dfcu builds connections for transformative impact ahead of its 60th anniversary

by Mmeeme Leticia Luweze
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As part of the build-up to its 60th anniversary, dfcu Bank held a stakeholder breakfast at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel on April 16, 2024, to celebrate and explore partnerships that will advance its mission of transforming lives and businesses together.

The breakfast, attended by various dignitaries, stakeholders, partners, and clients, offered insights into what dfcu aims to achieve over the next 60 years and facilitated discussions on its successes while receiving valuable feedback from customers.

As Kate K. Kiiza (Chief Financial Officer & Executive Director) delivered her introductory remarks, she emphasised, “60 years back, dfcu was born. This year we will be celebrating 60 years of existence and service in Uganda. We have been part of the story of Uganda. It is a blessing and a calling for greater aid as we are being tasked to make sure that in the next 60 years, trust me, we shall be around. Whether through our children and grandchildren, we shall still be around.”

She continued, “We thank the public for trusting us, for being with us and walking our journey. We have walked together with you in everything we have done. To our customers, our regulators, our partners, our stakeholders, and our directors, it is an honour to host you, and it is an honour to see you.”

Charles Mudiwa, the Managing Director and CEO of dfcu highlighted, “This milestone reaffirms our commitment to transforming lives and businesses as we celebrate 60 years. It is both a blessing and a call to reach even greater heights. We are dedicated to ensuring that dfcu continues to thrive for the next 60 years and beyond. As a brand, our resilience in an ever-evolving financial landscape has allowed us to remain successful, relevant to our customers, and responsible stewards of our communities across Uganda.”

He emphasised that dfcu Bank will sustain its resilience with the ongoing support of its customers. “As we embark on the next phase of our journey, I invite you to join us on this remarkable path.”

dfcu was established in 1964 by the Government of Uganda and Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) as the Development Finance Company of Uganda, to provide long-term financing to local business enterprises. The Company is one of a handful of institutions that weathered the storms of the 70s and early 80s when the country went through a difficult period and has been one of the key cornerstones in Uganda’s financial services sector.

“As a brand, our resilience has not just been exceeded by the support from each of you. The support that you have given us. The trust that you have given to us in giving us more and more business in walking and working this journey with us. So we are here about our effort to further strengthen the foundation we have created for the last 60 years. Prioritise our customer needs, create profitability, and create impact.  Impact is very important to us, impact is very important to everyone. We plan to impact the community, impact the stakeholders, and make an impact in every business as we nurture talent give you more Solutions, and remain the driver of transformation.”  said Kate K. Kiiza

The Stakeholder Breakfast included a panel discussion that explored DFCU’s impact and its future goals. The panel comprised Maryann Wanjiku (Chief Business Solutions & Marketing Officer), Doreen Byaruhanga (Chief Corporate & Institutional Banking Officer), Annette Kiconco (Chief Retail Banking Officer), and Margaret Karume (Chief Credit Officer).

Doreen Byaruhanga stated, “Our goal is to create value by focusing on key sectors of Uganda’s economy and delivering impactful solutions to our clients. By prioritising client value, we also enhance shareholder value. We have identified the key sectors that drive our economy and have developed strategies to strengthen industries such as manufacturing, trade, business services, education, and wealth. Additionally, we emphasise the public sector, aiming for the transformation of Ugandans within Uganda. We are training our team to grasp the distinctiveness of each sector to promote better development across the board.”

When asked how dfcu has enabled the realisation of its strategies over the past 60 years, Annette Kiconco stated, “One of our main goals is investing in our people, who are our most valuable resource in retail. We’ve taken a deliberate approach to providing specialised training to our employees, ensuring that every touchpoint with DFCU offers a positive experience. We’re constantly striving to enhance that service.”

She continued, “We have acquired over 1,200 ventures in various parts of the country. Our goal is for our customers to experience seamless service each time they interact with DFCU. We strive to deliver consistent, high-quality experiences across all touchpoints. We understand that our customers have dreams and aspirations and sometimes need a partner to walk the journey with them. At dfcu, we aim to be that partner and help them realise those dreams.”

“We focus on offering personalised services, catering to each customer’s unique needs and goals,” she added. “Rather than turning down our customers, we seek ways to support their visions and make them a reality.”

“We want our customers to say, ‘When I started this business, dfcu was part of my journey,'” she concluded. “This is the impact we strive to achieve.”

Doreen Byaruhanga stated that as a bank, they have adopted a holistic approach to understanding their clients. They prioritise knowing who their clients’ employees are, what their employees need, and how they can provide solutions to meet those needs. She added that they also take the time to understand their clients’ supply chain, including who their suppliers are and who they procure from.

“Our goal is to gain a clear understanding of our clients’ businesses, the people they interact with, and their distribution chains. This enables us to offer tailored solutions that align with their journey and allows us to work together to deliver effective outcomes,” Byaruhanga said.

Margaret Karume, the Chief Credit Officer, highlighted that dfcu is transforming businesses across various sectors by enabling sales tailored to each industry. She emphasised the bank’s commitment to supporting customers throughout this journey, stating that they have reorganised their approach and conducted research to better understand their customers’ needs.

Karume added that dfcu has aligned its processes to meet the specific demands of each sector in terms of skills. “Moving forward,” she said, “our customers will serve as a guiding pillar for our strategy. We plan to visit businesses regularly to gain a deeper understanding of their needs and to provide improved service.

Margaret Karume also mentioned that the bank has embarked on a journey to automate its processes to reduce wait times for customers, leading to significant improvements.

dfcu continues to actively contribute to the communities it serves through initiatives across its 54 branches nationwide, including programs like Women in Business, Rising Woman, and the SME Business Accelerator. The Agribusiness Development Centre has also made notable progress in supporting and improving the financial viability of Farmer-Based Organizations (FBOs), Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs), benefiting more than 28,000 individuals and organisations to date.

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