The Uchumi Commercial Bank (UCB) has clicked 10 years since its establishment with shareholders getting about 1bn/- in dividends. UCB Board Chairman, Mr Wilson Ndesanjo, said that the bank that was established in September 2005 with a 372m/- capital is now worth 4.6bn/-.
Mr Ndesanjo said the bank owned by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania, Northern Diocese (ELCT-ND) has one branch in Siha District and plans others in Kilimanjaro Region.
He said many customers and shareholders were happy with the bank’s operations as they realise fruits of what they sowed so that it was necessary to expand the bank hall to meet demands of customers.
The bank now covers the area that was used as a bookshop in the ELCT-ND owned building. The chairman said while in 2009 the dividend issued to shareholders was eight per cent, last year it was 10.5, saying not many banks were used to issue such a huge dividend.
The chairman said the deposits rose from the initial amount of 336m/- to 16.4bn this year, while loans offered reached 30bn/- to 10,500 customers. He noted that while in 2007 the profit was 151m/- as of August 31st this year it reached 688m/-.
Gracing the occasion, ELCT-ND Head, Bishop Dr Fredrick Shoo hailed achievements of the bank, attributing the trend to dedication and competency of staff and members of the board.
He said improvement must be made in regard to capital to excel in competition with other banks. He said the diocese has set up a strategic plan to guarantee an increase in purchase of shares before the end of the year.
He recognised and issued awards to founders of the bank, including staff that were with the bank since its establishment.
The retired ELCT-ND Bishop, Dr Martin Shao, speaking on behalf of the founders, said it was difficult to establish the financial institution, with some people saying it was next to impossible. “We marched on and now we can tell them: “Come and see”.
They were very doubtful how the Church could run a financial institution and make profit. “They thought a bishop would go in and draw any amount money in times of need. We are disciplined and we have shown that to the world,” he said.
UCB’s main focus is to work with organized grassroots economic groups that have hitherto been largely under-banked, principally individuals running small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Northern Tanzania.
It provides friendly state of the art commercial banking services to multi-cultural customers.
The bank also supports the re-emergence of financially sustainable Savings and Credit Societies (SACCOs) through extensive network of parishes with a view to address the needs of hundreds of thousands of the poor in Northern Tanzania, irrespective of their religious beliefs.
Originally published on DailyNews Tanzania