Petia Dimitrova: We Launched a Large-Scale Strategic Partnership with Doverie PAC in Offering High-Quality Products to Our Customers
20 October 2021
An interview with Petia Dimitrova, CEO and Chairperson of the Management Board of Postbank for the finance and economy website investor.bg.
The new reality in the banking sector is related to its digitalization, how did Postbank meet this trend?
Everything that happened in the past almost two years created many challenges before us all as it was an authentic and real test of our skill to adequately react to change, the scale of which could not be easily foreseen nor controlled. We at Postbank have never stopped implementing digital solutions and we reacted fast since we were well prepared – we started digitalization processes in our bank years ago by creating a special unit with specific tasks entirely in this direction. This group developed a complete strategy and its implementation, setting priority areas for investing in creating new products with the main goal of digitalization.
Innovations are what gives the necessary energy to overcome the challenges and what changes banking.
What are some of the areas in which you directed resources and investments over the year?
As one of the leaders on the financial services market, our efforts were aimed at constantly developing and upgrading our wide range of innovative solutions. Our customers’ needs are of paramount importance, which is why we strive to not only guarantee perfect user experience, but also to always add value to the products and services we develop. Our strategic partnership with one of the leading international insurers Doverie Pension Assurance Company (PAC) and offering high-quality pension-insurance products allow us to cover the various needs and expectations of our customers, by giving them the opportunity to plan long-term in detail, guaranteeing their peace of mind and the financial independence they need at any stage of their life.
Thanks to the partnership, our customers will quickly, easily and conveniently be able conclude their first contract for supplementary pension assurance, as well as to transfer their accumulated funds from a universal or professional fund to the one managed by Doverie PAC. The agreement will give all users with long-term plans the option to join a voluntary pension fund that offers them a higher standard of living after retirement age. Along with all other advantages, supplementary pension insurance allows generating profits from investments at a moderate risk level.
As partnership is a bilateral process, we will also offer a special product, made for Doverie PAC customers soon to reach retirement age, which will allow for advantageous everyday banking. Doverie PAC customers and employees will also be able to enjoy the innovative financial products and individual solutions of Postbank.
Could you tell us a bit more about yet another innovation you introduced at Postbank – Smart POS by Postbank?
I can proudly state that Postbank is the first among banks in Bulgaria to offer a mobile app for contactless payments which quickly, easily and conveniently turned smartphones into POS terminals. This app with which any business owner can offer contactless payments with Visa and Mastercard to their customers directly through their mobile phone, without having to maintain the traditional POS terminal. The innovative service we are adding to our broad portfolio of digital products focuses on developing the entrepreneurial ecosystem and with it, the bank answers users’ changing needs.
The app offers an easy and convenient solution for contactless payments for all merchants and is attractive both to the smallest and most niche businesses and the largest corporate clients, because what unites them is mobility, which is key to the effective development of many industries.
Smart POS by Postbank is coming to further build on the established POS business model and make contactless payments much more accessible and convenient. This in itself will widen access to contactless payments for end customers which is not only comfortable, but also especially important in pandemic conditions. By using modern technologies’ capabilities in banking, we once again cater to the needs of our customers for speed, convenience and accessibility of the services we offer.
The high-tech service is our first innovation of this type, with which we once again address the global trend of consumers preferring digital forms of payment over traditional methods. Postbank’s software POS adds value not only to the business of merchants that use it, but also to the service that end customers receive. And for the industries using mobile POS devices, switching to a software POS is a much more profitable and easy to maintain solution because it provides more successful business and sales management as well as easier planning via the accessible reporting.
These innovations are part of our consistent policy in the field of digitalization and come as a logical continuation of already proven products that we have also offered throughout the year. Our unique new generation mobile wallet ONE Wallet, with which users receive even more banking services on their phone, is already enjoying high approval rates. Thanks to it, customers practically have immediate contactless access to main banking services, because they transfer their physical wallet to their mobile phone. In their new wallet, they can add all their bank cards and freely and effectively manage them thanks to the wide variety of functionalities set out in the app. These include contactless phone payment at POS terminals, managing cards in the mobile wallet like setting limits for different channels (POS, ATM, online payment), options to add loyalty cards from various shops, discount vouchers for partners of ours and many more.
Another major innovation we carried out at Postbank were our digital express banking zones which were immediately appreciated as a preferred alternative to banking at a desk. Thanks to the intuitive devices in these zones, our customers can easily and quickly carry out themselves a major part of main banking functions after identifying with just a debit or credit card, without having to be registered for the bank’s online banking. Digital zones are already functioning in 75 branches in 32 cities and new locations and upgrades to the service are yet to be unveiled.
How important is the team in implementing such innovative projects?
Over the past years, my greatest achievement is the team we built, kept, and significantly expanded over time. We maintained the highest level of trust of our shareholders, we enjoy their strong support and the international know-how of the strong group we are part of, thanks to which we can grow and invest in innovations.
We move forward with 30 years of experience behind us and the power of the professional team – these are the ingredients of the fuel that drives our energy and expertise. The fact that we became Bank of the Year precisely in the most challenging for all 2020 is a token of recognition for the high professionalism and quality of services we offer together.
Our digital achievements were highly esteemed in the prestigious World Finance Digital Banking Awards 2020 competition of the renowned World Finance Magazine. We were awarded in the Best Consumer Digital Banks, Bulgaria and Best Mobile Banking Apps, Bulgaria categories. And in the same elite competition, Postbank was named winner in the Best Retail Bank, Bulgaria category for the fourth year in a row. For this I would like to thank our employees, without whom these achievements would not have been possible.
What are the main goals you are aiming at in 2022?
The topic of Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) is actively making its way on public agenda with specific actions being undertaken and advancements in the three fields of ESG, notably environmental protection, social responsibility and good corporate governance among various companies and investors in Bulgaria, being assessed.
Postbank, as one of the leading banks on the Bulgarian market, will continue implementing a long-term sustainable social policy in all these directions through our internal policies and rules in making investment decisions, taking into account the factors of socially responsible investing and the level of commitment of investors regarding the risks for such investments in companies within their portfolio. Long-term social responsibility policies at the bank are implemented via sustainable practices applied in the various processes and leading to real actions in protecting the environment and lowering the carbon footprint.
We just recently awarded the winners in Postbank’s innovative digital platform A Universe of Opportunities, created to promote interesting ideas, related to social entrepreneurship in favor of society. A total of 238 projects with huge potential in the key fields Digital Innovations, Education and Green Projects reached the final stage of the competition and following the decisive vote of a renowned jury three winners were selected – one project in each of the fields. They entirely reflect the mission and values Postbank will still abide by in 2022 as we continue offering innovative digital solutions, developing various green initiatives and contributing to achievements in education.