AN ASSESSMENT OF PUBLIC RELATIONS STRATEGIES IN THE NIGERIA FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
The research work titled an assessment of public relations strategies in the Nigerian financial institution which focused on UBA bank Gboko is aimed at evaluating the duty of public relations in the banking sector which the researcher employed some research method in explaining the method which the research is been carried out.
Public Relations is the art and social science of analyzing trends, predicting their organizational consequences, counseling management and implementing planned programme of action which will serve both the organization and its publics.
It is in this light that United Bank for Africa of Nigeria Plc as an organization needs to adopt and implement public relations strategies which is also the role of public relations in building a favorable image for an organization or a bank.
The research method used in this project work is a survey method and data collection form and questionnaires, because the research needs really to assess the strategies employed or adopted by public relations in banking sector which the researchers findings and recommendations were based on results obtained during the course of this research work.
1.0 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
the world we live in today is dominated by improved technology like wise public relations seems to be growing rapidly to attract good measures of recognition within and outside immediate environment of organizations either public or private.
Similarly, the emergence of public relations have made among organizations to adopt it to maintain good and effective management function, creating goodwill as well as mutual understanding the world over. And it is most interesting to note that there is nothing on the surface of this earth that public relations cannot be employed to support through policy decisions. However, most organizations have adopted advertising rather than public relations in trying to convince consumers towards product patronage. This is to say that most organizations have failed to acknowledge the service of public relations.
Like other fields or areas of specialization, public relations is been looked upon by many authors, according to Chile (2002.2) as have stated by Public Relations Associations of America have released the latest definition of public relations chronicle on the 13th of April, 2012; thus “Public Relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationship between organization and their publics”. Listed as definition no. 2 in he public vote, it received 671 votes, or 46.9 percent of 1,447 total votes. Simple and straight forward, this definition focuses on the basic concepts of public relations as a communication process, one that is strategic in nature and emphasizing “mutually beneficial relationship”. “process is preferable” to management function”, which can evoke ideas of control and top-down, one way communication. “relationship relates to public relations’ role in helping to bring together organization and individual with their key stakeholders. “public” nature of public relations, whereas “stake-holder” has connotations of publicly traded companies. Meanwhile, other definitions are still relevant.
Also public relations (PR) is all about maintaining relations with publics. It is a profession with varying definitions held of its many functions and the differentiating perceptions held by its practitioners and thee public. Public relations (PR) is a profession that includes the functions of communication, community relations, crises management, customer relations, employee relations, mediation, publicity, speech-writing and visitor relations.
To Jefkins (1983), public relations are a behaviour and human relations endeavour which is regarded as a total management philosophy on social responsibility of a company. Behavioral endeavour, public relations aims to concretizing and criticizing human behaviour of the advancement of organizational interest. In order words, public relations is aimed at studying the human nature, conflicts or events for instance, the management of an institution may use public relations to study and understand the behaviour of the natives in her community as not to experience problems with them.
By human relations endeavour, public relations should be parsed on one to one basis as obtainable in human relations, for instance it is the collective responsibility of all members of an organization to exhibit human relations tendencies in their duly experiences and conflict with their customers, however, everything should not be left to the public relations officer (PRO) alone to handle.
Public relations as a total management philosophy on the social responsibility of a company here entail the importation of public relations principles and practices to guide management decisions in their relations with their public. For instance, it is the role of public relations unit of any organization or institution to guide and advice the management on their responsibilities to the staff, students and the immediate members of its community. It guides the management to approach matters of mutual interest between the organization and its staff.
In essence, public relations are a behavioral and human endeavour and considered as total management philosophy on social responsibilities of a company, business firms or an organization.
Lee (1992) defines public relations as the organized effort to communicate in an organized form and to modify attitude and behaviour towards an organizational needs and aspirations. By organized efforts to communicate, public relations aims at using or prepared speeches for corporate officials organizing community activities, producing journals and exhibitions, research as well as advising management on internal and external relations. In order words, public relations try to ensure effective lines of communication flow between and within organizations and their various publics.
By modifying attitude and behaviour towards organizational needs and aspirations aims at making or changing negative perception held on organization by their public (internal and external). It causes various techniques and strategies to change negative actions, utterances, strongly held negative beliefs to positive approaches. By doing this, public relations modify attitudes and behaviours for the growth of organizations.
Black (1978) views public relations as a systematic approach to issues in the management of organizations with the sole aim of promoting organizations image, programmes and policies, through a deliberate planned communication for mutual co-existence, in another world, public is that process that process of articulating organizational programmes through concerted efforts and by ensuring smooth lines of communication, good will rapport and mutual understanding, for instance the public relations unit (PRO) regulating meets with the press to report major breakthrough in crimes prevention and control, thereby getting an applause from members of the society. It is systematically and deliberately done to ginger public understanding and support.
The banking industry has over the years assisted countries in the aspect of economic development. Public relations on the other hand can assist banks in growth and effectiveness. Public relations serve as image maker for the organization.
Bank is defined as an institution for keeping, leading and exchanging of money. Banking as an industry is impossible in a non-monitored economy. The growth of bank in the former British West Africa (Nigeria inclusive) did not stand until the introduction of the British colnage and currency system in the late 19th century.
Banking business was fast introduced in Nigeria in 1822. The first bank in Nigeria was Africa Banking Corporation from 1872 activities started shriving with the completion between rival banks. This was free banking ere. It was characterized by non existence of banking legislation anybody could set up bank provided he register under the prohibit information of a banking company unless it was registered as a company. This period witnessed the establishment of Bank of British West African Banks, national bank of Nigeria and Africa continental bank limited.
In 1874, the BBWA was established in Lagos, it took over the service of Africa banking corporation. It remained the only bank in the country united it was British and French banks limited established by government of West Nigeria on 11th February 1993 has distinction of the first successful indigenous bank were Africa continental bank limited Agbomagbe bank limited and the merchant bank limited.
There were seven banks, which serviced the free banking era. However, the banks that failed were industrial and cannvercial banks, Nigeria merchant bank and the Nigeria Perry banks by 1988, all mushroom, banks had collapsed except Agbanabe bank, merchant banks, national bank of Nigeria and three expatriate banks they survived the banking booms of 1940s and early 1990s. These banks were established primarily to make profit, this explained the dissemination in lending in the early period of their development. The main purpose of bank in the economy is to help business men increase their output by providing the essential services of liquidating flow and expert advice investment.
According to preposition of financial system review committee of 1976, set of five objectives are expected for the banks.
The bank should actually facilitate the transformation of the normal environment by promoting the rapid expansion of banking facilities, services and banking habits in mineral communities. Most importantly they will serve as vehicle for the creation of credit in the rural area, in form of equality and loans for small scale farmers and entrepreneur.
Secondly, banks should extend consistent with banking long-term investment planning for the application of the procedures.
Thirdly, they should conform with national objectives and identify full with Nigeria. Inspiration by taking more active in the financing of the economy programme of national priority. Consequently their sensitive positive in the financial system necessities that they brought under Nigeria control with the main ownership and management.
Fourthly, decision making in the main commercial banking sector must be localized. This would have the possibility of our major economy.
Fifthly, the banks should use a significant part of their profit to improve their quality of services being offered to the above national objectives expected of the banks.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Public relations have been a useful tool in organizational management and growth as it identifies and manage public opinions of such organization either public or private.
UBA is a corporate entity which engages in rendering banking services to the publics. It also has internal staff whose disposition towards this work is aim at accessing the strategies used by public relations practitioners in effective management of financial institution (banks).
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
i. To ascertain whether public relations is practice in UBA bank.
ii. To examine whether public relations has a role to play in the progress of banking sector.
iii. To evaluate whether the personnel in charge of public relations activities in UBA Gboko are professionally trained.
iv. To determine whether there is public relations department in UBA Gboko.
v. To provide the necessary steps how public relations can aid an organization to relate with his publics.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following are formulated to enable the researcher reach a valid and logical conclusion.
i. Do UBA Gboko practice public relations?
ii. Do UBA Gboko has trained P.R personnel to carryout his activities?
iii. Are their adequate facilities for PR training its staff?
iv. Do public relations have any positive importance on UBA Gboko administration?
v. Did UBA Gboko recognized the activities of public relations in realizing organization objective?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The importance of this work is that it will serve as a research material for other researcher who may want to write on a similar topic of this nature, and it also brings up some new idea about the role public relations play in financial institutions (banks).
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is primarily concerned with public relation strategies in assessing financial institutions (banks) which serves as a tool used in solving problems in the banks which the study id limited to UBA Gboko.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
i. Public Relations: art and science of developing a reciprocal understanding and good will.
ii. Management: it has to do with organization, its publics by procuring solution to both parties.
iii. Practitioners: a person who practice a profession
iv. Relations: the way two or more people, groups behave towards each other or deal with each other.
v. Administration: the range of activities connected with organizing or supervising the way that an organization functions.
vi. customer relations: it involves the relationship between and organization an its client in order to create understanding and good will to sustain the image of organization.
vii. banks: an organization that provides various financial services for example keeping or lending money.
viii. banker: a person who owns a bank or has an important job at a bank.
ix. customer: a person or organization that buys something from a shop/store or business.
x. bank card: plastic card provided by the bank that may be used as a credit or debit card to get money from your account out of machine.
1.7.1 BRIEF HISTORY OF UBA
Today is known as United Bank for Africa (UBA) is the product of the merger of Nigeria’s third (3rd) and fifth (5th) largest banks, namely the old UBA and the erstwhile standard Trust Bank Plc (STB) respectively, and a subsequent acquisition of the erstwhile continental Trust Bank (CTB) the union emerged as the first successful corporate combination in the history of Nigerian banking.
UBA’s history dates back to 1948 when the British and French bank limited (BFB) commenced business in Nigeria and the erstwhile STB and CTB both in 190. Following independence from Britain, UBA was incorporated in 1961 to take over the business of BFB. Although today UBA is emerged at a time of industry consolidation induced by regulation the solidated UBA was borne out of desire to lead the domestic sector to a new era of global relevance by championing the creation of the Nigerian consumer finance market, leading a private/public sector partnership at supporting the acceleration of Nigeria’s economic development and growing the institution from a banking to one growing financial services institution, while spreading its footprints across Africa to earn the reputation as fall of banking in the continent.
Today, United Bank for Africa Plc is one of African’s leading financial institutions offering universal banking to more than 7.2 million customers across 700 business offices in 19 African countries. With presence in New York, London and Paris, UBA is your partner for banking services for Africans and Africa related business globally.
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