Univest Financial Corporation Announces Financial Center Optimization Plan
SOUDERTON, Pa., Oct. 19, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Univest Financial Corporation (“Univest” or the "Corporation") (NASDAQ: UVSP), parent company of Univest Bank and Trust Co. (the “Bank”) and its insurance, investments and equipment financing subsidiaries, today announced a plan to optimize its financial center footprint with the consolidation or relocation of eight locations, or 20% of its financial centers. This is a continuation of the Bank’s optimization initiative, which was initially launched five years ago. Since 2015, the Bank has consolidated 15 locations while opening 13 new financial centers to expand its operating footprint and improve the customer experience in the existing communities it serves.
The pre-tax one-time costs associated with this plan are estimated to be $1.7 million, which will primarily be recognized in the fourth quarter of 2020. The estimated pre-tax annualized savings will be approximately $2.4 million.
COVID-19 has further reduced in-person transaction volumes across the industry while investments in digital capabilities continue to accelerate and are viewed as required functionality by customers. At Univest, financial center transactions have declined 21% from 2019 to 2020. At the same time, significant investments in and improvements to Univest’s digital capabilities have been made, including but not limited to the addition of the following services:
- Secure Chat – 41% of service center customer contact now occurs through this chat function (more than 2,400 customer chats per month).
- MyCard rules – Gives customers more control over their debit cards, including merchant and spending categories.
- Money Manager – Personal financial management tool, which provides functionality such as spending category tracking, aggregated account views and a net worth summary; more than 3,450 customers are utilizing the tool without awareness raised by marketing (launched June 30th).
- OpenAnywhere – Digital deposit account opening system that allows customers (new and existing) the ability to open checking and savings accounts (consumer only at this time) and to transact against their account immediately. Since the launch on July 17th, the Bank has opened 257 accounts (22% of which were new customers) without marketing the OpenAnywhere functionality.
- Zelle – A person to person payment mechanism similar to Venmo will be added to the Bank’s mobile app in November.