For long, Uganda’s number one spot in the banking sector has been awarded to the financial institution with the biggest net profit (profit after tax) and bank assets.

On 21st October 2016, Uganda’s once mighty local bank; failed Crane Bank, third largest by bank assets was placed under statutory management by Bank of Uganda. A bank that had won numerous Euromoney excellence awards was on the spotlight due to management’s failure to compile with the minimum capital requirements.

On 27th January 2017, dfcu Bank acquired some assets and liabilities of failed Crane Bank and the rest is now history. In June 2017, dfcu Limited posted record-high first-quarter profits. In the first half of 2017 profits before tax amounted to Ugx. 151 billion—two-and-a-half times more than in December 2016 and the highest ever for the period. Similarly, half year 2017 profits at Stanbic Bank slumped by 11% to Ugx. 95billion as of 30 June 2017. On this basis, one would easily conclude that dfcu Bank is Uganda’s top bank by the look of figures.

To provide an insightful ranking, Summit Business took into consideration of ten broad categories. These are financial performance; quality of employment to locals; automation; financial inclusion initiatives; business model; community shared values and impact; transparency in pricing; product offering & information; loan portfolio mix; and governance.

The ranking is calculated based on the relative performance of the above factors. The scores are then compiled and weighted to provide a score of 1–100, where 1 is considered intolerable and 100 is considered ideal. The bank ranking is provided both as an overall score and as a score for each category.

The rise of the superstars

Trying to work which are Uganda’s best banks has been on assessed on the criteria of bank assets and net profits. This basis gave a rise of the superstars in the banking sector. In 2012, combined banks assets of only six banks controlled 65% of the entire banking sector assets.


Percentage (%)




Stanbic Bank



Standard Chartered



Barclays Bank



Crane Bank



Centenary Bank










Bank assets of the six banks controlled 65% and 64.2% of the total bank assets in 2012 and 2013 respectively. In 2013, Stanbic Bank, Standard Chartered and Barclays saw their profits dip by 22.11%, 26% and 41% respectively to Ugx. 101.8bn, Ugx. 97.6bn and Ugx. 47.2.

Since 2014, Uganda’s banking sector has been characterised by bank closures and acquisitions. Dfcu bank alone took over some assets and liabilities of the failed Global Trust Bank and Crane Bank in 2014 and 2017 respectively. Similarly, Exim Bank acquired Imperial Bank Uganda in 2016. The weak financial institutions were blown away by the turbulent water waves.

However, some have withstood the tough economic times and won numerous awards – thus the rise of the giants. Stanbic Bank was been named the Best Bank in Uganda in the 2016 Euromoney Excellence Awards held on 6th July 2016 in  London. But to win the shiniest medals, you need to have come under fire. In the heat of battle, does your bank for which you are the chairman of the board come off best?

The scores

With capital requirements by Bank of Uganda almost under control following Crane Bank incidence, the puzzle for bank CEOs is profitability. This calls for a clearly articulated strategy on how the bank will approach and attack the market.

Banks like United Bank of Africa (UBA), NC Bank, ABC Capital Bank, Citi Bank and now Standard Chartered Bank are concreting much of their efforts in booming urban centre. Standard Chartered for example closed the Arua branch as it was a loss making branch. This comprises the promise of financial inclusion and awareness as profit driven motive remains the biggest agenda for CEOs.

Thanks to microfinance institutions like Post Bank Uganda that have gone an extra mile of using mobile vans to extend financial services to the unbanked rural areas. This is where the ranking criteria got most banks off guard. Although some banks are predominantly run by expatriates at the expense of the locals, their bank assets and profits have dived. Why are such a mediocre bunch fast rising?

The methodology

To create the list of the best-performing banks in the Uganda, Summit Business began came up with ten broad categories. These are further subdivided into fields and awarded weights (scores). Weights are allocated according to the critically of the factor in the sector.

We identified each bank’s current managing and their performance in the last two financial years. To make sure that we had reliable data and focused on long-term performance, we engaged all banks to provide feedback. All told, we ended up with best and worst performing banks. In this issue, Summit Business brings you the worst five (5) performing banks.

United Bank of Africa

United Bank of Africa (UBA), a Nigerian owned bank opened its doors in the second quarter in 2008. At the time, the banking sector had 17 banks and assets were valued at Ugx. 6.45billion.

After eight of loss making, UBA finally broke even in 2016 with a profit after tax of Ugx. Ugx2.6 billion in contrast to a loss of Ugx4.3 billion recorded in 2015. Total incomes recorded by UBA Uganda increased from Ugx24 billion in 2015 to Ugx29.7 billion in 2016, a trend mainly spurred by strong growth related to interest earned from government securities in addition to revenues attributed to fees and commission incomes. Total interest earned from treasury bills and bonds grew from Ugx8.4 billion to Ugx8.8 billion mark recorded in 2016.

Despite the flourish statistics, UBA came in at #24 out of the 24 banks based on the Summit Business magazine parameter ranking. The bank has no identifiable flagship CSR projects, which is a key factor in our ranking.

ABC Capital Bank

ABC Capital Bank operations in Uganda can be traced as way back as 1993. “The institution started as a deposit taking financial institution then trading by the name Capital Finance Corporation Limited,” reads a statement on the bank’s website. The bank operates on two branches, one at Colline House and Avemar Shopping Center, Luwum Street. These are only two branches the bank has had since inception.

ABC Capital Bank Limited Uganda was licensed by Bank Of Uganda as a commercial bank on 26th February 2010. The bank registered a net profit of Ugx. 815m as at 31st December 2016. The bank has since held its business operations only in Kampala and with a limited branch network of only two branches. This excludes the Central bank’s promise of financial inclusion given that the bank has no strong mobile and internet banking. ABC Capital bank comes in at number #23 out of the 24 banks.

NC Bank

In the third quarter of 2012, Bank of Uganda welcomed a new entrant in the banking sector; NC Bank. The bank originates from Kenya. Against this background, NC Bank thought it would have smooth operations in the market evidenced by high profit margins. However, the story has been different.

NC Bank’s profit after tax as at 31st December 2016 stood at Ugx. 562m, a 48.2% decline from Ugx. 1.o6b registered in 2015. NC Bank came in at position #22 out of the 24 banks.

Guaranty Trust Bank

Since inception, Guaranty Trust Bank (GT Bank) has remained in red raising serious questions about their turnaround strategies. Guaranty Trust Bank saw its losses fall from Ugx5 billion to Ugx900 million in 2016.

GT Bank (Uganda) is a subsidiary of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), a Nigerian financial services conglomerate. Many Nigerian owned businesses have not been spared in Uganda. No wonder banks like United Bank of Africa scored poorly in the ranking. GT Bank came in at number #21 out of the 24 banks.

Exim Bank

What do you do with excess loanable money in a country where interest rates are low? You loan out the money to countries where the demand is high and interest rates are high. This saw Exim Bank express its interest in Ugandan market through acquisition of Imperial Bank in March 2016.

However, since inception, Exim Bank has been in the red. In 2016, Exim Bank registered a loss of Ugx. 4.1bn for the period ended 31st December 2016.

Exim Bank has been at the helm of financing heavy infrastructural projects. Government of Uganda plans to borrow US$2.3bn from the Chinese Export and Import Bank (EXIM) for the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR). After the scores, Exim Bank emerged as #20




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