spotlight on Unity 2008
2its all about people
2008 saw the Financial Services sector both at home andabroad suffer its greatest crisis for decades. With it came a significant loss of confidence in the banking system byorganisations and consumers alike. The year ended withBank of England base rates at 2%, subsequently falling toan all-time record low of just 0.5% in March 2009.
However, I am pleased to report that here at Unity we escapedmuch of this turmoil and contrary to the fate that befell manybanks, 2008 was another year of record growth. In thesetimes of financial uncertainty, customers want to be with abank that has no sub-prime lending or toxic debt, one thathasnt needed government funds or seen its share priceplummet; but instead has provided what they always wantedfrom a bank a safe, secure home for their deposits and acontinued source of borrowing, providing key financialsupport, consistently. Unity is that bank.
Of course that hasnt happened by accident; in line with our shareholders vision, we have stuck to what we do best,banking based on values - banking as it should be. Interestingly,whilst this approach has always had a natural affinity with ourcustomers in the social and union movements, it is increasinglystriking a chord with our commercial customers. As themainstream banks have sought to sideline traditional bankingvalues and relationships, we have seen a stream of newcommercial customers knocking on our door. Attracted by ourvalues and approach, they see more than ever an alignmentbetween us and their own agenda.
We saw great growth in customer numbers during 2008 asmore and more organisations chose to be with a bank thathad values aligned to their own. Those new customersbrought new business and as a result, at the year end, wehad received 41 million of new deposits - a record for us.
Similarly, I was delighted that last year was a record periodfor lending growth as more organisations chose Unity as theirpartner to deliver key projects. Overall customer borrowinggrew by 56% to 117 million - another record for us.
But none of this growth could have been achieved without a continued and sustained investment in the business. Wehave invested and we will continue to invest in all areas ofthe bank where there is direct benefit to our customers.
We have invested in systems in a new internet bankingplatform, in on-line bank statements and in back-officetechnology to make our systems smarter and enable us toprovide better information to our customers.
This investment in systems and technology has been matchedby an investment in our people. I am delighted that, onceagain, this has been recognised by the retention of ourInvestors In People accreditation, and by being named asone to watch under The Sunday Times Best Companies toWork For scheme.
I am a firm believer in providing opportunities to grow anddevelop our own excellent people through investment andtraining, enabling them to realise their potential. During 2008we grew our Social Economy team and, for the first time, wenow have development managers in place to cover the wholeof the UK and Northern Ireland.
We have also been growing our strategic partnerships withthird parties who help add true value to our customers. Wehave teamed up with Streamline to offer discounted rates onmerchant card services to those customers that take creditand debit card payments. Work is well underway to be ableto bring a market-leading prepaid card solution to ourcustomers and, in the case of credit unions, their customers.
So as I look back at 2008 and contemplate the challengesahead, I am comforted by the fact that our current position is no accident. It is borne out of our socially responsibleideals, the loyalty of our customers and shareholders, and the enthusiastic commitment of our staff. This is a potent,winning combination, which will ensure that Unity continuesto be the bank of choice for many years to come.
Kevin Turmore, Managing Director
banking as it should be
BEST marks for banking services
05 06 07 08 09
(Charity Finance Banking Survey 2005-2009)
4service thats tailored to our needs
When we came to Unityin 2008, we were carefulto look at how the bankwas run. The fact thatUnity does not rely onborrowing from otherbanks means we knowthey offer a securehome for our money.
Hilary De LyonChief Executive, RCGP
Royal College of General Practitioners
14 Princes Gate, Hyde Park, London SW7 1PU
Tel: 0845 456 4041
When the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP)wanted a bank that could support its local faculties, theorganisation turned to Unity Trust. We looked at using a high street bank but Unity's service was better suited to a branch structure like ours, says Hilary De Lyon, Chief Executive.
A professional membership organisation for GPs in the UK,the RCGP represents over 30,000 doctors in 30 branches -known as faculties - across the country. A system whichsaw each faculty organising its own separate bank accountsmade it hard for the RCGP to keep track of everything andmeant that local faculties didnt always get the best deal.
Unity offers the RCGP a service that's tailored to theirneeds. Faculties get their own accounts but interest ispooled - earning them higher returns and making the
banking easier to administer. Unity offers us the best ofboth worlds. Our faculties get the freedom to look after theirbanking while enjoying the benefits of banking with UnityTrust, says Hilary.
Unity also helped to make transferring to a new bank easy.The changeover went smoothly because the faculties areable to run their Unity account through the same local highstreet bank they used before, explains Hilary. Unityscontact centre has also been extremely good - with someoneon the phone to help when we needed them.
Moving banks doesnt have to be a hassle - as the RCGPdiscovered. I had dealt with Unity in my previous role at atrade union, so I was confident they would provide a goodservice, says Hilary. I havent been disappointed. In fact,we couldnt have asked for more.
5Our Mission: achieve growth by being socially focused,customer centred, and commercially driven.
How this translates into practice Since we were established 25 years ago, we have sought toput social change, social benefit and community involvementat the heart of what we do.
In that time, we have created a sustainable, sociallyresponsible business. We use some of our profits to re-investin our business to help more organisations in the future. Theremaining profits are returned to our shareholders - tradesunions and the Co-operative Bank who are both part of UKcivil society.
Being socially focused means that we have strict criteria ofwho we will and wont deal with. We wont deal with anyorganisation which:
does not respect or value human rights
discriminates on the basis of race, religion, or sexualorientation
is undemocratic or intolerant of others views or whichuses intimidation or violence as a means to achievebusiness ends
does not support the formal organisation of labour withinthe workplace
is directly involved in the manufacture of arms or explosives
is based overseas.
And, because we want to see a prosperous and vibrant UKeconomy, we will not outsource any of our operationalrequirements offshore.
We are committed to enabling social development andsupporting community involvement. We see the developmentof strategic partnerships with national umbrella organisationsand others active in our key sectors as making a sustainablecontribution to society.
As part of this, we are passionate about helping our customersachieve their goals in the development of communities and in the people that they support.
Where we come in is by making banking simple, straight-forward and easy to deal with. Where we can, we providefinancial and practical support for events, especially at a localand regional level.
What we mean by being
customer centred To us, being customer centred makes good business sense.Increasingly, we are seeing that the approach and tenets thatwe adopt as a business are paying dividends as customersseek a real alternative to the high street banks.
And we must be doing something right for the last fiveyears we have been rated top for customer service by thereaders of Charity Finance magazine. And, most of all, themajority of new accounts that we open come to us by way ofpersonal recommendation.
During the past 25 years weve seen, and have adapted to,huge changes and challenges in the world of banking, tradeunions, the social economy and society at large.
But, through all of this change, we are proud that, 25 yearson, were still able to deliver innovative, socially responsiblebanking that puts social change, social benefit and communityinvolvement at the heart of what we do.
As we look forward, we are confident that our commitment toinnovation, customer care, social responsibility and to thevalues of our shareholders will contribute to our continuedsuccess and growth as the bank of choice for the trade unionand social economy movements.
why were different
6its all about therelationships
Weve found Unity to be resourceful, responsible and communicative. Ourdevelopment manager makes my life really easy.
Naana Otoo-OyorteyExecutive Director, FORWARD
Unit 4, 765-767 Harrow Road,
London NW10 5NY
Tel: 020 8960 4000
When the Foundation for Womens Health Research andDevelopment (FORWARD) was looking to move to a moresupportive bank, the charity turned to Unity Trust andenjoyed a personal service right from t