FOCUS A bank focused on U Ubank—servicing the broader working market in South Africa since 1975. Long-standing financial services provider, Ubank has grown over the years and has succeeded in entrenching itself primarily within the gold and platinum mining communities. For over 40 years, Ubank has provided basic financial services to mineworkers and their families. Initially called Teba Cash Financial Services, the entity was formed to provide mineworkers with basic financial services during a time when other financial institutions largely ignored this sector of the market. These included facilitating the remittance of funds to families and dependents in the rural and labour-sending areas using a linked account facility. In the early 1990s, as South Africa was undergoing fundamental political change as a country, the Godsell, Motlatsi Commission was formed. This led to the transition from a savings fund into a commercial bank. In June 2000, Ubank (then Teba Bank), was granted a banking licence, although its ownership remained in the form of a trust managed by trustees who were elected by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the South African Chamber of Mines. The beneficiaries of the trust are the bank’s customers. In 2006, it was decided by NUM in conjunction with the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) to extend the banking services to other workers and it was, in reality, a workers bank. Ubank comes from a tradition of savings and has continued to strongly promote savings as part of its offering. In 2007, Ubank welcomed a new vision, mission, set of values and strategy. Essentially, this saw Ubank set itself up to become the “Workers Bank of Choice”. In October 2010, the name of the bank was changed to Ubank and was launched as a retail bank for the mass market. Since the birth of the new brand and strategy, various initiatives to improve and expand the business have been delivered. The need for this change was driven by the desire to extend services beyond the niche market that Ubank had traditionally serviced, broadening its customer base and introducing products and services relevant to this market. The first phase of the re-positioning focused on changing the corporate identity and introducing an innovative packaged product range relevant to the needs of the people of South Africa, entrenching the bank amongst workers, their families and their communities. The Ubank name was derived from the bank’s proud identity, heritage and uniqueness. The logo represents the fingerprint of the workers who have built the bank over 40 years into a truly homegrown South African bank. Ubank serves the primary banking needs of close to 500 000 individuals, safeguarding over R3 billion worth of their deposits. Ubank offers basic banking products that can be described as follows: • Transaction accounts • Debit cards (issued with VISA) • Lending products (e.g personal loans) • Savings (fixed deposits, Save Together) • Funeral plan products • Cellphone banking (SMS notifications). Ubank is driven by a social consciousness that underpins all they do – their customers are their owners and they exist to serve them through the provision of financial services that meet their changing needs and improve their lives. One of the pillars driving the Ubank business strategy is community development. Investing in the communities in which they operate forms a critical part of how they do business, hence the bank’s commitment to allocate 4% of the pre-tax profits to community development annually. Driven by the social objective of improving the quality of their community’s lives, Ubank’s EASTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2018 14
CSI focus is on empowering its communities through community investment in sustainable educational programmes. The nature of the business ensures that community development and participation remains at the core of how Ubank conducts its business. This is to ensure that continuous and sustainable community investment initiatives are made that benefit their customers and the communities where they operate. The mandate and plan to service the broader working market in South Africa have become imperative in order to extend affordable financial services to South Africa. Ubank has a strong presence and customer accessibility and they are proud of their long association with the mining industry, including mineworkers, mining companies, all Labour Unions and the Chamber of Mines, who have played a significant role in the development of this bank. 15 EASTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2018
Raymond Mhlaba Local Municipality T
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