UniCredit is a major international financial institution that operates in 22 European countries approximately with 9,466 branches and more than 159,000 employees. With its strategic position in Western and Eastern Europe the group has one of the region's highest market shares.

Fig. 1 - UniCredit Group International Presence (source: unicreditgroup.eu)

As shown in Fig.1, the group has its presence in the following countries: Austria Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey and Ukraine. In Fig.2 the data are shown by country.

Fig. 2 - Data by country (source: unicreditgroup.eu)

The group's origins date back to the establishment of Rolo Banca in 1473, when Monte di Pietà, a public institute providing secured loans, was created in Bologna. In 1998, UniCredito italiano was created through the merger of Credito Italiano, Rolo Banca, Cariverona, Cassa di Risparmio di Torino, Cassamarca, Cassa di risparmio di Trento e Rovereto, Cassa di Risparmio di Trieste. The expansion process in Central and Eastern Europe dates back to 1999 with the acquisition of the Polish bank Bank Pekao and continued with the acquisition in 2000 of Bulbank (Bulgaria) and Pol'nobanca - then Unibanka - (Slovakia). In 2000, the group also acquired the US fund manager Pioneer Investment of Boston which was followed by the creation of Pioneer Global Asset Management. Thus, the Global Investment Management Division was established. In 2001, the Group reorganised according to market segments through the “S3 Project”. In 2002, the interest in growing markets was renewed through the acquisition of Zagrebacka Banka (Croatia), Demirbank Romania - then UniCredit Romania - and Živnostenskå Banka (Czech Republic). An agreement with Koç (Turkey) was signed as well. During the same year, Pioneer Investments acquired Momentum, one of the world leaders in hedge funds. In 2003, the “S3 Project” was completed and three new national banks specialised by customer segment opened for business (UniCredit Banca, UniCredit Banca d'Impresa, UniCredit Private Banking). After the creation of the New Europe Division and the Global Banking Services Division, the Group acquired Yapi Kredi through Koç (Turkey) and merged with the German HVB Group, which was created in 1998 from the combination of two Bavarian banks (Bayerische Vereinsbank and Bayerische Hypotheken-und Wechsel-Bank), thereby giving rise to a single large European bank. In 2006, the investment banking activities of Bayerische Hypo-und Vereinsbank AG (HVB Corporates & Markets), Bank Austria Creditanstalt (International Markets and CA IB) and UniCredit Banca Mobiliare S.p.A. united into a single global division. Then, in 2007, UniCredit focused on the expansion into Ukraine, and it pushed into Central Asia with acquisitions in Kazakistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. In the same year, UniCredit strengthened its position in the Italian market thanks to the integration with Capitalia Group - formed in 2002 out of a combination of Bancaroma Group and Bibop-Carine Group. Banco di Sicilia, MCC and Fineco became part of the group as well. In 2008, due to the crisis that hit the banking system reputation, the Group decided to redefine its mission, by establishing sustainability and customer-centricity as its core business. In 2010, the “One4C” program provided for the merger of seven Italian subsidiaries within the parent company UniCredit S.p.A., in order to simplify the Group’s corporate structure, to combine the specialisation of businesses with their strong geographical roots, and to strengthen the proximity to territories and local markets.

Fig. 3 - UniCredit's history (source: unicreditgroup.eu)

Today, Unicredit Group is divided into several specialised business divisions:
- the Families & SME, Private Banking and Corporate & Investment Banking Divisions: each one concentrates all marketing activities, services and product development for their respective customer segments. They are also responsible for the managerial coordination of specific and relevant businesses;
- the CEE Division: it is dedicated to operations in 19 countries in Central and Eastern Europe, a significant growth area for the Group.
UniCredit combines an international presence with a multi-local approach. To gain a better understanding of the needs of the markets in which it operates, the position of Country Chairman was created. This position has the dual task of maintaining a strategic perspective on business activities at the country level while directly engaging in the management of the main business entities in each country.
Currently, the Chairman of the Group is Giuseppe Vita, whereas the CEO is Federico Ghizzoni.

Link: www.unicreditgroup.eu

Editor: Bianca GIANNINI

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