Post­bank: Banks will be of­fer­ing more cus­tom-made in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions

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What was the busi­ness ra­tio­nale be­hind the ac­qui­si­tion of Al­pha Bank Bulgaria and how will it af­fect Post­bank's po­si­tion­ing?

The deal, which we ex­pect to be fi­nal­ized by the end of 2015, will strengthen our po­si­tion as one of the most sta­ble fi­nan­cial in­stitu- tions in the coun­try with over 6.3 bil­lion levs in as­sets. We ex­pect to be­come the fourth largest bank in terms of loan and de­posit port­fo­lio, to ex­pand our client base in the re­tail banking and cor­po­rate banking seg­ments, to in­crease our mar­ket share and to con­tinue to im­ple­ment suc­cess­fully the longterm devel­op­ment strat­egy ap­proved by our in­ter­na­tional share­hold­ers.

What are the high­lights in your devel­op­ment strat­egy for 2016?

The fo­cus of our growth strat­egy for 2016 is our am­bi­tion to be a bank of first choice for in­di­vid­ual and cor­po­rate clients when they need fi­nan­cial so­lu­tions and prod­ucts, to cre­ate sus­tain­able ben­e­fits for our clients and be their strate­gic part­ners. Ef­forts to de­velop in­no­va­tive prod­ucts and in­di­vid­ual so­lu­tions for each client will re­main at the core of our bisi­ness.

The main con­tri­bu­tion to our suc­cess so far has come from in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions in var­i­ous ar­eas of our busi­ness. We in­tro­duced new prod­ucts in home pur­chase loans, sought out ways to help cus­tomers in man­ag­ing their fam­ily bud­get through pro­grammes such as My Fam­ily, and last but not least, we cre­ated the first on the mar­ket in­no­va­tion ap­pli­ca­tion for credit cards MyCard which fur­ther fa­cil­i­tated their use.

Hav­ing in mind the words of Jack Welch about the role of the leader, we at Post­bank will be a mir­ror for our cus­tomers, help­ing ev­ery­one see in his re­flec­tion what he re­ally needs. We will fo­cus a big part of our in­vest­ment ef­forts on in­no­va­tion and em­ployee train­ing. We will con­tinue to open new spe­cialised cen­tres for clients in dif­fer­ent seg­ments. We will also de­velop and of­fer our cus­tomers new bun­dled pro­grammes for com­plex banking ser­vice which will al­low free­dom of choice as op­posed to the standard banking prod­ucts of­fered by our com­peti­tors.

Do you ex­pect the con­sol­i­da­tion in the Bul­gar­ian banking sec­tor to con­tinue?

The main thing that the busi­ness and banks need is se­cu­rity and that is why the Bul­gar­ian Na­tional Bank is sup­port­ing con­sol­i­da­tion in the banking sec­tor. In my opin­ion, the con­sol­i­da­tion process will con­tinue. Reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments, the need for in­vest­ments and strong com­pe­ti­tion in a mod­er­ately grow­ing mar­ket which lim­its profit mar­gins, are among the con­sol­i­da­tion driv­ers. Smaller banks lack the economies of scale and have no ca­pac­ity to in­vest in the up­grade of their ser­vices and prod­ucts, and this may push some banking in­sti­tu­tions to merge. This would make the mar­ket more ef­fi­cient and would bring down prices of ser­vices, which in turn would be good for the en­tire banking sys­tem.

Has the Bul­gar­ian banking sys­tem re­cov­ered from the im­pact of Corp­bank's col­lapse, and more re­cently, the cri­sis in Greece?

The banks in Bulgaria man­aged to deal with the re­cent chal­lenges and the level of cap­i­tal ad­e­quacy and liq­uid­ity in the banking sys­tem is very high. Bul­gar­i­ans re­tained their con­fi­dence in the banks. We all learned a les­son from Corp­bank's col­lapse, and it ul­ti­mately led to higher ef­fi­ciency of each fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion and the su­per­vi­sory au­thor­i­ties.

Re­gard­ing the cri­sis in Greece, its im­pact on the Bul­gar­ian busi­ness is much greater than the ef­fect it has on the banking sys­tem. Our fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions are well-cap­i­talised and have no ex­po­sure to Greek credit in­sti­tu­tions. On the other hand, Greece is one of our main trade part­ners, many Greek com­pa­nies have sub­sidiaries in Bulgaria and the Greek cri­sis had a neg­a­tive im­pact on their re­sults. The sooner the sit­u­a­tion re­turns to nor­mal, the bet­ter for ev­ery­one who wants to do busi­ness in Greece. Ev­ery cri­sis opens up new op­por­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple who can adapt quickly.

Pe­tia Dim­itrova, CEO and Chair­per­son of the Man­age­ment Board

Post­bank has a 24 year his­tory on the Bul­gar­ian mar­ket. In July, Post­bank and Al­pha Bank signed a Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing for the ac­qui­si­tion of the Bul­gar­ian branch of Al­pha Bank. Fol­low­ing the com­ple­tion of the ac­qui­si­tion, Post­bank will be­come the fourth largest bank in Bulgaria in terms of loan and de­posit port­fo­lio.

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