The metropolis of Sofia, Bulgaria
Interview with: Petia Dimitrova, CEO & Chairperson of the Management Board, Postbank
January 26, 2021
The pandemic has affected the entire monetary sector in current months and compelled corporations to reply shortly and adequately with plans and methods aimed to facilitate each purchasers and staff. This state of affairs allowed the banking sector to speed up a digital change that had already begun earlier than the worldwide lockdown, via investments in high-quality technological improvements reflecting the modified wants of shoppers.
One of these banks with a driving pressure for innovation is the Bulgarian establishment Postbank, which has been a decisive issue in innovation and in shaping Bulgaria’s banking traits in current years and has been awarded many occasions for its improvements. With a virtually 30-year presence among the many leaders in Bulgaria’s banking sector, Postbank manages a broad department community throughout the nation and a substantial consumer base of shoppers, corporations and establishments. Further, it has constructed some of the well-developed department networks and fashionable different banking channels. World Finance spoke to the CEO and chairperson of the administration board of Postbank, Petia Dimitrova, in regards to the financial institution’s current exercise and its plans for the long run.
The COVID-19 disaster has modified the enterprise surroundings in every single place all over the world. How have you ever dealt with it and the way has it affected the Bulgarian banking sector?
The COVID-19 disaster has affected many enterprise sectors, together with the banking one. We needed to reply quick and adequately by adapting our plans and methods to the state of affairs. I consider Postbank did fairly good – we had been ready for the challenges and offered our purchasers with personalised options once they wanted them. In the primary days after the lockdown, we had been prepared with a collection of measures aimed primarily at serving to our purchasers and giving them the consolation and safety they wanted. It might sound like a cliché however I consider each disaster opens new alternatives and helps us check our progress. The enterprise sector, not simply the banking one, needed to reply with the pace at which client behaviour modified – actually in someday – and present it’s resilient.
Well-operating corporations are used to tackling challenges however solely the profitable ones are ready for them. If I’ve to level to 1 optimistic impact of the disaster, it’s that it taught us to be daring in the introduction of improvements, that are aimed toward our purchasers’ comfort and can be utilized remotely. We needed to meet their foremost expectation at that second – totally distant entry to their private funds through our environment friendly digital channels. Of course, our workplaces remained open however complied with all required protecting measures as a result of we knew some purchasers choose this implies of communication. Meeting our staff’ expectations to guard them and facilitate their work was one other of our priorities.
The disaster confirmed us we may be quicker and extra environment friendly by shifting our focus to fashionable technological options. We had one foremost objective – to be extra versatile and discover the helpful options shoppers and firms want now as a result of they are going to be vital for them tomorrow. As a number one financial institution in the marketplace, I’m glad we managed to totally meet this want of our purchasers, which can also be on the foundations of Postbank’s motto, ‘Solutions for Your Tomorrow.’
You talked about digitalisation. What options have you ever launched in Postbank to facilitate your purchasers and staff in the present state of affairs?
The pandemic undoubtedly modified the banking sector in direction of the specified path of service digitalisation all of us have been speaking about for a very long time. It clearly confirmed that now’s the time for swift however high-quality improvements, categorical monetary options and merchandise, which mirror the modified wants of our purchasers. They must be simple to make use of and accessible through purchasers’ most popular channels. Postbank was totally ready to satisfy the brand new actuality as a result of the digitalisation processes in the financial institution began a few years in the past and the COVID-19 disaster targeted our efforts much more and made us pace up our plans.
With the Bank@Home marketing campaign, we inspired our purchasers to remain residence, thus defending them and our employees. We launched a completely distant strategy of making use of for and receiving debit and bank cards, which our purchasers can have delivered to an deal with of their selection. We offered them with an choice for on-line consultations for mortgage loans through EVA Postbank cellular app and a real-time dialog with the financial institution’s staff through the reside chat performance.
Postbank has been a market chief and a trendsetter for 30 years now. The introduction of varied digital options is the principle focus of our technique in order to supply glorious client expertise to each consumer and a chance to cut back the every day workload of our staff.
This is why it was fairly a pure step to be Bulgaria’s first financial institution establishment that has applied a large-scale and appreciable optimisation for simply six months through robotic course of automation applied sciences. We included six robots, which had been ‘skilled’ to execute 20 of the processes typical of the back-office, together with utilizing templates to create paperwork, updating person profiles, coming into bill knowledge, cost processing, and so on. This approach we diminished the time for processing and implementation of these processes by about 80 % on common.
We additionally achieved one thing vital – we improved the final client expertise as a result of innovation optimises actions, that are instantly – to an efficient and full customer support. We are planning to develop and incorporate new robots in the long run to additional optimise the financial institution’s processes.
You launched an intensive transformation of the Postbank department community and launched categorical banking digital zones. At what stage are you in this course of and the way did shoppers reply to them?
The financial institution department of the long run is provided with excessive applied sciences and is a mirrored image of contemporary purchasers’ wants. This is why we’re overhauling the design of our broad department community. We began the method in end-2019 with the opening of our first digital workplaces, that are a part of our complete coverage of introducing improvements for the comfort of our purchasers. Following the perfect international practices, now we have been opening since mid-2020 categorical banking digital zones in our branches to supply quicker and extra handy providers to our purchasers. They are at present out there in 32 Postbank workplaces in 15 Bulgarian cities, and allow our purchasers to determine themselves with their financial institution playing cards and perform about 90 % of money desk operations by themselves.
They can use the self-serving units to deposit or withdraw money from their Postbank playing cards and accounts, make transactions in BGN from all of their accounts in the financial institution, order financial institution statements for their accounts or bank card balances, in addition to obtain financial transfers through Western Union and plenty of different handy providers.
Speaking of our purchasers’ response, they’re happy as a result of they obtain yet another choice to conduct their transactions quick and save treasured time, which is a bonus in our dynamic on a regular basis life. Our staff are additionally happy as a result of they won’t need to do customary banking operations and can have the ability to spend extra time consulting our purchasers due to the distinctive service.
We launched a novel cellular pockets that gives extra financial institution providers to our purchasers through their telephones – including all financial institution playing cards to their person account, making contactless POS funds through their telephones, managing the playing cards in their cellular pockets via setting limits for the totally different cost channels (POS terminals, ATMs, on-line funds), an choice for including loyalty playing cards, low cost vouchers for buying with our companions, making direct transactions between the customers of the brand new cellular app to accounts in Postbank or different banks in Bulgaria, in addition to different financial institution playing cards in the EU. There are quite a few conveniences and I’m certain our purchasers will admire them.
We have fairly not too long ago launched one other innovation for inside communication with the financial institution’s workforce. The particular cellular app, Digital Office, permits us to handle our inside processes much more simply, which is a superb comfort as a result of now we have many workplaces and staff throughout the nation. Being an organization that prioritises each the improvements of the services and products we provide to our purchasers and the care for our workforce, we see the app as a chance with which we will additional care for them by making their on a regular basis life simpler and bettering the communication between them. The app is a continuation of our technique to be a most popular employer and of our imaginative and prescient in regards to the individuals we need to entice as staff and develop their abilities in the corporate by assembly their wants and expectations.
What are Postbank’s plans for 2021?
2021 will certainly be a particular 12 months for us as a result of we are going to have a good time our 30th anniversary. In all these years, now we have not stopped transferring ahead, however what’s most vital is that we remained a financial institution of first selection for our purchasers. We achieved it due to our work and united workforce. We have not too long ago gained the Bank of the Year in Bulgaria award and are actually pleased with this recognition. The accolade actually motivates us to set much more bold targets that we aren’t simply striving to realize, however overachieve. One can’t transfer ahead with no good workforce.
This is why I’m glad I’m working with authentic professionals and Postbank is among the many prime employers in Bulgaria. As I discussed, we’re planning to additional broaden the functionalities of our Express banking digital zones, in addition to their protection in Bulgaria as a part of our technique to supply glorious client expertise to each buyer.
Our efforts in this path have gained a number of prestigious worldwide accolades. We are completely satisfied now we have been named for the third consecutive 12 months Best Retail Bank in Bulgaria by World Finance and gained an award for client expertise in banking in some of the prestigious contests in the banking sector, Retail Banking: Europe 2019 awards. We will proceed our CSR initiatives, together with a strategic partnership with Bulgaria’s most fashionable software program college, SoftUni, with which we help younger individuals in their growth and create a working, bidirectional connection between the enterprise sector and training.
We are companions of the entrepreneurs in Bulgaria in our effort to assist them obtain larger enterprise development. We have been efficiently working in this path with the workforce of Endeavor Bulgaria on its Dare to Scale programme for the second consecutive 12 months. We additionally help initiatives of the United Nations Global Compact Network Bulgaria.