Petia Dimitrova: Striving to Grow is Part of Our DNA at Postbank
23 November 2021
An interview with Petia Dimitrova, CEO and Chairperson of the Management Board of Postbank for the financial and economic portal money.bg
Thelast two years and the pandemic situation gave a visible boost to digitalization, payments and financial services. What products and services did Postbank offer its customers?
Indeed, we started digitalization processes in Postbank years ago, creating a special unit with specific tasks related entirely to this mission. This group developed a complete strategy, along with its implementation, outlining the priority fields for investing in creating new products with the main aim of digitalization.
We continue contributing to the development of the digital ecosystem and we are happy that days ago we became the first bank in Bulgaria to offer Smart POS by Postbank – an easy and convenient solution for contactless payments for every merchant. The innovative service, contributing to the mobility that is key to the efficient development of industries, is attractive to both the smallest niche businesses and the big corporate customers.
Our attention is currently focused on instant payments, allowing for money to be transferred to a counterparty in seconds. We are the first certified bank in Bulgaria, offering its customers the modern service for instant payments in Bulgarian levs under the Blink Program of the National Card and Payment Scheme, part of BORICA. This new to our market service has many advantages and the main one is precisely speed.
Earlier in the year we offered on the market our unique new generation mobile wallet ONE Wallet, with which users can receive even more banking services through their phone. With it, they practically have direct contactless access to main banking services, transferring their physical wallet to their mobile phone.
In the past two years, we started a complete renovation of our branch network and invested in modern digital zones, immediately recognized as a preferred alternative to banking at a desk. Thanks to the intuitive devices in these zones, our customers can conveniently and quickly carry out themselves the majority of main banking transactions, simply identifying with their debit or credit card, without having to be registered for the bank’s internet banking.
Youbroadenedyourproductportfoliobysigningan agreement withDoveriePensionAssuranceCompany. How will this cooperation help the customers of both institutions?
We signed an agreement for a large-scale strategic partnership with the leading Bulgarian Pension Assurance Company Doverie, part of Vienna Insurance Group, which will provide our customers access to the most innovative banking, insurance and pension assurance solutions on the market. Our partnership will offer all users conscious of their future the option to join a voluntary and universal pension fund which will allow for a higher standard of living in retirement age. Alongside all the other benefits, supplementary pension assurance allows for generating return on investment at a moderate risk level.
It is of strategic importance to us to partner with non-banking financial institutions as well, therefore we will offer a special product, designated for Doverie PAC customers, who are soon to enter 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.
Mrs. Dimitrova, you have experience at bank acquisitions at Postbank. From this standpoint, what is your opinion on the most recent such deal from days ago?
Let me point out that this is indeed the most recently chronologically speaking but will hardly remain such for long, observing the dynamic in the Bulgarian banking sector.
The strong international group we are a part of, Eurobank, undertook a series of acquisitions of other banks in the region. Just recently, the Serbian division of the group acquired Direktna Banka and finalizing the investment in the second largest bank in Cyprus – Hellenic Bank – is also expected very soon. This is yet another step in strengthening the positions of Eurobank as a systemically important banking group in Southeast Europe and a result of the strategy of the shareholders – Canadian and American funds – for broadening the presence in key markets like ours.
The positions of Eurobank group here are also soon going to be strengthened, following our natural aspiration to increase our market share not only through organic growth, but also through acquisitions of more strategic players on the market.
Doesthis mean that you continue to monitor the market to buy another bank?
At Postbank we not only have the knowledge, above all we have the solid experience, speaking of acquiring banks and quickly and smoothly integrating them.
Two years after our last deal for acquiring Piraeus Bank Bulgaria and five years after the deal for the Bulgarian branch of Alpha Bank with which we set the beginning of the wave of market consolidations, our group has the green light for more investment in Bulgaria.
We are closely monitoring all options on the market, and we are ready to participate in other such deals. Implementing them will naturally establish Postbank among the leading banks in terms of assets as well, after reaching leadership positions in terms of loans and deposit portfolio with our excellent results.