THE IMPACT OF PUBLIC RELATIONS ON PERFORMANCE OF NIGERIAN BANKS AFTER MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS
The harsh realities of corporate existence make it necessary for public relations practitioners to demonstrate the worth of what they do. Every aspect of organizational activity, particularly in difficult economic situations, is measured by its relative benefit to the firm. A public relations department that cannot demonstrate value to the organization will not be in a position to influence the policy decisions that affect its own fate especially at such crucial times as when mergers and acquisition have occurred. Mergers and acquisition or any other form of consolidation may influence bank interest rates, competition and transmission mechanism of monetary policy in so far as the increase in size and the opportunity for reorganization involved may either provide gains in efficiency that bear on marginal costs or give rise to increase in market power, or both. Gains in efficiency would be obtained in moving on to greater scale of activity. Moreover, the primary role of banking institution is intermediating fund from the surplus unit to the deficit unit. In the presence of increased competition and reduced number of banks, there is every tendency for these banks to engage in activities that yield higher return irrespective of whether these activities promote the primary intermediation role. The consequences of this, is that consolidation may or may not yield greater financial intermediation or reduce the banks to a mere financial investment. Since the essence of any reform is to bring greater efficiency not only in the operation but also their contributory role to the overall economy, banks needs to build a good public relations units to help allay fears of stakeholders as well as assisting to cultivate a mutually beneficial relationship with customers. It is against this background that this study sought to: analyze the significance of public relations efforts in cultivating a mutually beneficial relationship with customers after mergers and acquisition among Nigerian Banks; gauge if practitioners and/or management considers public relations as a crucial element for business success after mergers and acquisition among Nigeria Banks and examine whether public relations plays a major role in handling issues after mergers and acquisition among Nigerian Banks. The descriptive survey method of research was used for this study and two methods of collecting data were used for the study. Primary data was obtained through survey using oral interview and questionnaire while secondary data was obtained from books, internet, articles, journals, literature from corporate bodies. The population of this study comprises of all merged banks that have their branches in Enugu. However, given the homogeneity of banking products, the study focused its analysis on the merger between UBA and Standard Trust Plc. The total sample size for the study was two hundred and sixty-nine (269) comprising staff and customers of the bank. The Likert-type structured questionnaire was adopted while Ordinary Least Square (OLS) Regression model was used to test the hypotheses. The study found that public relations had a positive significant impact on the cultivation of a mutually beneficial relationship with customers after mergers and acquisition among Nigerian Banks; management’s use of public relations has a positive significant impact on the success of the bank after the mergers and acquisition and public relations had a positive significant impact on the handling of issues after mergers and acquisition among Nigerian Banks. The study therefore concluded that an organization’s success in achieving its business objectives and its ability to remain competitive in the market is influenced by and can even depend on what people think about the company, what the company does and what it says on its reputation. Thus, the study recommends that the use of public relations should not be in isolation. This reflects that public relations role should be jointly used with other promotional tools such as advertisements e.t.c if they are to achieve the desired objectives of management.