Housing Financial Bank officials and their guests in a group photo after the launch of Hoima City branch
The Bank of Uganda (BoU), the regulator of the banking sector, has applauded Housing Finance Bank (HFB) for officially opening its 18th branch in Hoima ‘Oil’ City, saying the move is strategic. The launch was graced by Hannington Wasswa, Director of Commercial Banking at the Bank of Uganda, Dr. Fred Kabagambe-Kaliisa, Senior Presidential Advisor on oil, gas, and minerals Industries, among other dignitaries from the district leadership, the religious and business community.
On behalf of the Bank was the Managing Director Michael K. Mugabi, The Executive Director Peace Ayebazibwe and members of senior management team. The event took place on Wednesday at the new branch Plot 45 – 57 Fort Portal Road, Bunyoro Kitara Building.
Hannington Wasswa, the Director Commercial Banking at BoU, who delivered the speech of the Chief Guest, Michael Atingi-Ego, the BoU Deputy Governor, applauded HFB for implementing a growth and expansion program aimed at broadening the reach and delivery of banking services to the Ugandan public.
“Hoima City and its surroundings have great economic growth and development potential. The region is at the forefront of Uganda’s oil exploration activities with projected growth in various economic sectors such as tourism, construction, trade and commerce. This makes the location of this branch well suited for Housing Finance Bank’s drive to extend banking services to large, medium and small-sized business enterprises. It is indeed the perfect opportunity for the Bank to serve the community by supporting local businesses through providing the much-needed financial services that meet the population’s diverse needs,” Wasswa said.
He added that the bank should have ‘mutually’ beneficial relationships with the customers in Hoima City and the surrounding districts.
He revealed that Housing Finance Bank has 941 agents and 29 ATMs spread across the country which customers can use conveniently.
He added that Housing Finance is a strong financial institution boasting of Shs1.63 trillion in total assets and Shs1.1 trillion in customer deposits as of December 2022.
“The bank has capacity to meet the needs of existing and potential new customers,” he said.
Wasswa also tipped Ugandans on how they can enjoy borrowing from financial institutions.
“Before you borrow, first make a saving. Get clear information before taking on a loan. Customers should take advantage of the financial literacy training programs,” he said, adding that customers should also endeavour to repay the loans once they borrow.
“Borrow to create employment,” he said. He also noted that although technology has made banking easy, customers and financial institutions should be wary of cyber risks it comes with.
He urged customers to safeguard their PINs (Personal Identification Numbers). He also asked financial institutions to put in place robust risk management processes and educate customers about the risks associated with online banking.
Speaking at the same event, Michael K. Mugabi, the Managing Director at Housing Finance Bank, expressed his delight about opening their 18th branch in Hoima City as a new chapter in the Bank’s history.
He said: “This is an exciting milestone for us as a bank and a significant stride towards our core purpose of providing convenient, affordable, relevant, and empowering solutions to the people of Uganda. The Hoima branch is an extension of our commitment to providing exceptional service and being a trusted financial partner in everything we do. We will strive to deliver on that promise every day of our stay here.”
He added that Housing Finance Bank is an indigenous bank largely owned by the Government of Uganda and the 5th most profitable bank in Uganda as of December 2022.
“This is your bank; that’s why we listen to customers and provide customized solutions. You can’t be indigenous when you are not listening to Ugandans,” he said, adding: “Our mandate is to enable home ownership and financial independence. Everyone should have a roof over their head. That’s why we came up with the Incremental Housing Loan (Zimba Mpola Mpola loan) for the low-income earners.”
He said that the bank is ready to play a key role in the Parish Development Model Programme by working with SACCOs and saving groups.
“We are already working with over 300 SACCOs across the country. Let SACCOs bank with us. We shall offer you financial literacy as your trusted financial partner,” he said.
He told guests that the bank recently embarked on a journey towards becoming a sustainability–certified bank. The certification awarded by Sustainability Standards and Certification (SSCI) is given after a comprehensive evaluation of the bank’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices.
“This is aimed at leaving communities better,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, the Presidential Advisor on Oil and Gas, Dr. Fred Kaliisa, congratulated HFB for “making their mind to come to Hoima.”
As a loyal customer of the bank, Kaliisa said he started urging the bank to open a branch in Hoima in 2006.
“I have been a customer of Housing Finance Bank since 1995. I’m currently going through my 5th (loan) facility,” Kaliisa said, adding that the bank has played a key role in the success of his businesses.
He owns Miika Eco Resort Hotel in Hoima, Miika Seeds and Albetine water among other businesses. He said he now employs over 200 people.
He described the bank as convenient, trustworthy and people-centred.
Kaliisa said the bank’s decision to open a branch in Hoima City, Bunyoro’s flagship city, is worth it because “Hoima is a hot potato” that is growing very fast.