Celebrating 60 Years of Transforming Lives and Businesses: A Message from dfcu Bank CEO

On 14th May, dfcu Bank commemorated its 60th anniversary! Sixty years is no mean feat for any organisation and dfcu boasts of many accomplishments and tremendous growth achieved over the past six decades. Charles M Mudiwa, CEO of dfcu Bank lauds Sector Specialisation, championing entrepreneurship, digitalisation, and investment in human capital as key factors for the organisation’s success and longevity.

QN 1: The banking industry has evolved since the bank’s inception in 1964. How has dfcu Bank adapted to these changes?

The Financial Sector and Banking Industry have undergone major transformations that range from technological advancements to regulatory changes. By embracing innovation, being prepared for our customers’ needs and prioritising the professional development of our staff, we have created a powerful, locally relevant brand that continues to deliver on our brand purpose and customer promise.

The advancement of technology across all spheres of life has altered the way individuals and businesses do their banking. We are more equipped than ever to streamline our operations, reduce costs and improve the speed and accuracy of our services.

QN 2: How has dfcu pushed the boundaries in the industry if at all, and how have they contributed to the bank’s legacy in Uganda?

We are proud of our track record which is made up of pioneer financial products that funded the start of Ugandan manufacturing giants. These include Nytil, Uganda Cement Industries (now known as Hima Cement), Grain Milling, Uganda Distillers, and many others.

At a time when the Hotel Industry in Uganda was finding its footing, dfcu supported this growth with significant equity in Uganda Hotels Group – the largest investment in the hospitality sector in the ‘60s. Mweya Safari Lodge, in Queen Elizabeth National Park: Part of the Uganda Hotels Group, is one of the projects in the hospitality industry supported by dfcu in the 60s.

In 2007, we launched the dfcu Women in Business Program – the first of its in Uganda and designed to create an enabling environment for Small and Medium Scale women entrepreneurs. In 2015, we opened the dfcu Women in Business Advisory Center – another singularly unique innovation. Through this Center, we continue to provide specially-created financial services to women at each stage of entrepreneurship.

dfcu is known for pioneering Investment Clubs in Uganda. Our Investment Club and SACCO initiative has over 33,000 groups whom we empower with financial literacy as well as product innovation, to support their goals to grow their savings and investments.

We reach over 10,000 Farmer groups through our Agri-Business Development Centre (ADC) with technical assistance, value chain development as well as Entrepreneurship and Agribusiness Incubation. Most recently, we recorded a total count of 230 graduates from our SME Business Accelerator Program carried out in partnership with ADC.

For 6 decades, dfcu has transformed several private enterprises in Uganda using our flagship products like term loans, home loans, commercial mortgages, and leasing.

Our 60-year celebration is a collection of triumphant moments across a wide range of sectors that we have enabled and been a part of over time. These include agribusiness, communication, education, agriculture, health, manufacturing, tourism, real estate, mining, construction, transport, trade, and commerce. Our services, products and solutions have founded and reshaped entire industries. If history were to judge us, we would be found front, centre and beside the very core of Uganda’s economic transformation.

QN3: dfcu Bank has been applauded for its tailormade products and services with initiatives such as the dfcu Women in Business Program and products like the dfcu Investment Clubs. What plans does the Bank have to invent more novel solutions?

Innovation is a key driving force for us and is at the core of what we do. We have been intentional about harnessing the power of digital advancements and new technologies both in the way our teams work plus how we serve our customers. Additionally, we have recruited Digital and Innovation Teams whose mandate is to create new products and enhance existing ones, as we endeavour to meet our customers’ needs. These teams don’t work in silos – we have fostered a culture of collaboration, encouraging cross-functional teams to work together in the delivery of diverse solutions.

By listening to our customers’ hopes and understanding their challenges, we have been able to identify opportunities for invention. Countrywide, we have deployed Smart ATMs that function 24 hours a day and have money-depositing functionalities.

Through our mobile banking platform, customers can open secondary accounts within minutes and carry out transactions within the same timeframe. Our online banking platform is available on USSD, mobile and desktop – enabling individual and business customers to transact at any time and anywhere around the world.

We are determined to enable financial inclusion and the growth of local businesses through partnerships and initiatives such as the Annual Best Farmers Competition which provides capacity building for farmers across Uganda. We will continue to innovate for functionality, the changing times, and our customers’ needs.

QN 4: In a competitive industry, what sets dfcu Bank apart?

In Uganda, dfcu Bank has a unique viewpoint that is the result of our longstanding existence, matched by our long line of successes. We have transformed agribusiness, banking for women, support for local SMEs and digital banking. Despite several phases of evolution, we remain the Bank of choice for our customers because we serve with integrity, offer personalised service, and positively contribute to the communities we serve.

We are involved, committed, adaptive and at our core, truly Ugandan. The way we manage our customer relations has also changed – today, we offer customised support through our uniquely qualified Relationship Managers. This way, we ensure that customers receive support that is crafted to meet their unique needs.

As we mark 60 years of offering transformative financial services, we remain indebted to the confidence of our customers, the long-term trust of our regulators and the effective leadership of the Government of the Republic of Uganda.

QN 5: Looking ahead, what do the next 60 years look like for dfcu?

At this moment, our future starts with a sense of gratitude for this achievement. We have stood the test of time, solidified our presence, contributed to the wellbeing of both our staff and communities and managed to consistently provide value to our shareholders. The Bank has a strong financial position with our capital ratios more than 12% above the regulatory thresholds, placing us firmly among the top five most capitalized banks. dfcu was among the first banks to comply with the revised Bank of Uganda minimum core requirements of UGX 120bn by 31st December 2022.

We remain profitable – we paid a dividend to our shareholders at the recently concluded Annual General Meeting. The Group has strong shareholders, which include Arise BV, the Danish Investment Fund (IFU), the National Social Security Fund and Kimberlite, among others.

On the dawn of this new day, dfcu celebrates 60 years of notable achievements while looking squarely at what the future demands of us. Growth demands that we work harder, serve more diligently, remain relevant, develop our skills, and remain true to our purpose. We understand the ask of the task ahead – the future calls for tenacity,  innovativeness and the support of our various stakeholders to surpass our achievements of the past. Most importantly, we are prepared for this task and ready to strengthen our position as a trusted financial partner.

I extend my gratitude to the Board of Directors, dfcu Limited; the Board of Directors, dfcu Bank, the Management, and staff of dfcu Bank and dfcu Limited, our customers, shareholders, regulators, and partners. Our success is perched on your shoulders, and we are beholden to each of you.


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