Just like many other businesses, 2020 was a bad year for the banking industry as the government’s resolution to close businesses to curb the spread of Covid-19 resulted into a sharp decline in business activity which negatively affected banking operations. 

Despite this, 19 banks out of 25 licensed commercial banks in Uganda managed to remain buoyant and eventually made profits of Shs 817.7 billion while five commercial banks, albeit small by their relative asset size in the industry, were loss-making, during the year ended December 2020.

In this feature, Kikubolane brings you the top ten Chief Executive Officers in Uganda’s banking industry who adopted innovative measures and new dimensions to optimize their respective companies’ fortunes despite the massive economic shocks brought about by the pandemic.

  1. Anne Juuko (CEO, Stanbic Bank Uganda)

Anne Juuko is the Chief Executive Officer and first woman to head Stanbic Bank, Uganda’s largest bank by assets and deposits.

Anne was appointed to the position in May 2020, after replacing Patrick Mweheire and at the helm of the bank, she has continued to lead Stanbic on the growth path.

Her appointment came in the midst of an unfavorable business environment impacted by Covid-19, which somehow ate into the banks’ profits.

Despite that, Anne managed to drive the bank through these turbulent times, maintaining Stanbic’s position as the largest commercial bank in Uganda.

At the helm of the bank, Stanbic’s assets increased by 28.87% to Shs8.57 trillion in 2020, up from Shs6.65 trillion registered a year earlier, controlling 22.45% market share.

One year in her position, loans and advances have also grown by 27% from Sh2.8 trillion a year earlier 2019 to Sh3.6 trillion by end of 2020 while customer deposits increased by 16% from Sh4.7 trillion in 2019 to Sh5.4 trillion in 2020.

Additionally, the bank made an investment of Sh3.9 billion (2020) in Corporate Social Investments for communities, a 70% increase from Sh2.3 billion invested in (2019).

Anne boasts over 21 years’ experience in banking started at Citibank Uganda in the 2000s, as Head of Fixed Income Currencies and Commodities. Between 2010 and 2012, she served at Citibank Kenya as Vice President, Customer Sales and Derivatives Marketing.

She joined Standard Bank Group, the parent company of Stanbic Bank, in June 2012, where she served as Head, Global Markets for the period leading up to December 2017.

In January 2018, Anne was transferred to Namibia to serve as Head of Corporate and Investment Banking at Standard Bank Namibia, serving there until she was appointed CEO, Stanbic Bank Uganda.

Anne holds Bachelor degree of Commerce from Makerere University as well as Master of Strategic Planning, from Heriot-Watt University Business School in Edinburgh, UK.

2. Fabian Kasi (Managing Director, Centenary Bank)

An accountant by profession, Fabian Kasi is the Managing Director of Centenary Bank, the second largest bank in the country.

After 11 years at the helm of Centenary Bank, the bank has grown to become the second most profitable bank in Uganda, holding on the position for two consecutive years.

Last year, Centenary Bank remained resilient through the effects of Covid-19 pandemic to record a 3.4% growth in net profit to Shs161.2bn for the year ended Dec. 2020.

With Kasi at the helm, the bank’s assets also grew by 26.12% to Shs4.49 trillion in 2020, up from Shs3.56 trillion in 2019, translating into giving 11.76% industry market share. 

Last year was the first time the bank’s assets crossed the Shs 4 trillion mark since it was established in 1983.

Customer deposits also steadily increased by 23.9% from Shs 2.53 trillion in 2019 to Shs 3.13 trillion in 2020.

Kasi boasts over 18 years’ experience in executive banking started in 2002 at FINCA Uganda Limited, as Executive Director.

In August 2010, he was appointed as the managing director and chief executive officer of Centenary Bank, where he still serves.

Kasi is also well learned. He graduated with Bachelor’s degree of Commerce and Accounting from Makerere University. He also attained Masters of Business Administration from University of Newcastle.

3. Raj Kumar Meena (Managing Director, Bank of Baroda)

Despite many banks having seen reductions in profits, 2020 wasn’t a bad year for Bank of Baroda as far as profit making is concerned as the bank remained resilient to achieve a 84.04% growth in profits to Shs83.37 billion in 2020, compared to Shs45.3 billion in the previous year.

As it stands, Baroda is the 3rd most profitable bank in Uganda controlling 10.74% of the industry profit market share.

Bank of Baroda’s net profit increased by 84.04% to Shs83.37bn in 2020, up from Shs45.3bn in 2019. Profitability was attributed to earnings from fees and commission which increased from Shs15.6bn to Shs16.3bn in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

On the other hand, the bank’s non-performing loans increased from Shs10.1 billion in 2019 to Shs11.7 billion in 2020.

In the driving seat of Baroda’s significant growth is Mr. Raj Kumar Meena, the Managing Director, who joined the bank in April 2020. 

Meena possesses more than 29 years of banking experience started in 1992 in Baroda’s parent bank, Bank of Baroda, India.

Before that, he served as the Regional Head of the Udaipur Region in India, where he managed 101 branches.

4. Albert Saltson (CEO, Standard Chartred Bank Uganda)

Albert Saltson is the Chief Executive Director of Standard Chartered Bank, the 4th most profitable bank in Uganda.

Despite Stanchart’s net profit having reduced by 41.57% to Shs72.8 billion in 2020 from Shs124.6 billion in 2019, the bank still controls 9.38% of the industry’s profits.

In 2020, the bank also managed to stay buoyant during the Covid-19 impacted year with customer deposits growing by 27.1% to Shs 2.7 trillion while assets hit Shs 3.8trillion by end of 2020.

The bank’s interest from investment securities also increased from Shs95bn in 2019 to Shs113bn in 2020. Meanwhile, foreign exchange income increased from Shs31bn to Shs38bn.

Behind this success is Albert who boasts over 15 years’ experience in the banking industry 

Albert joined Standard Chartered in 1987 as a management trainee. Prior to his current role, Albert held a variety of senior management positions across Africa, including Chief Executive Officer, Sierra Leone, Head of Consumer Banking, Zambia and Executive Director of Consumer Banking, Ghana. 

Albert holds a BA (Hons), Diploma in Management, MBA (International Banking) and Certificates in General Management from Oxford University and INSEAD.

5. Samuel Kirubi (CEO Equity Bank)

Since 2015, when Samuel Kirubi joined Equity Bank as CEO, the bank has been steadily trailing the big market players to now becoming the 5th most profitable bank.

In 2020, the bank registered a massive 55.41% growth after posting Shs57.86 billion in profit compared to Shs37.23 billion posted in 2019. 

In terms of assets, Equity under Kirubi posted the 7th largest assets in the industry after posting Shs2.069 trillion in 2020, up from Shs1.62 trillion in 2019. This translates into 5.42% industry market share.

6. Mumba Kalifungwa  (Managing Director, Absa Bank Uganda)

Mr Mumba Kalifungwa has been the Managing Director for Absa Bank Uganda since April 1, 2020.

He succeeded Mr. Nazim Mahmood, who had held the position on an interim basis since July 2019, leading the organisation through a brand transition from Barclays Bank to Absa.

Despite a tough year owing to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kalifungwa led the bank to achieve total revenue of shs316 billion and profit after tax of shs41 billion. 

The bank also witnessed an 8.1% growth in customer deposits amounting to shs2.4 trillion, maintaining a 12% compounded annual growth rate for the third year running.

The bank also achieved capital ratio of 23.9% way above the regulatory requirement of 12%.

Mr Kalifungwa is a Chartered Accountant and seasoned organisational leader having over 25 years post-qualifying experience across banking, public and private sectors.

He has held various positions within the Group, most recently he served as Chief Financial Officer for Absa Bank Botswana Limited since 2015. Prior to that, he was the Chief Financial Officer for our operations in Zambia.

He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants (ZICA). He also holds an MBA from Herriot Watt University, Scotland and has attended various senior leadership development programs over the years.

7. Sarah Arapta  (CEO Citibank)

Sarah Arapta is the Chief Executive Director of Citibank, the 7th most profitable bank.

At the helm of Citibank, the bank posted Shs36.7bn profit in 2020, down from Shs39.5 billionn recorded a year earlier. 

Arapta controlls over 4.73% of the industry’s market share.

Before joining Citibank, Arapta was employed at Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited for a period of nearly five years. She started there as the Head Corporate Banking before becoming the Head of Investment Banking. 

She transferred to Barclays Bank of Uganda in January 2014 as the Director of Corporate and Investment Banking, serving in that capacity for one year and six months. In January 2016, she was appointed managing director and CEO of Citibank Uganda.

Sarah Arapta is member of the five-person executive committee of the Uganda Bankers Association, where she serves as the Chief Auditor.

She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Makerere University.

8. Mathias Katamba (CEO, dfcu Bank)

Spanning over 15 years of experience in banking and finance, Mr Katamba is the Chief Executive Officer of dfcu Bank.

In 2020, Katamba grew the bank’s deposit base by 27% from Shs 2,039 billion in 2019 to Shs 2,595 billion by end of 2020.

On the other hand, the asset base increased by 18% from Shs 2,958 billion to Shs 3,499 billion, upheld by strong growth in liquid assets as well as  loans and advances.

Before joining dfcu, Katamba served as CEO at Housing Finance Bank for four years between 2014 and 2018.

Between 2006 and 2011, he served as CEO at Uganda Finance Trust now Finance Trust Bank  

In the 5 years, opened 9 branches, increasing the number of branches from 12 to 30, grew deposits 4 times, expanded the loan book 3 times, more than doubled the total assets and launched ATMs, Western Union and Mobile money transfers. In the same period improved loan portfolio quality from a PAR of 24% to 3.5%.

Before that, he was at Pride Microfinance Ltd as Head of Business Development running of PU’s network of 28 branches, over 200 staff, over 60,000 clients and the largest microfinance loan book in the country at the time i.e. overall management of people, processes, results and customers.

Katamba holds Master of Science in Financial Management  obtained from the University of East London, in the UK. 

He also holds the postgraduate Diploma in Public Relations, awarded by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), another UK institution. 

Over the years, he has attended advanced leadership courses from several institutions, including Harvard Kennedy School.

9. Micheal Mugabi (Managing Director Housing Finance Bank)

Michael Mugabi, is a Ugandan lawyer and corporate executive, who serves as the managing director of Housing Finance Bank (HFB), a commercial and mortgage bank.

At HFB, he controls the largest mortgage lending in the country, accounting for about 60 percent of all mortgage loans.

In 2020, Mugabi tremendously grew the bank’s asset base by 22% to Shs1.11 trillion up from Shs912.2bn recorded in 2019. 

This places the bank over the 1trillion shillings mark, a feat achieved by very few banks, let alone HFB being the only indigenous bank in this class.

Furthermore, HFB registered phenomenal increases in its operating income by22%, customer deposits by 17% and growth in net income by 17%. 

Additionally, bank’s loans advanced to customers slightly reduced to Shs551billion, representing a 0.5% decline. The bank however still made a net profit of Shs. 20.6bn, placing it among the top 10 best performing banks in the country.

Mugabi graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree. He followed that with a Diploma in Legal Practice, obtained from the Law Development Centre, in Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. 

He was then admitted to the Uganda Bar as a practicing attorney.

His degree of Master of Laws in commercial and corporate law, was obtained from the University of London. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA).

Prior to his present position, Mugabi was an executive director at Housing Finance Bank. He served as director of operations at the bank. Before that, he was the Company Secretary and Head of Legal services at the institution. 

He also previously served as Head Human Resources at HFB. He was appointed in Acting Capacity, to replace Mathias Katamba, who resigned to assume the position of Chief Executive Officer at DFCU Bank.

10. Varghese Thambi (CEO Diamond Trust Bank Uganda)

A senior banker with about 43 years of experience in the Indian and African banking industry, Mr. Varghese Thambi, was appointed as Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Diamond Trust Bank Uganda Limited (DTBU) in July 2007. 

14 years on, as the CEO of DTB, Thambi has grown the bank’s asset base by 3.09%  to Shs1.77 trillion in 2020, up from Shs1.717 trillion in 2019 translating to market share of 4.64%.

DTB was also able to write off bad debts worth 31.7 billion in 2020 compared to 23.8 billion the previous year.

Prior to joining DTB, Thambi served as Senior Vice President and Head of Retail Banking of Indusind Bank, Mumbai for 12 years Dhanalakshmi Bank for 19 years in various capacities.

Mr. Thambi is a Graduate from St.Thomas College Thrissur and he has done his Post Graduate Diploma in Cyber Laws from NALSAR University Hyderabad.

He is also an Honorary Fellow of Uganda Institute Banking and Financial Services and served as on the Board of (UIB FS) from 2008 to 2014. He was also rated as the Best Indian CEO by India Business Forum, Uganda in 2015.