Published On: Tue, Nov 10th, 2015

Union Bank: Indeed, the stallion is reawakened!

After over two years of reaching the decision to reposition the bank, following the change in its leadership, Union Bank Plc recently unveiled its new corporate identity. The stallion which was formerly stationary, which made the bank to be seen as retirees’ bank, is now active and galloping.

The Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Emeka Emuwa who spearheaded the rebranding on assumption of office in November 2012, said the rebranding was in line with the bank’s strategic ambition to become a highly respected provider of quality financial services in the country. He claimed: “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.”

An official of the bank to told Business Hallmark that about 300 of its over 500 branches have been renovated as part of the rebranding process, assuring that soon the renovation work will be completed in all the branches. And if you enter into any of the bank’s branch, you will find a paper on the desk of every staff with different messages like “Goodbye long queues. Hello 24 hours customer contact centre”, “Goodbye fragmented tasks. Hello central processing centre”, “Goodbye bulky files. Hello automated system”, “Goodbye delayed service. Hello alternative payment channels” etc. aimed at reminding staff and customers of what they can achieve together and that together they can achieve more.

In this regard, our Across the Counter team went to Union Bank branches in Lagos, the country’s business hub to check if the change of position of the Stallion is reflecting   in it day-to-day business operations.  We took time to verify if the assurance of a new dawn in Union Bank that the management of the bank gave during the launch of the new identity actually is in its branches.

Union Bank, Iju branch

This branch is situated at Iju Road, close to the bustling Fagba bus-stop. The first change you notice as you enter into the bank premises is its new signpost showing a galloping stallion. And customers were ushered in by good looking security personnel who greeted them, “Welcome to Union Bank.”

There are two Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in this branch and they were both dispensing cash when we visited the branch.

Of the two security doors at the entrance of the banking hall, only one was working. All customers had to make use of the one that was okay, although there were only just few people waiting to enter when we visited the branch.

And as customers enter into the banking hall, they are welcomed by staff who asked how they can help them. These staff assisted customers with filling of forms and also directing them to the appropriate desk where they would be attended to.

On the counter, there were five tellers attending to customers with just three of them waiting to be attended to. During our stay at this branch, customers carrying out across the counter transactions spent less than five minutes.

The customer service staff who we engaged was courteous and prompt in attending to us and was professional in doing this.

The banking hall was filled with people enrolling and updating their Bank Verification Number (BVN). This may have been occasioned by the expiration of the deadline for the BVN registration on October 31 and the deactivation of bank accounts of customers who have not enrolled for the exercise.

Union Bank Iju Branch has a parking space that can take about six cars in its premises. And the toilet opened to customers was clean although there were no toiletries in it.

Union Bank, Agege branch, Pen Cinema, Agege

This Union Bank branch is located near the popular Pen Cinema Bus-Stop at the heart of Agege. It is a small branch with a little parking space.

This branch has two ATMs, but one of them was faulty, so the bank pasted a paper on it, advising customers to make use of the one that was dispensing cash. There was one of the bank staff at the ATM stand helping customers who are using the ATM.

The vicinity was neat, although it needs some renovations. However, a staff of the bank’s headquarters told our crew that Union Bank has started renovation works in some of its branches; it will soon get to this branch.

There were a lot of activities in the bank’s small banking hall with most customers there waiting to see the customer service staff. We observed that most of them were there to either enrol or update their BVN.

Most of the staff in the branch were always smiling while attending to customers. At the counter, four tellers were attending to customers, while one cubicle was unoccupied. It took us less than five minutes to be attended to by the customer service staff, who was homely. And we found out the most of the staff in this branch were averagely in their 30s.

Union Bank Acme branch

This branch is located at a business industrial area adjacent UBA on Acme Road and operates at a rented building.  There is a good parking space within the bank premises.

There were three security personnel at the entrance of the bank who check customers as they enter into the banking hall. And inside it, there were six teller cubicles at the counter with four of them available attending to the few people carrying out across the counter transactions. They spent less than five minutes transacting their businesses. But the customer service section was filled with people who were updating their BVN.

It took about 15 minutes for a member of our crew to check for his account number with one of the customer service staff. She spent a lot of time attending to customers who had issues with cheques they wanted to cash.

The toilet opened to customers in this branch was neat and there were toiletries in it. And it was obvious that this branch is one of those branches that have not been renovated may be because it is operating on a rented building.

We noticed that most of the staff in this branch were young and courteous.

Union Bank headquarters branch, Marina

During our visit to this branch that is located at the corporate headquarters of the bank, we did not limit ourselves to the banking hall. We took time to check out the corporate office. The over five security personnel at the entrance were discharging their duties which include screening every visitor entering into the corporate office with enthusiasm. And at the front desk, the staff were prompt in attending to visitors with courtesy asking them who they wanted to see and giving them tags bearing the floor they were going. We found that renovation works were going on there. And the lift in the building should be one of the latest in town.

At the Headquarters Branch, there are four ATMs and they were all dispensing cash during our visit there.  Customers are transported in and out of the banking hall located the first floor of the Stallion Plaza by conveyors.  The banking hall is very spacious with ten teller cubicles. Although only seven tellers were seen attending to few customers who were doing across the counter transactions. We observed that most of the customers there did not spend up to five minutes at the counter before they were done with their businesses.

There was larger number of customers at the customer service section with many of them either enrolling or updating their BVN. A member of our crew who made enquiry from one of the staff said she was friendly and provided the information he needed.

This branch has three toilets each for male and females customers. They were dirt-free with toiletries in all of them.

Mr. Wole Ajayi who has been banking with Union Bank over seven years told our crew that he has noticed improvement in the bank’s services. He said he now spends lesser time on the counter because of the efficiency of the tellers.

As the management of the bank strives to reposition it as a major player in the financial industry it must continue to be up to date in its technology deployment. And to start with, the bank needs to increase the number of ATMs in some of its branches, especially situated in high density areas as we observed most of its branches have just two ATMs. Once one of them is faulty, it puts a lot of pressure on the remaining one.

FELIX OLOYEDE

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