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The Umpqua Bank Strategy

In just over a decade, Umpqua Bank went from $140 million to $25 billion in assets. Hear first-hand how they became one of the best brands in the financial industry.

Lani Hayward, EVP/Creative Strategies at Umpqua Bank, reveals the secrets fueling the success of one of the strongest and most admired brands in the financial industry. Lani was the keynote speaker at The Financial Brand Forum 2014, where she shared the Umpqua Bank strategy, and this was the top-rated session. In this live-streaming, instant-playback webinar, Lani explores:

  • Umpqua Bank’s brand strategy and internal culture
  • How the bank grew from $140 million in assets in 1995 to over $22 billion today
  • How to revolutionize and reinvent the banking experience
  • The strategy behind Umpqua Bank’s branch locations — their retail “stores”
  • How to stay local and keep a community focus while growing exponentially
  • What it takes to engineer a breakthrough banking experience
  • How to sync staff with your brand
  • How Umpqua draws upon the best practices of successful retail brands
  • Why commercial/business banks need a strong retail brand

Forum 2014 FlashbackThe Umpqua Bank Strategy

All content © 2017 by The Financial Brand and may not be reproduced by any means without permission.

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  1. That’s all fine and dandy and they’ve really had a great run, but from a purely financial perspective, they’re about average at best, relative to a peer group of other regional banks in ROA, ROE, Margin, Efficiency, Return on Risk-Weighted Assets and 1,3 and 5-yr returns. So it’s great to have a good vision, great client service and an exciting branch design, but if it’s not translating down to the bottom line where it counts most, what do you really have? I’m not sure what the answer is on that. Perhaps my definition of success is different?

  2. JimBob, you are only looking at the numbers today. You’re forgetting that 20 years ago, Umpqua was not a “regional bank” — they only had $140 million in assets. How many banks have you heard of that went from the ultra-featherweight asset class all the way up to the regional level in 20 years? How many $140 million financial institutions have grown that fast? If you look at all banks and credit unions that were in the $100 to $200 million range in 1994, 90% are probably still in that asset class (if they are still around at all). Bottom line? Would you rather have, “average” ROA and ROE on $140 million in assets? Or “average” ROA and ROE on $25 billion (i.e,. more net income)?

    In simple terms, would you prefer to generate $1 profit on modest revenues, so you can say your profit margin is the highest among your peers? Or $1,000 profit on greater revenues?

    Umpqua would have never grown as fast without their brand, their stores and their strategy.

  3. Not sure I understand your bottom line. The reason for metrics like ROA/ROE is to transcend asset size to guage performance. There are many small institutions deriving above average ROA/ROE that would put most regionals to shame. But back to my question. If all you have is this tremendous growth in asset size, but no concurrent increase in financial performance, what is the defining difference between Umpqua and other regionals? Client experience? That should ultimately translate to financial perfomance but so far it has not. I will grant that the rapid growth of the bank could be masking that. M&A does create a lot of noise. But at what point does that strategy translate to above average results? Again, just a question of curiousity on their future plans.

  4. The problem with banking is that traditional bank culture refuses to recognize the future as it is happening. The measurements you posted are necessary, but they are not the exhaustive tools to assess the banks that will succeed tomorrow. In order to understand what makes Umpqua great relative to peers, you must start to incorporate other measurement tools. You also need to start thinking about banking much differently then you do today. The way people want to bank is changing and traditional banking culture is slow to react. Your post is proof of this.

    Congrats to Umpqua.

  5. I think, there is nobody right now who is able to answer the question with confidence if Umpqua Bank Strategy will ensure its bottom line success. However, I do believe, that today’s average financial indicators of Umpqua considering their Brand strategy investments and fuelling Customer Experience will inject loyalty in their customers that will become thier advocates (which bank can say that today?) and that is something beyond quarter results, it is not sprint, it is marathon and it brings more sustainable results than just “quick & dirty” promotions pushed out to the customers in mass..or at least should bring and it will be exciting to watch how their story continue..

  6. Tabitha Madzikanda says:

    Yes financial ratios are the ultimate but we also need to analyse the strategy which will deliver maybe not over a year but for the future and sustainability. Loyalty and retention is key in modern banking and that can only be sustained by a brand that has customer centric startegies

  7. You’d be hard pressed to find many other FIs that have increased their annual net income by more than 100% – equal to $55M per year – over the course of a decade ($105M in NI for 2013 vs $50M in NI for 2004).

    Fair to say an extra $50M per year equals success? If not “success,” it’s certainly something worth discussing.

  8. ServiceFirst says:

    “So it’s great to have a good vision, great client service and an exciting branch design, but if it’s not translating down to the bottom line where it counts most, what do you really have? ”

    If the bottom line comes before vision (connecting with employees and allowing them to contribute to a greater purpose) and great client service (serving those who keep you in business to the highest level), I can’t be sure our definition of success is the same. In fact, it may be extremely dissimilar. From an employee perspective, I’d rather work for a company that has a sustainable bottom line and excellent intangibles (and tangibles — cool branches!), than a company that has a beefed up bottom line but lacks the human-side of financial services. My two cents, YMMV…

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