Awards for Excellence 2020: Best bank in Myanmar
United Amara Bank
Christopher Loh has transformed UAB. Since joining in 2017 as chief executive, he has shaken up management and invested heavily in digital. In October 2019 the bank moved its head office from a decrepit building next to a highway in the Yangon suburbs to a gleaming new high-rise in the heart of Myanmar’s capital.
UAB splashes details of its funky new headquarters everywhere. The branch boasts facial recognition technology, an open workspace designed to encourage innovation and a Sony PlayStation for staff.
Of course, none of this would matter if UAB were unable to cut the financial mustard. Here, too, its success is undeniable. Net profit doubled in 2019 year on year, to K13.64 billion ($9.87 million), with total income up 35%, deposits up 10.8% and the bank’s loan book growing by 12.8%.
Its returns on equity and assets rose by a whopping 56.4% and 87% respectively over the period, with the bank’s capital adequacy ratio rising to 9%, from 7.9% a year earlier.
Loh has boosted net interest margins and profits while suppressing bad loans – the NPL ratio was below 5% in 2019 for the third straight year.
Over the awards period, UAB also signed partnerships with foreign institutions including insurer Manulife, Goethe University’s Frankfurt School and Singapore fintech firm Kashtec.