Ubi (Union of Italian Banks) is the outcome of a merger as much complex as rich between two lenders from the Northern, wealthy cities of Brescia and Bergamo and some others from different regions across the country. The new Group born on April 1st 2007 mixed up the competencies and the expertises of Banche Popolari Unite (Bpu) with those of Gruppo Banca Lombarda e Piemontese. It was in fact a merger between a joint stock company and a co-operative bank with the former adopting the governance structure of the latter: headcount voting system at general meetings. It was a masterpiece of diplomacy done under the direction of Giovanni Bazoli, the inventor of Intesa who at that time chaired Banca Lombarda as well. Most noticeably, Bazoli was the trusted pivot of Brescia’s prominent folks of the “Catholic” area, the very same people who were important shareholders of Banca Lombarda. Bazoli was so keen to secure “his” Banca Lombarda from hostile attention that he did not hesitate to change the governance and merge it into Bpu.
As a matter of fact, the bank became a treasure chest well shielded thanks to its co-operative structure, with a ceiling to the shareholding along with the rule “one head, one vote”. Small shareholders benefited of additional protection by the several associations flourished in mid 2011 through 2012: from the Association Lombard and Piedmontese Bank to the Friends of Ubi which represents historic shareholders from Brescia and Bergamo, from the Tradizione in Ubi Banca group to Azionisti di Ubi banca, led by the chairman of Cartiere Pigna, Giorgio Jannone, up to the Association of Citizens and Employees and Shareholders of Ubi Banca, sponsored by a banking union.
As for its organizational structure, Ubi created a federal model, with eight “network banks” and a wide range of product factories all headed up by UBI Banca. Through the network banks Ubi is capable to cover several regions: Banca Popolare di Bergamo, Banco di Brescia, Banca Popolare Commercio & Industria, Banca Regionale Europea, Banca di Valle Camonica, Banco di San di San Giorgio in the North of Italy; Banca Popolare di Ancona in the Center; Banca Carime in the South. Is also part of the group Ubi Banca Private Investment with a presence all over the country as it recently put its corporate banking business into the same division of the private banking. With almost 1,800 outlets and some 4 million clients Ubi ranks fifth in the Italian banking leaguetable as of number of branches, with a market share of more than 5% and is the first among the co-operative banks. Ubi is led since its foundation by Victor Massiah, first as director general and then as managing director.