4 billion (208.2 million) underwritten in 2017.

This is a 17.5% growth rate, compared to a 14.75% growth rate registered in 2017.

According to a release by the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA), the industry watchdog’s Chief Executive Alhaj Kaddunabbi Ibrahim Lubega non-life insurance business income grew from Shs507.2bn in 2017 to Shs570bn in 2018, life insurance business grew from Shs168bn in 2017 to Shs216.9billion in 2018.

Ayo Insurance’s Edwin Kwesiga (2nd Right) and Insurance Brokers Association of Uganda chair, Solomon Rubondo (Right) at the micro-insurance’s announcement of 1 million customers in June 2018. The company largely provides its services via mobile phones. According to IRA, mobile phone based insurance underwrote UGX5 billion.

Health Membership Organisations (HMO’s) grew from Shs52.7bn in 2017 to Shs69.1bn in 2018 and the licensed dedicated micro insurance organization underwrote Shs24.31million.

Non-life insurance accounted for 66.6% of industry premiums while life and HMOs account for 25.3% and 8.1% respectively.

Innovation-led growth

Kaddunabbi attributed the improved performance to the enhanced distribution channels like Bancassurance which generated Shs26bn and the use of mobile technologies generating Shs5bn.

The IRA has to-date licensed 17 commercial banks as Bancassurance Agents and a number of Insurance Companies have adopted the use of new technological platforms to provide insurance services.

IRA’s Alhaj Kaddunabbi Ibrahim Lubega (right) awards Stanbic Bank’s Patrick Mweheire, the first bancassurance license in October 2017. 14 months and 17 bancassurance licenses later, the new distribution channel has pulled in UGX26 billion in its first full year of operation. Even though just 3% of industry premiums, it is a promising sign of great things to come.

“This growth has also been attributed to the increased Agriculture insurance uptake with Central Region accounting for 39%, Western Region 38 %, Eastern Region 12% and Northern Region accounting for 11%”, said Kaddunabbi advising farmers to take up Agricultural insurance to protect themselves against agriculture related risks such a drought, excess rains etc. 

Government introduced the Agriculture Insurance subsidy to make Agriculture Insurance affordable to farmers and increase access to credit by protecting agriculture loans disbursed by financial institutions from the effects of specified risks in agriculture.

Insurance industry ready for oil & gas

Meanwhile the Insurance Consortium for Oil and Gas (ICOG), a co-insurance group currently made up of 14 locally licensed insurance companies have raised over $200m (sh745b) aggregated insurance capacity in readiness for  Uganda’s oil and gas industry.

The 14 companies are; APA Insurance, BRITAM, CIC General, Excel Insurance, Goldstar Insurance, Jubilee General Insurance, NIC General Insurance, NOVA Insurance, PAX Insurance, MUA Insurance, SANLAM, Statewide Insurance, TransAfrica Assurance and UAP Old Mutual General.

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Get your credit worthiness report on your phone with Metropol’s Crystobol Solution



Samuel Umukoko, the CEO of Metropol Credit Reference Bureau, speaks at Metropol Crystobol’s launch in Kampala, on Wednesday May 9th 2019

Metropol Credit Reference Bureau (MCRB) on Wednesday May 8th, 2019 launched its new product delivery platform code-named Metropol Crystobol.

A first of its kind in Uganda, Metropol Crystobol gives borrowers direct access and control of their credit information and other bureau products via mobile phones.

The service is available upon an easy mobile phone-based registration. To register, customers dial *243# on their mobile phones, for all networks, then key in their Financial Card number and follow the message prompts to complete registration.

According to Samuel Umukoko, the CEO of Metropol Credit Reference Bureau, registered members will then have easy access to any of the bureau’s four main products that include: Credit Reports, Listing Status, Metro-Score And Who Has Listed Me.

Umukoko said that the Metropol Crystobol will empower borrowers to “take control of their credit worthiness by allowing them easy access to affordable credit, negotiate favourable credit terms with lenders and above all, enjoy the freedom to choose their preferred lender

A Credit Report is a detailed account of one’s lifetime borrowing with all current credit providers and their performance in terms of repayment. The report is used by all lenders to determine loan approvals.

Upon registration, all customers will be entitled to a free annual credit report.

Clients will also be able to know their listing status as reported by their various lenders. Green means one has no credit history; black means one has a negative (default) credit history and lastly, Gold means one has a positive credit history.

Under the “Who Has Listed Me” service clients will be able to know the list of all the lenders who have contributed information about a client to Metropol Credit Reference Bureau.


The Metro-Score® according to Mr Umukoko, “measures one’s credit worthiness and the likelihood that they will meet their financial obligations.”

“The Metro Score has become the industry standard that all lenders use to assess borrower credit worthiness and is also used by lenders to determine appropriate interest rates to charge for various types of credit facilities. The Metro-Score ranges between 200 – 900, with 450 being the middle mark. Customers that score below 450 have marginal to poor credit quality while those that score above 450 have good to excellent credit quality,” explained Umukoko.

Empowering borrowers

Umukoko said that the Metropol Crystobol will empower borrowers to “take control of their credit worthiness by allowing them easy access to affordable credit, negotiate favourable credit terms with lenders and above all, enjoy the freedom to choose their preferred lender.”  

“This will significantly impact on the lender-borrower relations in the Ugandan market, where we shall see borrowers obtaining increased bargaining power by taking advantage of their positive credit profiles,” he said, in a statement. 

Metropol Credit Reference Bureau is a subsidiary of Metropol Corporation Limited, a data driven entrepreneurial company based in Nairobi, Kenya and which has been in existence for the past 23 years.

Metropol CRB was licensed by Bank of Uganda in 2015 and has been in operation since then. It receives credit data on a monthly basis from all the Bank of Uganda licensed financial Institutions and processes this data into credit reports and other value added solutions necessary for making sound credit decisions.  

The high cost of money still remains a major stumbling block to businesses and individuals alike.

Although the central Bank has over the last 24 months cut down the Central Bank Rate (CBR) by 41.18% from 17% in January 2016 to 10% at the end of December 2018, interest rates have not fallen by the same rates- only declining by 17% from an average 24.29% to 20.1% in the same period.

One the contributory factors to high interest rates is poor credit worthiness.

Consumer credit worthiness ignorance also makes it less likely for consumers to plan, budget and improve their credit scores.

Other than improving negotiating powers with lenders, having easy access to credit worthiness reports, especially via mobile phone will help consumers improve their credit ratings.

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Trillionaire’s Club: Inside 8 Uganda’s top banks running UGX22 trillion assets



The 8 biggest banks, in order of size- Stanbic Bank, Centenary Bank, dfcu Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Barclays Bank, Bank of Baroda, Equity Bank and DTB control UGX21.7 trillion (USD5.8 billion) in assets- or 77% of the industry's total assets, valued at (UGX28.2 trillion).

The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few), according to Wikipedia, states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

It has since become an axiom of business management that “80% of sales come from 20% of clients”.


Mathematically, it is generally believed that even many natural phenomena have been shown to empirically exhibit such a distribution- also known as the Pareto distribution!

Centenary Bank’s MD, Fabian Kasi (right) and Craft Silicon’s CEO Mr Kamal Budhabhatti (left) at the April 2018 launch of CenteMobile- a self service and instant loan product that lends instant loans via mobile for as low UGX. 5,000 up to a maximum of UGX. 2 million. The bank which has over 1.4 million customers is Uganda’s 2nd biggest lender with over UGX1.53 trillion lent out in 2018.

The Ugandan banking industry does not seem to be any different.

Meet Uganda’s 8 banks that control nearly 80% of the industry.

In order of size, they are Stanbic Bank, Centenary Bank, dfcu Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Barclays Bank, Bank of Baroda, Equity Bank and DTB.

All of them, with the exception of Centenary Bank are wither foreign owned or have majority foreign shareholders- but at least three; the top three are run by Ugandan CEOs.

UGX 21.7 trillion assets  

They eight banks, together control UGX21.7 trillion (USD5.8 billion) in assets- or 77% of the industry’s total assets, valued at (UGX28.2 trillion). All the other 16 banks, control only UGX6.5 trillion in assets, or 23% of the industry.

USD5.8 billion is equivalent to 21% of Uganda’s GDP estimated at USD27 billion in 2018.

The big asset growth was driven by increased lending, buoyed by reduced interest rates. Uganda’s 8 largest banks together command 78% of industry lending, and in 2018, increased their loan portfolio by 12.8% (UGX1.1 trillion) from UGX8.8 trillion to UGX9.9 trillion. Stanbic Bank, topped the big lenders club, having lent out UGX2.5 trillion in 2018 (19.7% market share). At UGX2.5 trillion lent out in 2018, Stanbic bank nearly lent out more money than all the other 16 banks combined- that lent out UGX2.8 trillion altogether.

In 2018 alone, the 8 giants, added UGX1.13 billion to their assets, accounting for 74% of the industry’s new assets valued at UGX1.53 trillion.  


Stanbic, the largest of them all, although it registered a UGX11.1 billion decline in assets, remained the country’s largest bank with a humongous UGX5.4 trillion in assets or 19.1% of total industry share.

To demonstrate the top-heavy structure of the Ugandan banking industry, Stanbic, the No.1 bank in assets (UGX5.4 trillion), has 87 times more assets than ABC Capital Bank, the 24th bank, which in 2018 had UGX61.7 billion!

Follow tweet and link above for a related story about Uganda’s most powerful bank CEOS.

In the No.2 position is the church-owned Centenary bank that in 2018 saw its assets grow by 17.2%, from UGX2.7 trillion to UGX3.2 trillion. Centenary bank controls 11.3% of the market share.

Standard Chartered Bank, in the 3rd position, controls UGX2.92 trillion in assets (10.4% market share) closely followed by dfcu Bank in the 4th position, with UGX2.88 trillion (10.3% market share).

Barclays, in the 5th place, controls UGX2.8 trillion worth of assets and 9.9% industry share.

Bank of Baroda and DTB Uganda in the 6th and 7th position, control UGX1.7 trillion and UGX1.6 trillion respectively, representing 6.1% and 5.7% market share.

Equity Bank, which entered the trillionaires club in 2017, having notched UGX1 trillion in assets then, in 2018, saw their assets increase by a further 14.3% or UGX147.1 billion, closing 2018 with UGX1.2 trillion and a market share of 4.2%.

Big lenders club

Together 8 banks command 78% of industry lending, and in 2018, increased their loan portfolio by 12.8% (UGX1.1 trillion) from UGX8.8 trillion to UGX9.9 trillion.

Again Stanbic Bank, tops the big lenders club, having lent out UGX2.5 trillion in 2018 (19.7% market share). At UGX2.5 trillion lent out in 2018, Stanbic bank nearly lent out more money than all the other 16 banks combined.

Although there was a general fall in the cost of deposits from an average 3.48% in 2016 to 2.79% in 2017 and finally 2.26% in 2018, the industry continued to see a growth in deposits. Between 2017 and 2018, deposits grew by 8% from UGX18.2 trillion in 2017 to UGX19.6 trillion. The big 8 controlled 78% of the industry deposits.

The 16 banks lent out UGX2.8 trillion altogether.

In the 2nd position is Centenary bank with UGX1.5 trillion and dfcu Bank with UGX1.4 trillion in the 2nd and third positions. Standard Chartered bank, Barclays and Bank of Baroda come in the 4th, 5th and 6th positions respectively, with UGX1.3 trillion, UGX1.2 trillion and UGX757.2 billion lent out in 2018.

Equity Bank and DTB bank are in the 7th and 8th positions respectively, having lent out UGX699.8 billion and UGX534.2 billion respectively

Customer deposits

The 8 banks in 2018 also run 78% of industry deposits, having grown their deposits portfolio by 7.2% or UGX1 trillion from UGX14.2 trillion to UGX3.9 trillion.

Again Stanbic, Centenary Bank, dfcu Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Barclays Bank, Bank of Baroda, DTB Uganda and Equity bank are the leaders in that order.

The Managing Director Barclays Bank, Mr. Rakesh Jha poses for a photo with fellow industry captains and diplomats at a Johnnie Walker whisky mentor-ship. The event, part of the Barclays Bank Consumer Rewards Program in partnership with Uganda Breweries’ Johnnie Walker Brand, attracted key stakeholders such as the US Ambassador to Uganda Deborah Ruth Malac, Indian High commissioner Shri Ravi Shankar, NSSF MD Richard Patrick Byaruhanga, South African High commissioner Prof.Maj. Gen Solly Mollo among others. The big 8, of which Barclays is among, picked up a fresh UGX1 trillion in 2018.

Stanbic, the biggest in deposits, took in a fresh UGX271.4 billion in customer deposits (a growth of 7.5%), reaching 3.9 trillion or 20% of industry deposits, closely followed by Centenary Bank with UGX2.3 trillion.

Although dfcu saw a reduction of UGX8.1 billion in deposits during 2018, it easily remained in the 3rd position with UGX1.97 trillion.

The industry is so top heavy that the top 5 banks in deposits, have more deposits (UGX11.9 trillion) than all the other 19 banks combined, who have UGX7.7 trillion.

Most profitable

Although the big 8 experienced a UGX9.7 billion decline in profits, they still controlled 90% of industry profits- taking in UGX676.5 billion in 2018, down from UGX686.2 billion in 2017.

The decline was largely caused by dfcu Bank which saw a 52% decline in profit, from UGX127.6 billion in 2017 to UGX61.7 billion in 2018.

Barclays also saw a 4.2% decline in profit, from UGX72bn to UGX69 billion in 2018

Stanbic bank, again led the pack with UGX 215.1 billion net profit or 28.7% of industry profit share.

With the industry nearly fully recovered from the 2016 crisis when Non-Performing Loans to total gross loans reached a record-breaking 10.47%- NPLS in 2018 were according to BoU at 3.41 %, the industry looks set to maintain this stability onwards throughout 2019.

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