Union Bank: Sustaining Growth With Refreshed Identity

Union Bank: Sustaining Growth With Refreshed Identity
Udoma Udo Udoma and Emeka Emuwa

In a bid to sustain its steady growth, reflected in its Third quarter 2015 result released last week, Union Bank launched a refreshed brand identity, designed to rekindle public confidence and attract increased customer patronage across the country.

“As we go into the final quarter of the year, we expect to sustain this level of performance, leveraging on our new brand identity”, said the bank’s Chief Financial Officer, Mrs Oyinkan Adewale in a statement announcing the bank’s third quarter 2015 financial results.

Financial results

On October 26, the Union Bank Plc released its unaudited report for the third quarter, which indicated significant growths in gross and net earnings. According to the  results, gross earnings and profit before tax grew by 11 per cent each while  total assets rose by 10.3 per cent to N1.02 trillion. Gross earnings rose to N86.4 billion in third quarter 2015. Net interest income grew by four per cent from N37.2 billion in third quarter 2014 to N38.8 billion in 2015.

Profit before tax rose to N13.17 billion as against N11.89 billion recorded in comparable period of 2014 while profit after tax increased from N11.79 billion to N13.08 billion. Other highlights of the results showed that net operating income was up two per cent to N55.5 billion from N54.5 billion in Q3 2014. Total expenses were down by two per cent to N42.3 billion from N43.1 billion in the corresponding period in 2014.

Customer deposit also increased four per cent, rising to N526.1 billion from N507.4 billion in the corresponding period. Mrs. Adewale, in her remarks, stated: “We are pleased with the financial performance of the bank during a particularly challenging period for the industry as a whole. “Our loan impairment charges continue to reflect our cautious approach to loan growth and our outlook as we anticipate the impact of economic headwinds on business activity.

Even as we continue to invest in our branch infrastructure and step up marketing and communications initiatives, total expenses for the period are two per cent lower than the same period in 2014. Also commenting on the report, the bank’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Emeka Emuwa, said, “Looking towards the end of the year, we remain confident that the fundamentals of our business will remain strong, spurred by the momentum of our refreshed brand.

As we get set to launch Union Bank’s new identity, we have entered a new phase of our transformation. Our new brand identity positions us competitively in the industry and we are confident in our ability to deliver a superior customer experience to our existing customers and attract a new base of customers.”

Refreshed brand identity

The next day after the results were announced, which was Wednesday October 27th, the bank unveiled a refreshed brand identity. “From today, a new chapter begins”, declared the bank’s chairman, Senator Udo Udoma, at the unveiling ceremony, held at the historic Onikan Stadium, Lagos.

“This is an iconic institution,” he said about Union Bank. “There is virtually nobody across the country that has not in some fashion interacted with the brand”, stated, Emuwa, Union Bank’s CEO, while standing with Udoma to unveil the new identity.

Established in 1917 and listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 1971, Union Bank is a household name and one of Nigeria’s long standing and most respected financial institutions. With an extensive network of over 300 branches across the country, the bank is a trusted and recognisable brand.

After a countdown from nine to zero, the massive structure behind the platform was revealed to be a mammoth replica of the bank’s iconic white stallion, in a different form that suggests increased smartness and agility. “Building a simpler, smarter bank” became the new tagline.

“We believe that the critical milestones we have achieved in the past three years have laid a solid foundation for us as a bank,” Emuwa said. “The launch of this refreshed identity signals a new phase in Union Bank’s transformation as we set our sights on attracting a new base of customers while remaining focused on providing simple and smart banking solutions to all our customers.”

Since 2012, under the leadership of Emuwa, Union Bank began rebuilding its banking business, by redefining its business model, rebuilding its technology, physical infrastructure and re-engineering its work force. During this period, the bank has rolled out a new banking platform, Oracle FlexcubeUBS 12.0, and launched Smarter Banking Centres targeted at technology savvy customers looking for convenient banking service.

The bank has also built a state-of-the-art data centre, and a new Central Processing Centre to streamline its branch operations and enhance customer service. “Union Bank has been a trusted name for Nigerians for nearly a century, and we will continue to leverage our heritage as we embrace a rapidly changing world,” Emuwa noted.

Explaining the thought-processes behind new  the brand identity, the bank’s Head of  Corporate Affairs and Corporate Communications, Ogochukwu Ekezie-Ekaidem, said, “Union Bank is one of the longest standing financial institutions in Nigeria and our new identity pays homage to our past, and carries with it our proposition for the future. In developing the new identity, remaining true to our brand proposition of simplicity was foremost in our minds.

Our iconic white stallion, which represents strength and passion, is now in motion, cantering forward with energy and dynamism. We have introduced a modern typeface and updated our colour to a fresher and more vibrant blue. Finally, we have included patterns to infuse a contemporary feel to the overall identity.”

Speaking with journalists after the fireworks of the launch, Udoma shared his thoughts about what the new identity means. “We want the brand to show and demonstrate what Union Bank is about. Union Bank is a customer-focused bank. It’s a bank that addresses all the needs of all our customers. It’s a bank which is very responsive. We want a simple, accessible banking service that anybody can be able to access.

And we want it to be smart. That means we anticipate your needs and meet them. That’s why it’s a simpler, smarter bank,” he said. “What we’ve said is that we are building a simpler, smarter bank,” Emuwa explained. “The simplicity is for our customers. The smarter means that every day, we look at doing things better and smarter than we did yesterday, so that it can be easier for our customers. So, it’s a continuum.

We continue to evolve. Now, for the bank’s future, it means that we have leveraged on a strong culture to continue to meet the needs of our customers. We will continue to evolve to meet the needs of a newer generation.

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