James M. Kaboggoza has been the chief executive officer of The Uganda Institute of Banking and Financial Services since 2008. He spoke to The Independent’s Julius Businge about the institute and the financial industry.

The Uganda Institute of Banking and Financial Services; what is that?

We are a leading provider of training, consultancy, and information services for Uganda’s financial sector. Starting in 1967 as a local centre of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, UK, we recently became autonomous.

Comprising bankers, ordinary individuals, and students, we have over the years, dedicated ourselves to offer resourceful services, including our library, conducting public lecturers, and publish several magazines about the industry.

We also run bankers social events, sports galas, and dinners to positively impact on the banker’s life and the industry. When I joined in 2008 most of these things had stalled and I have tried to revamp them using money got from trainees and members’ annual subscription.

Who are your target customers?

Bankers are our major clients. We also give priority to other people who have trained in different fields but want to become bankers.

How do you rate the professional standards of our banking industry?

Standards are okay but haven’t reached the desired mark. We commend the work being done by the Uganda Bankers Association (UBA) to eliminate bankers who lack professional ethics. It has disciplined and suspended many.

And the banking industry; how is it doing?

It’s vibrant. We have 25 commercial banks alongside microfinance institutions and all are competitive. Bank managers have to look for unique products and ways to survive and also benefit their clients. We know clients are not many and so players have to design products that are pro-people. There is no choice for them. Those that haven’t gone deep in rural areas, have to think of the best way to do it. That will help the sector grow.

Where do you see major gaps in the industry?

Some bankers do not want to train in skills. They should come to us and train. Some banks are fond of poaching trained staff of other banks which hurts those banks who have invested in training. This sector thrives on trust. That means you need professional staff.

How should formal financial institutions respond to the competition from informal money lenders?

That is a major problem facing the licensed financial institutions. They need to do exactly what money lenders do. Offer services faster say by cutting on the time of processing loans so that it is convenient for the customer. They have to find a profitable way of establishing themselves in most places where these services are needed. But they need to be very careful because this industry is a risky venture.

How do you see the future of the institute?

We want to modernise the institute through information and communication technologies; implement e-learning programs to offer online programs to reduce the burden of those far from our training centres and those outside Uganda to be able to benefit from our services.

I am told being a CEO of an institute like this is not an easy task…

It is not an easy task indeed. You need to be very serious, give time to the institution, and labour to understand it. The CEO represents the board that wants you to implement their decision. Gone are the days when CEOs had to delegate most of the work. You need to be innovative and bring new ideas on board, motivate staff, and hold them together.

Your last word…

I would like to invite people to take up courses in the institute so that the industry is run by well trained and professional people. Those on the streets looking for what to do and those banks that haven’t bothered to train their staff should look at us as trainers capable of adding value to their business.
From The Independent News