Online banking, as part of the strategy of the ProCredit group, is an integral factor in the development of the Bank in Ukraine
Author: Peter Dickinson
This year, the German ProCredit Bank continues to actively reform their business in Ukraine. The Bank puts before itself new business goals and is willing to invest in further development.
With the beginning of the year ProCredit Bank closed seven branches, but this does not mean that the Bank intends to stay at its development in Ukraine is just the opposite. During the unstable post-Maidan period, ProCredit remains one of the strongest players in the Ukrainian financial market, showing in 2016, annual growth of total assets greater than 55 %. Steady growth continued and in 2017 in the first quarter of the current year the loan portfolio of the Bank increased by 25 million euros. The impressive performance of the Bank has provided support to the shareholders of the ProCredit group, is necessary for further growth in Ukraine. The aim of the ongoing reforms is to provide an online service of modern high-quality format of online banking that is focused on business customers and middle class.
Launch of a mobile app
In the current situation the online service largely corresponds to the Bank “habits” of customers of ProCredit Bank. Viktor Ponomarenko, Chairman of the management Board of ProCredit Bank in Ukraine, says: “Actively using online banking at work, many of our customers didn’t even notice the closure of the offices. Most of our clients successfully do business in Ukraine and abroad and have a clear idea of the level of financial services in Europe or in the United States. No matter what country or working the business, it requires quality management. The development of technology changes the lifestyle and thinking of people, including expectations for financial services. The need to regularly visit Bank branches just disappeared”.
For 2017, the Bank plans to significantly modernize the existing complex of remote banking services, as well as starting the app for mobile banking. Victor Ponomarenko: “This app will be an important component of our business model. Smartphones have become an integral part of our everyday life. Today they are an important tool for financial transactions. We want to offer attractive, safe and easy mobile app”.
Fewer customers, more transactions
ProCredit Bank offers online services, which is focused on key customer groups – business customers and middle class who value the transparency and efficiency of financial transactions.
In practice, for the Bank this means a decrease in the number of clients, but increasing the number of operations. Victor Ponomarenko expects that this trend will continue, as the Bank will continue to focus on the main customer segment. Now ProCredit Bank in Ukraine serves about 40 thousand private customers; last year there were 60 thousand. Victor Ponomarenko expects in current market conditions, the Bank will serve a customer base of 20K. “The Bank never intended to become a large retail Bank,” he says, adding that the current changes will enable the Bank to allocate more resources to work with the target clients. “Our business model is based on providing high quality service. This is only possible with a limited number of customers.”
The change of ProCredit Bank’s strategy includes increasing the minimum Deposit amount of 100 thousand UAH (in equivalent) and the introduction of monthly fee in the amount of 100 UAH for banking services. Victor Ponomarenko recognizes that the introduction of a fee could lead to quite contradictory feedback from customers of the Bank. But he is convinced that the approach is not to charge each service separately, and to charge a single monthly fee – based on common sense and it will make the Bank more understandable and more competitive. “If you calculate the cost of banking services, our offer looks attractive. I expect that, in most cases, customers will save on maintenance”.
ProCredit Bank know in the market as a specialized Bank for small business. It is for this segment of customers personal contact with the Bank is crucial. Victor Ponomarenko stressed that reducing the number of offices does not imply a reduction of direct communication with customers. “When we’re talking about business clients, individual approach, of course, important. Customers need constant contact with Bank employees,” he says. “The individual approach remains the same regardless of number of branches. Every business customer of our Bank are assigned a responsible specialist. The Bank constantly invests in training these employees and individual approach to business customers – regardless of the number of offices in Ukraine.”
The increase in transactions conducted online, puts the Bank of new task – to preserve their simplicity, to go through smart IT solutions. Online banking includes the services that require that users acquire the skills of handling them. This is not unique to banking, but to many other online solutions. They were effective and convenient for users, they need to invest. Victor Ponomarenko says that simplicity is the basis of the business model of the Bank in Ukraine, even in terms of increasing the range of services and improve service quality. “The development of online banking is a significant investment for us, which demonstrates the commitment of ProCredit market of Ukraine, – he added. – To build simple, clear and high-quality business model is much more difficult than to be a universal Bank and offer a wide range of services and all kinds of decisions.”