ProCredit Bank has stood out in the banking market in the past years thanks to its successful operations, but also the services it has fully adapted to the demands of the high pace of life. In addition to two upgraded savings models, clients are also provided with a new concept of direct banking, which allows for each service to be used digitally, online or by using a call center, without having to go to the bank.
We talked about the results made in 2018, the upcoming plans, new digital services and the advantages and benefits of the so-called anti-stress banking with Igor Anic, a member of the Executive Board of ProCredit Bank.
eKapija: Since the current year is drawing to an end, how do you see the results made in 2018?
– This has been one of the most successful years so far and that’s how we expect to end it. In our corporate and agriculture business, we have achieved a growth of the credit portfolio of around EUR 100 million, as of September. The expectations are to have a growth of EUR 120 million by the end of 2018, which is a growth of over 15%. This has happened parallel to the increase in the number of new clients, a further digitalization of our services and their increased usage, as well as very interesting investment projects we’ve been involved in. Our focus has also been on using the guarantee schemes of the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund, which have enabled us to be involved in the projects of production companies which have increased their productivity, efficiency and competitiveness this way, and we expect to continue with this next year as well. When it comes to retail clients, we’ve implemented the concept of direct banking, which practically means that each service can be used digitally, online or by using the call center, without needing to visit the bank. When it comes to agriculture, we’ve also supported plenty of investment projects, RES projects and projects of biogas facilities. The new feature this year is the financing of investments from IPARD funds. As a bank with the biggest market share in financing agricultural production, we have supported all the projects, which we will continue doing in the next period as well.
eKapija: Speaking about the upcoming year, one of ProCredit Bank’s main focuses so far have been small and medium companies. What are your plans for 2019 and what will the strategic focus be placed on?
– Our focus won’t change and will stick to small and medium companies and agriculture, but we plan a significant growth in the retail segment and promoting direct banking services. This concept is popularly known as anti-stress banking, as it entails very simple usage of services, without stress. This concept entails the use of alternative channels, such as mobile phones, electronic banking or a phone through a virtual branch office, which is our Info Center, all without having to actually go to the bank. All our branch offices are equipped with 24/7 service zones where clients can carry out over 95% of the transactions available, without any difficulties. Clients can withdraw and pay money in dinars and euros, make transfers and carry out exchange transactions. This means that the majority of banking services can now be done individually 24/7, which gives full autonomy and security to clients, as well as efficient and transparent communication with the bank. This way, we’ve enabled our clients to manage their time better and be their own bankers for the majority of banking services.
eKapija: How do clients react to the new concept of the banking market and what do the numbers say?
– We have 400,000 electronic transactions a month, where the number of transactions carried out at the bank is around 1,000, that is, 35 a day, which shows that the majority of it is automatized. As a bank, we have invested a lot of energy and time to create that kind of a service, to develop efficient and safe communication channels and to show our clients all the benefits of digital banking. I believe that all the efforts have resulted in having the majority of our services being used electronically.
eKapija: This autumn, you introduced two new services as part of your savings models, Flex savings and Standard Term savings. What are their advantages and benefits?
– Flexible savings are a whole new concept compared to the standard offer of other banks in the market. It means that everyone with surplus money can transfer it to a flexible savings account at any moment through our digital channels, with an adequate interest rate. On the other hand, the money is fully available to them any time they need it. Flex savings is adapted to clients with regular income, who can regularly set aside money to save. On the other hand, standard term savings is used when you have surplus money you know you won’t need for another 12, 24, 36 months, which you can save with a quite fair interest rate.
eKapija: ProCredit Bank also supports ecological projects. How satisfied are you with your portfolio of green investment credits?
– The segment of financing green and renewable energy sources, the so-called green financing, is growing more and more significant with each year, both in our market and in our bank. The share of green credits in the credit portfolio is now around 14%, and we expect it to be 20% by late 2019. This entails investments in energy efficient equipment, energy efficient processes, investments in renewable energy sources, as well as some projects which help reduce the emission of CO2, recycling projects and many others. As a banking group, including our bank in Serbia, we have established a whole system for managing and supporting this segment of our business. There are engineers that we employ, that our experts in this field, whereas all our client advisers have been trained properly. This will certainly be an important segment in our society and our economy in the upcoming period, especially as the prices of energy sources grow, which will contribute a lot to increased investments in energy efficient solutions and increased competitiveness. Clients will therefore be more productive and will be able to achieve better results.
eKapija: The operations of ProCredit Bank are well known through the support to local agriculture. Can our farmers expect more benefits in 2019?
– When it comes to that segment, our bank has always kept up with farmers’ needs. Aside from classic services, we support them by advising them how to finance certain project which mechanism of the financing of the production is the most cost-effective, what new features can help them be more efficient and competitive. Together with the further development of IPARD projects, we expect that there will be plenty of interesting new solutions where we will be able to show our expertise and support those projects. On the other hand, the Ministry of Agriculture has various projects for supporting agriculture each year, and we as a bank make the best results possible, which we will continue to do in the upcoming year.