ADCB Group completes complex three-bank integration

By DG Staff

ABU DHABI 7 April 2020: Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank Group PJSC (ADCB Group) has achieved full integration of Union National Bank (UNB) and Al Hilal Bank significantly ahead of schedule, completing a complex three-way merger process that has created a fully unified, powerful and resilient banking group.

Following the historic merger in May 2019, ADCB accomplished full integration in only 11 months – less than half the original expected timeframe – surpassing regional and global benchmarks for major bank mergers.

Meticulous planning, testing and a robust governance framework paved the way for effective and smooth implementation of the integration process, while ensuring uninterrupted, high quality service for customers, said Wam.

Within weeks of the legal completion of the merger, the ADCB Group had harmonised policies, unified treasury functions and activated a new organisational structure and operating model. After only five months, the ADCB brand was rolled out across all physical and digital platforms and customers benefitted from an optimised network of 72 branches and over 450 ATMs across the UAE.

New digital strategy

Meanwhile, Al Hilal Bank launched a new digital strategy, which focuses on offering retail customers Shari’ah -compliant products and services through digital channels. This followed the 100% migration of Wholesale and SME customers to ADCB’s Islamic wholesale banking platform in the second and third quarters of 2019.

In the final milestone completed last week, banking systems were unified, with former UNB customers transferring to ADCB systems, applications and digital banking platforms. Cross-functional teams across the Bank worked round the clock to ensure a smooth transition in a short 38-hour window with minimal downtime for systems and channels. This was achieved in challenging circumstances, as 90% of the integration teams worked remotely due to current health and safety guidelines.

Ala’a Eraiqat, ADCB’s Group Chief Executive Officer and Board Member said: “The integration of three banks into a fully unified organisation in only 11 months is a tremendous achievement. The combination of ADCB, UNB and Al Hilal Bank into a larger and stronger banking group was driven by an ambition to continuously evolve to deliver excellent service to our customers and to create value for all our stakeholders.

These aims guided our approach to integration, with teams across the organisation fully focused on smooth and effective delivery. It is a matter of pride that our strong culture and values contributed to a successful integration, with no compromise on the Bank’s high-quality customer service levels.

Best practice governance, close collaboration and a methodical approach allowed ADCB to enhance productivity and accelerate the integration process. This led to a seamless transition and the capture of greater efficiencies, which will have a sustained positive impact on financial performance. In the fourth quarter of last year, the Bank increased its run-rate synergy target by 37% to AED 840 million, of which AED 350 million had already been realised in 2019. Furthermore, a major survey this year shows that ADCB recorded the highest increase in brand value of any company in the UAE over the last 12 months.

The result of our successful integration is the creation of a fully unified banking group that is resilient in the face of macro-economic challenges and has the scale to invest further in the infrastructure, systems and people needed to deliver outstanding service and sustainable growth.”

Mohammed Al Jayyash, Acting Group Chief Operations Officer, said: “Over the last year we have been engaged in detailed planning and testing to ensure the smooth execution of consecutive phases of integration, with minimal disruption to our customers. This was an enormously demanding task, involving more than 100 systems and hundreds of processes. The need for our teams to work remotely across several locations in recent weeks required even greater coordination and focus.

Following this seamless transition, over one million customers now enjoy all the benefits of banking with ADCB, including convenient and highly efficient internet and mobile banking as well as a wide range of enhanced products and services. We are delighted to have delivered the programme ahead of time, in very challenging circumstances and look forward to supporting the next phase of the UAE and ADCB’s growth story.”