Union Bank & Trust is the first Virginia-based regional bank in more than 20 years following two significant acquisitions – Xenith Bank and Access National Bank. The result is a bank large enough to challenge large national banks like Bank of America and BB&T, yet nimble enough to compete with local, community banks. The acquisitions fueled new leadership, expanded geographical reach and new products and services. 

This provided a unique opportunity for Union Bank & Trust to tell a new story. The challenge was the bank did not have a formal publicity and media relations strategy or program and had limited media relationships. Working alongside a new Vice President, Director of Corporate Communications, Sweeney developed and implemented a strategic publicity and media relations plan. The goal was to develop strong relationships with the Virginia media and the banking trade media, and establish Union as a trusted thought leader and expert in the financial space as they worked to shape and tell a new story.


  1. Form relationships with primary editorial contacts at the local and state levels, as well as key banking trade.
  2. Create awareness for the bank throughout Virginia as Virginia’s regional bank.
  3. Establish the Vice President, Director of Corporate Communications, as the key media contact.
  4. Establish bank leadership as financial experts.
  5. Secure quality media coverage from key media outlets.


In just eight short months, the publicity and media relations efforts resulted in more than 2,600 articles and 479 million impressions throughout Virginia and in key banking trades. The publicity and media relations campaign helped achieve all the outlined goals above and secured coverage in many key publications, including:

American Banker

Washington Business Journal

Inside Business

Richmond BizSense

The Free Lance-Star