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United Bank Limited

Restructuring of UBL Commercial Banking to increase deposit base

The Management of United Bank Limited (UBL), in order to further improve the quality of service, particularly at the branch level, is restructuring its commercial banking operations. In this regard the concept of Central Branch and its Satellite branches is being introduced to achieve desired improvements in its service levels.

Approximately l04 branches spread all over the country have been selected as "Central" branches while, on average, around 12 to 15 branches surrounding each Central branch have been designated as its "Satellite" branches. The Central branches have been selected on the basis of the following criteria:

1. Number of business customers already maintaining accounts in the branch
2. The potential of the branch to attract additional business customer accounts
3. The strategic location of the branch with reference to population centers and other branches

The managers of the Central branches have been designated as Area Managers who would also be responsible for the Satellite branches within the cluster. The administrative and reporting functions are to be taken over by the Central branches and the Central-Satellite branch cluster would be considered as a business unit where targets for growth and expenditure control etc., would be assigned for the entire unit. The area managers would report directly to the Regional Chief Executive.

The Central branches would be full service branches and will be computerized and eventually linked to the Head Office through an electronic network. The idea is to concentrate routine bookkeeping and report generation work of all Satellite branches at their respective Central branches so that the Satellite branch staff can become more effective in business development and customer service. This will be achieved by creating dedicated sales teams at the Central or selected Satellite branches with singular responsibility of mobilizing deposits especially the low cost deposits.

In order to ensure better service quality to business customers, all Central branches and around 200 Satellite branches will have separate service areas for "business" and "mass-market" customers. In the Central branches and automated Satellite branches, the concept of multi-function teller with a computer at the counter, will ensure speedy service to the customers.

A separate tunction of operations is being introduced to ensure proper focus to service delivery as well as back-office work. Each Central branch and some large Satellite branches will have a new position of "Branch Operations Manager". The operations staff in the branch will be responsible for all routine work as well as service delivery within the branch while the sales staff and Relationship Managers will concentrate on deposit mobilization and business development.

Similarly, Regional Chief Executives will now concentrate on business development while the post ol Regional Operation Head (ROH) is being introduced to oversee operations within the entire region. The Country Branch Operations, Centralized HO Operations, Country ICU and Treasury Operations will be managed by Country Operations Head.

The lending approval function within Commercial Bank is being centralized Region-wise. This way customer accounts can be located at any branch within the region, all approvals, documentation, and monitoring will be through the selected Central branch to be referred to as the Credit Central branch within the Region.

It has been decided to introduce the concept of "Trade Factories" where all trade related processing will be centralized. In this case too, the customer accounts could be located at any branch, but all approvals, document negotiation, record keeping, processing including preparation of LCs, etc. will be carried out at the Trade Factories. Three such centers are being created one each at Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.

Automated and renovated Central branches would provide a quantum leap in service and there will be multifarious advantages to the customers through facilities like:

Prompt account information.
Speedy remittances
Improved counter service faster turnaround for most transactions and better service through multi-function tellers.
Introduction of new products and services currently not available such as account operation from other branches
Better branch environment
Specialised staff for credit and processing

There are many approaches to achieving the desired business objectives. The particular set of solutions selected by UBL take into cognizance shortages of skills, resources and limitations of the Bank. However, the UBL's management is confident that with support of the Bank's staff it would be possible to create a more vibrant institution in which customer service reigns supreme and superior performance of the staff is recognized and duly rewarded.