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MAGAZINE small business banking magazine

mBank’s Ecosystem for SME customers ING Business — an omnichannel platform for business clients

John Mark Williams:

Business agility is a mindset

Digital strategy and cooperation with fintechs

Key takeaways from SME Banking Club events 2018


LINKEDIN www.smebanking.club

SME Banking Club



SME Banking Club



SME Banking Club

Your source for SME Banking News! Innovations, Marketing, Interviews



Dear Reader, In this issue of SBB Magazine, we share key insights and takeaways (pp. 26-45) from all of SME Banking Club’s main events in 2018, involving almost 500 SME bankers and experts from the regions where we have a presence and generating many fascinating ideas and insights. For the second year, we devoted a separate panel during our conferences to discussing cooperation models between banks and fintechs. We see that cooperation is evolving in the CEE region. Alior Bank in Poland opened a special space this September in which, together with startups from the fintech industry, the bank will implement new solutions under its Olena Gryniuk with John Mark Williams RBL_START acceleration program (pp. 8-9). This year BGŻ BNP (Agile Business Consortium) during the Paribas in Poland implemented a “Code for Cooperation with CEE SME Banking Conference 2018 in Warsaw Startups” – changes that facilitate the Bank’s cooperation with new companies (p.6). Jelena Đurović (Societe Generale Srbija) contributed to this issue with the bank’s first collaboration experience with a startup when creating an offer for freelancers (pp. 10-12). The topic of digital transformation in SME Banking is a trendy topic all over the world and a guiding theme through all the articles in this issue. We drew up a Digital Transformation Study with the purpose of analyzing the digital transformation going on in SME Banking as well as digital strategies that banks have launched in the CEE region, thereby providing examples of how banks can digitalize services for their SME customers. (p. 5) Transactional Banking is the main starting point from which banks start their digital transformation. This issue of the magazine contains key notes from the presentation made by Adam Walendziewski (ING Bank Śląski) during the CEE SME Banking Club Conference 2018 in Warsaw (October 29-30) about the omnichannel digital platform – ING Business – launched for SME, Mid Corp and Wholesale customers in Poland, which covers all banking services and enables the electronic signing of documents (pp. 34-36). ING Business is an impressive example of the success of the Agile way of working in the bank. It was also implemented in and adapted for the Romanian market. (pp. 14-15) In creating an ecosystem of services which go beyond core banking, banks see an opportunity to obtain new sources of untapped profit and – just as essential – to deepen customer relationships and become an important partner for small businesses. We talked with Piotr Teodorczyk, Director of the Business Customer Department, about how this is done at mBank (Poland). (pp. 18-20) I am eager to see more examples of digital strategies from the CEE region in 2019 as well as more openness to digitalization and cooperation with startups. Looking forward to it! I wish you pleasant reading!

Sincerely, Olena Gryniuk CEE Regional Director at SME Banking Club




3 5 reasons to read this issue… 5 Digital Strategies in SME Banking BGŻ BNP Paribas Bank in Poland 6 How cooperates with startups


a new space and 8 RBL_: accelerator by Alior Bank

SBB Magazine Magazine of SME Banking Club SME Banking Club Team:

have we learned 10 What by developing the product in cooperation with users? Bank Polska in Poland 13 Santander will service SMEs through virtual RMS offer for Micro and SME segment 14 An at ING Bank Romania

16 SMEs tend to opt for leased fleets

18 mBank’s Ecosystem for SME customers

22 Achieving Competitive Advantage through Fact-based management in SME Banking

Andrey Gidulyan ceo@smebanking.club @AGidulyan

of factoring 24 Automation services for SMEs SME Banking Club 26 Caucasus Conference 2018 to knowledge 28 Access and networking are the primary

Olena Gryniuk cee@smebanking.club @olenagrinyuk

needs of small businesses Banking Ecosystem 30 SME at TBC Bank in Georgia Study tour to Poland: 32 SME Inspired by innovations Business – an omnichannel 34 ING platform for business clients & Digital Transformation 37 CRM Why and How You Should Digitize Customer Relationships Marketplace for SMEs – 38 Deposit Access to Savings Products Across Europe – Leasing as a method 39 LeaseLink of payment Mark Williams: 40 John Business agility is a mindset SME Banking Club 42 CEE Conference 2018 Banking Club 50 SME Conferences 2019

51 About the SME Banking Club 4

Alexey Sayapin cis@smebanking.club sayapin.alexey Guest Authors: Jelena Đurović Design, layout: Alexander Kryachko Sources: www.smebanking.club SME Banking Club operated by: Gidulyan Company Ltd, 61/31, Avtozavodskaya str., Kiev, 04114, Ukraine and GG Company Sp. z o.o. ul. Królewska 65a/1 30-081, Krakow, Poland www.smebanking.club www.smebanking.events For details of advertising please contact us at cee@smebanking.club



Digital Strategies in SME Banking


he importance of becoming a digital bank is a trendy topic all over the world and has been discussed and covered recently by banking and software experts worldwide in numerous articles, research papers and other documents describing digital banking and why it is becoming increasingly important. There is no longer any option for banks but to change the way they are doing business and launch their digital transformation. This process goes far beyond launching a mobile app and includes digitalization of the front-oďŹƒce and back-oďŹƒce, costs, revenues, the customer experience, and most importantly, changing the mindset of the whole organization. It creates a


fully digital ecosystem that cares for and allows both customers and employees to evolve. We drew up a Digital Banking Transformation. SME Banking Strategies Study with the purpose of analyzing the digital transformation going on in SME Banking as well as digital strategies that banks have launched in the CEE region, thereby providing examples of how banks can digitalize services for their SME customers. It is undoubtedly necessary for each bank to determine what its digital future will look like as well as to set clear business goals: increasing revenues, reducing costs and mitigating risks. Unfortunately, or fortunately, there is no single ready-made digital banking solution that can

be implemented in every bank, and there is no single pass on digital transformation. Also, while making these decisions, it’s always useful to learn lessons from and see the examples of those who have already made some progress towards digital transformation. The Study is available at www.smebanking.club

Scan QR code to download the full study



HOW BGŻ BNP PARIBAS BANK IN POLAND COOPERATES WITH STARTUPS BGZ BNP Paribas was the first bank in Poland to present a “Code for Cooperation with Startups” — changes that facilitate the Bank’s cooperation with new companies


GŻ BNP Paribas was the first bank in Poland to present a “Code for Cooperation with Startups” — changes that facilitate the Bank’s cooperation with new companies. From now on, startups that want to implement their solutions in the Bank, in accordance with the introduced “Code,” will do it much faster and more efficiently in cooperation with Bank experts and under the care of a dedicated mentor. As part of the “Code,” a simplified purchasing process for new technological solutions and templates for documents for the so-called Proof of Concept were implemented.

“The business culture in corporations does not always create optimal conditions for effective cooperation with startups and the development of innovations. Tedious procedures and a long purchasing process are just some of the difficulties that startups interested in working with a corporation face. Having this in mind and knowing the specifics of new technology companies, we have simplified the purchasing process, created templates for the necessary documents, built a dedicated test environment and outlined the principles of future cooperation,” says Piotr Widacki, Managing Director at BGŻ BNP Paribas Bank. “Startups have a much better sense of customer needs. We are heading in this direction. I believe that the Code we have introduced will bring us even closer,” Widacki adds. The “Code for Cooperation with Startups” is a consequence of the Bank’s consultations with new companies that already cooperate with BGŻ BNP Paribas. However, bearing in mind the best application of good practices included in the Code, the Digital Transformation Team, managed by Piotr Widacki, will continue to consult with the startup environment on a regular basis, streamlining cooperation


between the corporation and startups as much as possible. What does that mean in practice? We verify the technological needs of the Bank We review the Bank’s needs, identify priorities and define a business owner. Then we form a team and budget to implement the PoC (Proof of Concept). It consists of representatives of business and IT. Finally, we start communicating about the current need of the Bank. We connect business owners with startups For about two weeks we look for technology on the market (scouting), and interested startups are welcome to contact us at startupy@ bgzbnpparibas.pl. Then we help in preparing for future talks, and selected startups are invited to meet, including within the framework of Office Hours. We sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). During the session, each startup has 45 minutes to address our needs. We work together on a solution (workshops) We continue to work with selected startups and organize workshops (6-8 hours) during which we work on finding solutions. Then we define the scope of work, the schedule, planned outcomes (description of the PoC), as well as the content and conditions of the order for the startup. Together, we complete the documents and help to complete them. We sign one of the simplified contract templates for Proof of Concept. We test the solution (PoC) In the fourth step, we test the chosen technology in the test environment (sandbox). We define the time that is needed to test the solution individually. We draw conclusions from the PoC and — if they are successful — we continue to

work. We set business goals (KPIs) and specify the scope of further work. We implement the best solutions We verify security and compliance aspects with obligatory regulations and together create a socalled business case. We make a joint decision on the best payment model. We present the contract model to the startup and get to work. We care about relationships The Digital Transformation Team recruits startups. Each company we decide to cooperate with receives a dedicated mentor. We help startups navigate all steps of the process; we give clear and specific feedback. We assume that the process from Proof of Concept to implementation will be closed within a quarter (depending on the level of complexity of the technology and scope of its implementation in the Bank). Detailed information on the principles of cooperation between BGŻ BNP Paribas and startups can be found on the Bank’s website on the startup page (www.bgzbnpparibas.pl/startupy). Office Hours are part of a simplified purchasing process, during which Bank experts select the best startups from the market that have technological solutions we are interested in. To date, the Digital Transformation Team has organized seven events in the Office Hours series, during which experts looked at nearly one hundred solutions in the following areas: PSD2, antifraud, e-commerce for the moto industry, technologies for the agro sector and HR solutions. Startups that would like to take part in such events are invited to apply at startupy@bgzbnpparibas.pl Source: BGŻ BNP Paribas Bank press release of May 22, 2018


CIS & Caucasus SME Banking Report 2018 SME Banking Outlook for CIS & Caucasus region and detailed analysis per countries: Armenia, Belarus, Georgia. Kazakhstan, Ukraine. Banking Groups Overview for CIS & Caucasus region in SME Banking segment Language — Russian

CEE SME Banking Report 2018 SME Banking Outlook for Central and Eastern Europe region and detailed analysis per countries: Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Hungary. Banking Groups Overview for CEE region in SME Banking segment Language — English

Ask for your copy at cee@smebanking.club SMALL BUSINESS BANKING MAGAZINE





n September 12 this year, Alior Bank — in response to market trends and customer needs — opened a special space in which, together with startups from the fintech industry, the bank will implement new solutions under its RBL_START acceleration program. This space will also be used to carry out surveys on customer feedback and test new bank products and services. Alior Bank’s RBL_START program will last for three months. The program’s goal is to develop products and services appreciated by customers and supporting automation of the bank’s processes. The best solutions will be implemented at Alior Bank. During the acceleration program, startups will develop solutions in cooperation with bank mentors and external partners. In a specially designed space developed by the Robert Majkut Design studio in the Warsaw Spire building, startups, together with the bank’s clients, will be able to carry out tests of their solutions. There will also be workshops and mentoring on offer. Participants will also have access to a test environment with API services related to PSD 2 (Alior Bank’s Developer Portal). The partners of the program are PZU, the Warsaw Stock Exchange, Huge Thing, Mastercard, IBM, Google Cloud, Amazon and Microsoft. — One of the determinants of an innovative company is its ability to cooperate with startups. By implementing the bank’s RBL_START program, we will once again prove that “Digital Rebel” is not a cliché but a real commitment. After testing with blockchain technology and the Open API model, we are entering the next level of advancement: we want to develop solutions that will revolutionize the market — says Katarzyna Sułkowska, CEO at Alior Bank. Alior Bank successfully combines business and an unusual approach to technology. Together with the startup VoicePin, the bank successfully implemented the DRONN artificial intelligence solution, which supports certain processes within the bank, including monitoring of key


During an official opening event in RBL_ , September 12, Warsaw (Poland)

customers and higher-risk customers, ROR closing processes and dispatch of reminder letters as part of execution processes. Currently, “Digital Rebel” is in the process of creating a pan-European platform based on the Open API model in cooperation with Mastercard and foreign fintech companies: Raisin and solarisBank.

With the start of the RBL_START program, Alior Bank introduced its new brand: RBL_. The purpose of the brand is to combine everything that is innovative, digital and fresh. Two entities operate under the RBL_ brand (short for REBEL): RBL_START — an acceleration program for startups, and RBL_LAB — a laboratory for work on technological solutions.



RBL_START It took over 80 days, more than 100 meetings and dozens of teleconferences to choose eight startups out of nearly 100 from around the world that applied for the RBL_START acceleration program within just one month. This difficult selection process was carried out by the managers and directors of the IT department and business units. This year’s edition bears the slogan ‘Open Banking’ because the profile of many startups that applied refers to this model. Among the startups that were accepted to the RBL_START program, various innovative solutions were found in the areas of, among others, account aggregation and expenditure categorization, robo-advisory, deferred payments, artificial intelligence and remote verification based on PSD2 and blockchain technology. “The Alior Bank Accelerator is a huge opportunity for startups. Their employees will acquire new competencies, the solutions presented by them will be developed in cooperation with mentors, and subsequently selected projects will be selected for implementation within the bank or within PZU, which is the main partner for this edition. However, that’s not all. Startups participating in the program can apply for business development financing from Alior Bank. We also plan a trip to London, during which our participants will have the opportunity to get acquainted with the local fintech market,” says Kamila Wincenciak, FinTech Partnership Manager at Alior Bank.

RBL_ Space Modern space in the Warsaw Spire building is a place where, apart from the acceleration program, various workshops, meetings, events and research on the bank’s products and services will also be organized. These activities are made possible by a networking space and a special laboratory. In the separated space, Alior Bank has created one of the most modern laboratories in Poland intended for work on digital solutions, including research with users. RBL_LAB is a versatile, flexible place that is fully suited to the process of building innovation, with smart boards, video conferencing sets and cameras all provided for this purpose. The space’s creators were guided by the idea of an agile approach to projects,


characterized by quick incorporation of the recommendations of users in the process of creating solutions. RBL_LAB is intended to host design workshops, during which specialists will develop practical solutions for the bank. Over the next few days, designers will visualize these ideas or prepare working prototypes. Final concepts will be presented during research with users. Thus kind of activity cycle will significantly reduce the time required for implementing solutions. It will also make it easier to identify ideas that are highly unlikely to meet the needs of customers. The laboratory will also be used to improve standard internal solutions, test new technologies and develop ideas proposed by employees. Thanks to modern technology, employees from the headquarters in Krakow and Gdansk will be able to participate in current activities remotely. “We want to continually improve our services and achieve an ever higher level of innovation — the RBL_ concept should help us do this. When preparing the space, we also thought about the market, which — just like us — wants to develop toward new technologies. This is why in the new office, apart from the accelerator and the laboratory, there will also be a networking space. Educational events and meetings for our customers will be organized there as well as internal events that will familiarize employees with the subject of innovation,” says Marcin Jaszczuk, Vice President of the Board at Alior Bank. Source: bank’s Press release from September 12, 2018



What have we learned by developing the product in cooperation with users? Jelena Durovic Segment manager in the Marketing Division at Societe Generale Srbija By vocation, I am a specialist in the field of banking and finance. By experience, I am an expert for small business lending, marketing, and CRM with over 15 years of engagement in the Serbian banking sector. By carrier goal, I am a digital transformation enthusiast eager to show that banking is not only about cash, queuing and figures but also about innovation, team spirit and partnership with clients, startups and other stakeholders that are on the same mission of changing the world. In essence, I am a true supporter of entrepreneurship.


from Clever DOO. They were already developing web application PAUSAL for easy administration of lump-sum tax entrepreneurs at the time, but still without MVP.

The story about the development of SINHRO package is a fascinating one and a good example of how we should always be open to hear about new ideas and meet new people from different backgrounds and industries even when we have no clear expectations from those activities. Everything started with the SGS and ICT hub partnership contract. The initial idea was that we should foster a connection with the ICT community and interaction with startups to adopt some new advanced business principles and push for innovations in all fields, to work efficiently and purposefully. Of course, the idea was also to prepare a banking offer for the community that we were working with at that time. At that moment, all we saw were startups, so we began by focusing on them. We had many conversations and one-on-one meetings with representatives of this segment, which helped us learn about their challenges in Serbia, and not only concerning banking. The turning point was when we met Sofija Popara and her team

Getting to know the community allowed us to understand what kind of problems they were facing. At the start of our cooperation, the initial idea was to enrich the general offer for the segment of lump-sum tax entrepreneurs, which was already a significant part of our client base. Nevertheless, in the meantime, we understood that there was also a specific sub-segment of clients whose needs were completely unserved on our banking market. They are freelancerscontractors that are registered as lump-sum tax entrepreneurs, and work mostly as experts in the fields of ICT and digital technologies, but also as lawyers and consultants in various areas of business. Their main problem is that, even though they have regular and significant revenues, banks don’t have an understanding of their flexible engagement in the companies they work for. In other words, they couldn’t think about applying for a mortgage or car loan because most of the banks require a permanent employment

’ll admit something ... the Special offer for freelancers-contractors, registered as lump-sum tax entrepreneurs, was not created on purpose. At least not at the beginning…


contract or reduce the amounts of potential loans by complying with the tax base. Anyway, not all the contractors are interested in loans right now, so besides Aspirin (loans) we also prepared Vitamins, which is just a way of saying we made some upgrades in our existing e/mbank applications to satisfy the daily banking needs of these clients. Now we have the opportunity to monitor and perform transactions on all of a client’s accounts in one location, no matter if they are personal or business accounts linked to their lump-sum tax entrepreneur entity. This is something we recognized as functionality that would mean a lot to this segment of clients, and it turned out to be the right thing to do as it was very well accepted in the community. After Aspirin and Vitamins, we added beneficiary usage of PAUSAL application and advantages of the digital bank that we launched a year before to the basket, and we had something that should be offered to the market as soon as possible. We consciously launched MVP and followed client reactions. We decided to launch SINHRO on February 7th, knowing that the package would continue to develop. Two months later, we introduced a new native m-banking application which also featured new SINHRO functionality so that at that moment all those advantages were available to clients even on the go. As time passed, we were more and more aware of the specific needs of clients in this segment and various models of their professional engagement, so with that knowledge we were also adapting to them and being more flexible. That is the essence of agile development. We are investigating the market, offering MVP that covers the basic needs to see whether clients will use the product, then follow the reactions with great interest and finally adapt in line with the feedback and upgrade our basic offer accordingly. The traditional way of creating products was gradually abandoned in the Serbian banking industry over the last ten years and so, in a


Innovations way, it led banks to be oriented towards clients and segments instead of products. Everyone understood that the client was the center of attention and that we needed to adjust the offer to their needs. From that perspective, we concluded that clients did not need some new generic banking products, but packages and conditions that were tailor-made to their lifestyle. And that is precisely what differentiates banks on the market today: the way they bundled the same generic products and how they communicate with different client segments. Internally in SGS, we spent more than five years developing our segmented approach, but naturally, the focus at the beginning was on those that were making the most of our client base – businesses. With time that picture changed, so we now have a much more complex scheme of segments that we identified and for which we have developed a dedicated offer. After a strategic decision to digitalize and innovate our business in subsequent years, we were heavily researching the market and, through interaction with the community that is most active in that field, we had the opportunity to meet more of those interesting segments which are now equal to those that have been in our catalogs for more than 40 years. We had startup partners. I have to admit that one project like this was not easy to manage. Teams and tasks were not clearly defined at the start, nor was the goal, which, as I explained, changed along the way. Co-creation with clients was the primary model of doing things, and on that front, we couldn’t have made it without the team from PAUSAL because they already had significant experience with that segment, apart from the fact that all of them were working for Clever as contractors and lump-sum tax entrepreneurs. That fact itself was jumping out of the box and the standard way of doing things since the package was developing together with our partnership with PAUSAL and Sofija Popara. We knew at that moment that we were on to something, but before finalizing the offer and taking on too many costs, we needed proof that our concept was accurate. We prepared the survey and distributed it through our startup partner network so that we could be sure that our focus group consisted of the specific clients that we were targeting. The survey


The SINHRO package is a unique banking offer for independent experts/contractors and freelancers in Societe Generale Srbija. Targeted to entrepreneurs registered as lump-sum tax sole proprietors. The value proposition was developed through co-creation with clients, and our startup partner PAUSAL and its main features are: • Individual & Business banking account aggregation on one banking platform/app • Financing owners’ private needs • Benefits in using the PAUSAL partnership application • Other digital services developed the for retail segment

Innovative elements of the SINHRO Package: • The first bank in Serbia to discover and address contractors as a new and growing segment of freelancers. Scan the QR code to watch the info-graphic about the segment, their needs and the main features of the package we offered • Successful co-creation with the startup ecosystem resulting both in the relevant offer and powerful market positioning • Establishing and proving that there is a win-win business model of bank/startup partnership NEW – in May 2018 we launched SoGe PAY in PAUSAL, in-app payments integrated via API for all SGS clients of the SINHRO package

was completed by 100 clients, and it gave us confirmation that we were on the right track. Teams in the bank were divided according to the elements of the offer so that one was working on loan conditions, another on developing dual packages, the third on developing e/mbanking application, the fourth on training issues and internal communication, external communication and so on. Managing those teams was even more challenging because the first task was taking the time for all the team members to get familiar with the new segment, and after that to explain the mission to make our banking offer easily recognizable.

From unsatisfied client to beta tester. Not only was this product innovative in our bank, but it was also and continues to be a significant innovation on the entire market. Many outside of the community can’t understand fully the way this segment works. Bankers usually are not part of this community. Knowing that we couldn’t change that fact overnight, we decided to go slow, and start only with several branches in the two biggest cities where the population of this segment was the largest. We started as a pilot, with a group of 30 people with whom we worked intensively to ensure that the start of the SINHRO offer was also supported by a ready support team.



Pausal is a fintech app for business management of a contractor on a daily basis, reducing administration and paperwork and all of the hurdles that come along with it. You can think of it as a virtual, automatic accountant for entrepreneurs, available 24/7. Main features: 1. E-invoice Issuing invoices, in domestic and foreign currencies, with an overview of all charged and unpaid invoices. This also includes saving, canceling, copying, printing and sending invoices to customers via email. At all times, users have access to their customer database, both domestic and foreign, which is used to generate customer information on every document automatically. 2. Income Every invoice created is automatically generated in the Book of income, which is available for downloading and printing. The app tracks all of the relevant limits for turnover, making sure the contractor is maintaining this status and there are no changes in the business. 3. Taxes The user is given an option to onboard the tax system, which is further analyzed by a team of professional accountants, and provided a solution for the relevant obligations. They also have an option of adding, managing, seeing an overview of and printing payment orders. These payment orders are used for transactions and are connected with a feature SoGe Pay that enables payment of these payment orders.


4. Analytics It provides business analytics, which includes statistics (per payment, per customer), an overview of receivables, a comparative overview in the selected period, customer evaluation, the risk of exceeding limits based on past business turnover and export to an Excel file. SoGe Pay also provided corresponding statistics for all transactions and reports per expense type, the transaction period and customers that have been paid. Approximately 78% of our SGS users have executed a transaction by using the app and SoGe Pay at least once. The numbers are proof of success. SGS users invoiced around EUR 3,607,866 in 2017; in 2018, this figure increased to EUR 18,163,279, which is a perfect indicator of how this feature has affected the entrepreneur community. 5. Health Insurance PAUSAL fills out the necessary forms for registering and canceling health insurance and informs when and how health insurance should be extended. 6. My Company All data about the company and the owner are collected here. Once saved, data are used to generate all of the invoices, forms, documents and transfer orders. Additionally, it stores documentation, thus keeping everything that is relevant to the business in one place. 7. Support The app provides email notifications to inform about the expiration of health insurance, changes in relevant laws, exceeded limits and tax payments and contributions. We also provide 24/7 support for the application, as well business consultancy.

Moreover, as we expected, some beginner mistakes appeared very quickly and I mitigated even more rapidly to maintain credibility with our early adopters. The target group for our product were mostly young professionals, experts on programming of web and mobile applications and process designers... so they were very critical of our product. But every feedback we received was essential for us because it was highly constructive and in line our intention to enable all of those benefits and applicative functionalities that they were lacking in other banks. One interesting example was when we experienced a very unpleasant situation due to a bank process mistake, which was soon described in a Facebook post by an unsatisfied client. With active engagement in communication with our clients on social networks and an agile approach in problem-solving, we managed to solve this issue and invited this client to be a beta tester for future projects on the SINHRO package, which he gladly accepted. User comments mean more to us than any other research. Development is, on one hand, internally driven, because the bank is wholly devoted to the idea of digital transformation of its processes to be more efficient. On the other hand, it is essential to delegate people and other resources precisely to those projects that the market needs the most. SGS is increasingly involved in activities of the ICT community and we won’t change that trend for two reasons: first – that’s how we maintain contact with the source of entrepreneurial enthusiasm and innovations, and second – we maintain a source of information that is invaluable when it comes to development of our offer for this market segment. Open and informal conversation with some freelancer is valuable for us and a much better barometer of satisfaction than any other formal survey or research by a renowned company, which we will definitely use as well, but for other purposes. To sum up: without intensive cooperation with clients, this product wouldn’t exist at all, nor it would have any future. Most possibly, it wouldn’t even be called SINHRO, because that name was also chosen by our clients, even though it wasn’t a favorite among bankers. Jelena Đurović Segment manager in the Marketing Division at Societe Generale Srbija.



SANTANDER BANK POLSKA IN POLAND WILL SERVICE SMEs THROUGH VIRTUAL RMs Santander Bank Polska has launched a pilot project that will provide services to SME customers through virtual relationship managers (virtual RMs).


he project will enable entrepreneurs to quickly and conveniently contact a virtual RM by telephone or through a computer, laptop or tablet from anywhere in Poland and around the world. Virtual RMs can also offer access to more products that were previously unavailable through remote channels. — “The owners of small and medium-sized enterprises appreciate having quick access to banking services, as well as our individual approach to their needs. Our goal is to provide them with the best experience in both these areas, which is why we have been systematically developing and improving how they can contact us, as well as offering multichannel support. We are focused on making full use of the potential of remote channels and building long-lasting relationships with customers. We aim to ensure that entrepreneurs can always contact the same relationship manager, who will be informed about matters related to their

business. As a result, we will not only shorten the time needed for customer service, we will also make corporate banking go even further,” says Michał Hackiewicz, Head of SME Digital at Santander Bank Polska. Through Bank’s virtual RM service, every SME customer will be assigned to a specific RM, who will be responsible for providing comprehensive customer service through remote channels. Thanks to virtual RMs, SME customers will also be able to benefit from expanded product offer available through remote channels. Among other things, RMs can help customers get a loan, open a new account, change their transaction limits in the online banking system, apply for a POS terminal or leasing, obtain any necessary certificates, and answer questions about the use of the transaction system, mobile app or payment cards. For customers who value direct contact with bank employees, virtual RMs can arrange a meeting at a Santander Bank Polska branch at a time that is convenient for the customer. Customers can contact a virtual RM quickly and easily using tools offering direct video or chat functions. In addition, Bank’s systems will automatically connect the customer with their dedicated RM once their identity is verified. Customers can also contact their virtual RM by e-mail. Source: Bank’s press release of May 11, 2018

Extra Questions from SME Banking Club What is the primary target of the pilot? The primary goal of the pilot is to match the new customer service model to their expectations. We know from research and initial observations that over 75% of the selected group of customers would be happy to use remote services. The second important indicator is NPS. We expect that within six months, the percentage of customers who will recommend the bank and open business accounts with us will grow significantly. The predicted change in customer behavior is also essential, and will translate into increased activity in remote channels. How long will the pilot last? Is there any concrete end date? The pilot is divided into two parts — the first will last till the end of July, and the second until the end of November 2018. The press release states that each SME customer will be assigned to a specific RM. So we have two questions here: • How many customers are assigned to each Virtual RM? And how exactly is the assignment done? At the moment a customer contacts a Virtual RM or beforehand? Each Virtual Manager will have 3-times more customers in their portfolio than RM on the branch. RMs support selected regions in


Poland corresponding to the current branch division, which means that we are based on regionalization. It’s crucial for RMs to know their customers, their needs. Regionalization will facilitate this task because the SME market is diversified and we see different behaviors in different regions. We are also considering differentiation by sector in the future. • How is it possible that one specific Virtual RM can serve a customer through remote channels that are available almost 24 hours each day? Or are Virtual RMs only available during working hours? Virtual RMs work similar hours as RMs at the branch. In the pilot, we test the service solution during working hours from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. However, we have already seen that some customers prefer to contact the Bank at different times. So, we will be flexible in meeting customer needs. Do you expect the profitability per SME customer to increase as the result of the virtual RM launch? What will the main drivers be in that respect? An increase in service satisfaction always translates into an increase in profitability from the services and products offered. First and foremost, the most important thing is to build relationships with customers and gain their

Michał Hackiewicz, Head of SME Digital at Santander Bank Polska

trust in the new RMs. Profitability will come after some time. For me, the primary indicator will be the number of incoming calls to Virtual RMs in available channels. This will mean that the customer, having the need, expects the RM to solve the problem from start to finish without unnecessary delay or sending the customer elsewhere. Many of these customers have pre-approved credit limits which, as everyone knows, are among the most profitable banking products.



AN OFFER FOR MICRO AND SME SEGMENT AT ING BANK ROMANIA ING Bank, the sixth largest bank in the Romanian banking system in terms of assets, has recently launched several new products for its SME customers.


he latest is an instant credit line, called ING SRL, which provides financing of up to lei 350,000 (EUR 76,000) to companies with a turnover from EUR 20,000 to EUR 2 million. The product is targeted to micro and small companies registered as limited liability companies (LLCs), for both existing customers as well as for new clients to the Bank. The credit line will be granted until further notice, with annual revision of financial standing of the companies, based on signed agreement to interrogate fiscal authority database. Pricing is similar to existing facilities granted to this segment and all-in margin may vary from 5 to 10%, depending on financial standing of the company. The product is available instantly due to automated checks via ANAF (tax authority) databases, the Credit Risk Center, the Payment


Incident Center (for companies), and the Credit Bureau (for Associates, Administrators and the Sole Entrepreneurs), as well as other instant checks in any ING Bank branch. “This new verification algorithm will become the standard process for assessing credit applications of all kinds for micro and small companies. Practically, the external verification algorithm underlying each evaluation process will be applied to any credit file from now on, thus reducing the response time and money transfer to the customer account,” said Maria Cenusa, Tribe Lead for Micro-Companies at ING Bank Romania. Today, credits are granted within at least 1 ½ -2 weeks. With the new analysis model, the loan is granted within a few minutes. “The value of the product is not that they receive an instant loan, but the convenience we offer to our customers, which avoid the hassle of bringing lots of documents, coming several times to the bank for follow-up, etc.,” Cenusa said.

Bogdan Boteanu, Deputy General Manager of ING Bank Romania and Head of Mid-Corporate Banking

A customer can receive the credit line ING SRL in two ways: 1. One single visit: customers can go with all the process at any ING Bank branch 2. To apply online via the bank website, fill in the required information and submit it. An ING consultant will contact the applicant quickly to confirm the application. Then, the customer should visit the ING branch of their choice to complete the credit application and sign the loan documentation.



Every month, the customer should repay 10% of the credit line limit, as well as the accumulated interest and administration fee. The limit is replenished the next day. The collateral for the loan is a pledge on the customer’s current account at ING Bank, plus the personal guarantee of all shareholders with at least 25% of the shares. “ING Bank’s strategy is to provide a better, distinctive experience to its customers. And this means listening to them better, seeing what they need today and anticipating what they will need tomorrow. And what we have noted for the SME segment is that people need time to balance their personal and professional life. They need to remain in control of their business wherever they are, at any time,” said


Bogdan Boteanu, Deputy General Manager of ING Bank Romania and Head of Mid-Corporate Banking. In addition to the credit line, ING Bank Romania offers instantly to small companies the current account, debit card and credit card (ING Business Credit Card). At the end of 2017, ING Romania entered the credit card market with a micro-business product, the ING Business Credit Card, which can be issued in any ING Bank’s branch to clients regardless if they already have or not a history with ING. The credit card limit is lei 35,000 without the need to provide additional documents and is guaranteed with pledge on current accounts. The credit card can be granted on the spot, without financial documents,

and the card can be picked up any time at the branch, or within a few days if the customer applies for an embossed card. In 2018, ING Bank Romania launched ING Business, an omni-channel online banking platform, dedicated to Mid-Corporate Banking customers, companies with a turnover of between EUR 0.5 Mio to EUR 100 Mio. Through ING Business, business customers have 24-hour access to all banking products and services, accessible from any desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone or smartwatch. The ING Business system for the Romanian market is implemented based and adapted on the ING Business platform launched earlier at ING Bank Śląski in Poland.



SMEs tend to opt for leased fleets

Marcin Balicki, CEO at Millennium Leasing (Poland)

Olena Gryniuk talked to Marcin Balicki, CEO at Millennium Leasing (Poland), about the development of the leasing market in Poland and how Millennium Leasing approaches SME customers.


ow many of your leasing deals are you concluding with SME customers? This year more than 35% of our business (understood as new leasing agreements) comes from customers in the SME sector. However, it is worth pointing out that we’re experiencing an increasing trend within this scope, due to the fact that for a number of years we have been developing our operations in the SME and Micro sectors by transferring transaction execution


and transparency of terms standards to those sectors from the corporate segment, where we’ve always had a strong presence. What equipment do SMEs buy and what is the main leasing product they choose? When it comes to Millennium Leasing, the structure of agreements concluded by companies from the SME sector is quite balanced. The largest share is attributable to vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes (37.5% in terms of

volume and 18.9% in terms of value), heavy road transport (39.4% in terms of volume and 46.5% in terms of value) as well as machinery and equipment (21.8% in terms of volume and 30.8% in terms of value). This August, Millennium Leasing announced the signing of a loan agreement with EBRD under the PolGEFF project (Polish Green Economy Financing Facility), the main part of which should be granted to SMEs for investments related to energy efficiency or renewable energy. What are the projects that you will consider and how many SMEs you plan to finance under that project? Our commitment to financing energy saving investments goes back years. We have been taking part in various programmes (such


Interview What is the process for SME customers to get a lease deal with Millennium Leasing? How long does it take from the very beginning to signing the agreement? Processes, their transparency, usability for a given organisation and duration are some of the major competitive factors today. The leasing agreement conclusion process is diverse not only on account of the customer segment, but also due the type of asset to be financed, the cooperation history we have and the overall amount committed to financing. For most leasing transactions in the SME segment, we are able to provide a financing decision within seconds. For a number of reasons, such a radical reduction of the THIS YEAR MORE THAN 35% OF OUR time required to complete BUSINESS (UNDERSTOOD AS NEW the subsequent stages is not as simple. Firstly, pursuant LEASING AGREEMENTS) COMES FROM to Polish legal regulations, a leasing agreement is invalid CUSTOMERS IN THE SME SECTOR unless drawn up in writing. Secondly, executing a leasing transaction, as opposed to a loan, entails more than a simple financial operation — it requires an interaction with the asset than just contribute to a reduction in energy supplier (conclusion of an agreement and its costs: frequently, nowadays when we are verification, insurance of the subject of the experiencing increasing problems associated lease, and for vehicles — registration with with availability of qualified staff, they allow vehicle licensing authorities). However, these our customers to sidestep this barrier. The processes can also be accelerated. Results we agreement with EBRD concluded this year is can be proud of include doubling efficiency yet another step in that direction. The PolGeff (the volume of transactions per back office programme assumes financing of a wide staff member) and reducing the time required range of investments associated with energy to complete certain types of transactions by efficiency or renewable energy, encompassing between 20 and 50%. investments associated with improving the energy efficiency of buildings, investments in Which steps of that process are digitalised? equipment, systems and processes which lead to The process for credit decisions for a significantly improved efficiency in terms of the significant share of transactions in the Micro consumption of energy, water and raw materials, and SME segment is fully digital (with the as well as investments which promote the use exception of entering basic customer data of renewable energy sources. Within the above and information on the leased asset). Other scope, we provide an opportunity to employ areas where we are introducing digitalisation leasing financing wherever it is feasible, taking primarily lie within the sphere of internal into account the purchased assets. We are not processes aimed at improving efficiency. guided by quantitative targets (understood as For customers, this means waiting times for the number of companies who take advantage completing transactions are reduced. We of the programme), but rather we are looking to believe that digitalisation is a process that make use of the entire available amount of PLN has to be sustainable and well thought out. 300 million as quickly as possible. I think it will be In this case, sustainability means that we have possible to achieve that by the end of the year. as PolSeff ) and we’ve also established our own product lines. Leasing EkoEnergia is one such product, where, using our own funds, we provided co-financing for investments in energy-saving machines to our customers. And we do not only perceive these actions as favourable from a CSR perspective — they are also thoroughly justified from a business point of view. Essentially, such investments do more


to ensure a smooth process for transactions initiated within mass distribution channels. Ease of access to leasing and credit decisions has to go hand in hand with satisfactory operational efficiency. We talked about digitalisation in the leasing industry last year (read the interview in SBB Magazine, September 2017). What has changed on the Polish market during this year? Have new initiatives appeared since then? There is always a feeling that more could have been done; however, looking back on the last year — we have plenty to be proud of. Independent of projects completed by various firms, the Polish Leasing Association’s digitalisation group meets on a regular basis. I do believe that we will shortly commence a joint project on structured invoices. In April this year we also organised the first E-Leasing Day conference, with Minister Anna Streżyńska in attendance, during which the possible development directions were discussed among individuals responsible for IT, processes and products from all the major leasing companies in Poland. We also had an opportunity for an in-depth discussion with IT systems and solutions providers. What do you think the near future holds for the development of the leasing market in Poland? Changes in regulations pertaining to leasing announced by the Ministry of Finance have caused a lot of uncertainty. It is difficult to predict how these will affect the leasing market. Certainly passenger vehicles are such a significant part of it that these changes will have a major impact on next year’s statistics. From the point of view of Millennium Leasing, we are not overestimating hypothetical risks associated with the new regulations. Our observations suggest that for years leasing has ceased to be used as a tax reduction instrument by customers and has become a method for financing investments on par with loans. And within that scope, the attractiveness of leasing, the ease of obtaining it and the support which customers can expect to receive in negotiating with suppliers remain stable. All these advantages mean that apart from temporary turbulence in the vehicle financing segment, leasing should continue to grow at double-figure rates.



mBank’s Ecosystem for SME customers Olena Gryniuk talked to Piotr Teodorczyk, director of the Business Customer Department at mBank (Poland), about creating SME Banking Ecosystem and the way mBank approaches SMEs. Piotr Teodorczyk, director of the Business Customer Department at mBank (Poland) started his work at mBank in 2005 as a relationship manager for business customers at the MultiBank branch. He is a graduate of MBA studies for financiers at Kozminski University and completed doctoral studies at the Collegium of Management and Finance at the Warsaw School of Economics. Proving himself a successful leader, he created and implemented SME initiatives within the framework of the One Bank Strategy. He is an ambassador of empathy and client-centricity. Knowledge, experience, and attention to customer needs are the foundations on which he builds his strategy.


ho are your SME customers (in terms of revenue, sector, age, etc.)?

Our client base is mainly made up of micro and small enterprises, run as sole proprietorship businesses. mBank’s SME accounts are particularly popular in the professional, e-commerce and retail industries. 67% of our new clients from 2018 are people aged 31. However, we also noticed a gradual increase in entrepreneurship among people under the age of 30. mBank’s clients are independent and value convenience — almost half of them applied for a company account via remote channels (internet, contact center). What’s more, over 1/4 of all company account agreements were concluded remotely in 2018.


Piotr Teodorczyk, Director of the Business Customer Department at mBank (Poland)


Interview You have a whole ecosystem for SME customers within the bank, starting from the very first step: customers can start a business with you, taking advantage of mPower Business Starter, which allows businesses to be registered via the bank’s website, then to automatically open current account and deliver all banking products online to providing accounting services to the customers. Could you please tell us in more details about the SME Banking Ecosystem within mBank? The main idea behind the ecosystem is to help new entrepreneurs with the challenges they face in their daily lives. We want to allow them to concentrate on their core business and take from their shoulders the most difficult aspects of managing a company. Naturally, the accounting system comes to mind first of all, since the accountant is the most important person cooperating with a new businessperson. It’s crucial for a company to be able to entrust its accounting to a trustworthy and competent person. But how do you find a suitable accountant? How can an entrepreneur know that a given accounting service is reliable? Young businesspeople have to find answers to these questions, because the whole company is at stake. Thanks to mAccounting, entrepreneurs don’t have to worry about that, as mBank provides them with complex accounting assistance without them having to leave the house. What’s more, entrepreneurs don’t have to deliver any invoices or any other documents to the accounting office, since the accountant has access to all the necessary information through the mBank’s system, which means fewer mistakes and misunderstandings. Another advantage of mAccounting is the fact that the accountant communicates with the client through Task Center — mBank’s calendar for entrepreneurs. The accountant creates a task within Task Center, and the client receives


a push notification on their smartphone. It takes only three clicks to pay tax or social insurance, since the accountant fills out all the necessary information, and the client only has to accept the transaction. As a result, they save precious time and enjoy guaranteed and consistent service quality. For the vast majority of our clients with sales-based business, points of sale are an essential part of their work. In Poland, noncash payments are an every-day reality, and for that reason stores that don’t accept credit cards or another form of mobile payment are at a disadvantage. To support them, mBank, in cooperation with the Cashless Poland Foundation, offers POS devices for up to 24 months free of charge in order to provide new entrepreneurs with a smooth start. Last, but not least, I have to underline that mBank’s clients have the opportunity to exchange currencies via online banking 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Moreover, they can deal with official matters also through mBank’s online system. As you can see, mBank is building an ecosystem that will allow entrepreneurs to take care of the vast majority of their tasks through their smartphone or computer, because we care about our customers and, what’s more, their time. This

will not be the last of our ecosystem products since we aim to expand the assistance we provide into other areas of business in order to help our customers devote themselves to their passion and vision rather than spend time on red tape. Do you track how many (or what percentage) of your new customers you acquired due to mPower Business Starter? As expected, the mPower Business Starter initiative turned out to be crucial for the increase in sales of business accounts in 2018 and started a revolution in the process of opening business operations. mPower Business Starter enables a company to be launched by the mBank system via the internet, CC or inbranch within just a few minutes. This idea came from our customers, who showed us the difficulties they face and indicated that there are hundreds of questions and thousands of answers about how to start up a company. At mBank, we wanted them to feel happy upon starting a new chapter of their lives by opening their own company. As our statistics show — 22% of our monthly acquisition of SME accounts was generated thanks to mPower Business Starter. We believe that our market shares will increase in new SME account


acquisition thanks the fact we have such a powerful engine that does everything in the background on our customers` behalf. How many of your customers come to you via digital channels and how many through local branches? We have noticed a systematic increase in the importance of remote channels in terms of the acquisition of new clients. In the last three years, the number of applications submitted online and via the CC increased by 6%. Currently, only 55% of all applications for SME accounts are submitted via local branches. The Internet plays a key role: 34% of all applications for company accounts at mBank are submitted online. You have a lending product available for SMEs via your mobile app. Please tell us more about that: who are your target customers, what is the average amount, and how quick are decisions made? What is the percentage of applications for that loan compared to all incoming applications for SME loans? Yes, we offer online lending for our existing SME customers. Our focus is to deliver the best possible experience for our customers also in terms of lending. Our target customers for fast online lending are, as I said before, our existing customers with transactions in our bank. We provide those customers with credit products


via modern digital channels (mobile and internet banking); our average loan amount is around EUR 3,500, and our decision process takes on average less than five minutes. Our online channels account for 10% of all of our sales in terms of NML lending for SMEs. And that number is growing! Our customers like and prefer to use mobile channels because they offer a fast lending process that enables them to react quickly to investment opportunities that arise in their everyday business dealings, and they also help them build a competitive advantage with mBank’s support. mBank has already been providing accounting services for SME customers for three years now (the service is called mAccounting), which includes both automated accounting for entrepreneurs and support from human accountants for bigger companies. Which part of your customer base uses mAccounting? What role does this service play in acquiring new customers or retaining existing ones? Currently, approximately 60,000 mBank customers have access to the mAccounting system. From among our newly acquired customers, more than 30 % opt for this product, and in the mPower Business Starter scenario, that percentage reaches nearly 60%. The numbers speak for themselves. mAccounting is intuitive to use and, most importantly for entrepreneurs, is a time-saving solution. In a

today’s quickly developing world, people need solutions that will reduce the amount of work they have to do, and mAccounting fits this concept perfectly. Due to this fact, it is not surprising that this product attracts a large number of new customers. What innovations for SME customers should we expect from mBank in the near future? A few weeks ago we started cooperation with the Allegro Group, which means that seller who use Allegro as a platform to sell their products will also see and use mBank products via the seller’s panel. Basically, it means that we are setting out to find new SMEs on the market, and we will do that by being closer to them and their everyday business. We are not trying to sell them a product; our approach is based on relations. We want to be there for them when they need us. Also, for us, this is a new opportunity in the SME sector. We are building innovations (like credit API for Allegro) in order to be closer in terms of relations with customers and their needs under the B2B model. mBank is not only accessible via mBank.pl — we are also available via the mobile phone app, and we now also have a presence within the Allegro seller’s panel. From our customers’ perspective — when business grows mBank is always here for you to help realize your dreams and be fast, flexible and always mobile as business owners in those times are.


Professional All inclusive All information and advice are provided by experts with banking experience at managerial positions in various areas a stipulation which is confirmed by the recommendations of banks’ top managers.


You will receive comprehensive support in all key areas (reports, events, recommendations and networking, news and information), necessary for the development of SME segment.

You get access to detailed analytical reports on markets, annual studies; access to the information that is not available anywhere else on the market.

Profitable It costs you â‚Ź 6 per day. Also, you can save up to 50% on additional services of SME Banking Club.





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Three regional conferences a year




Achieving Competitive Advantage through Fact-based management in SME Banking Olena Gryniuk talked to Adam Jano, Head of Business Support & Sales Development at Budapest Bank (Hungary)

Adam Jano, Head of Business Support & Sales Development at Budapest Bank


hat is the business model of Budapest Bank Business? How many RMs do you have around the country? Budapest Bank was established in 1987. Today, it is one of the top 8 major commercial banks and a well-established brand on the Hungarian market. We provide financial services to both consumer and commercial clients. Budapest Bank Business is the bank division that deals mainly with small and medium sized enterprises (SME). Together with our leasing subsidiary — one of the country’s leading asset leasing companies — we provide a full range of SME products for our clients. The bank’s nationwide network consists of some 100 branches for consumer clients and 21 SME hubs with more than 130 Relationship Managers (RMs) across the country. Our strengths are personalized services and deep knowledge of the Hungarian SME market. Thanks to a stable relationship with our partners, and our predictable and consistent business policy toward clients, Budapest Bank


Business has been continuously increasing its stock of SME loans — even during the shrinking commercial lending market some years ago. The digitization of the Customer Relationship is one of the pillars of digital transformation. What do you think about that? And what is your model for working with SME customers? While products and services for consumer clients and micro enterprises are mostly standardized and processes can be easily digitalized, with respect to commercial lending, we believe that personal interactions will not be devalued in the near future, as SME products and services

must remain customized in order to meet client needs. There are some simple services that can also be digitalized, but the main processes are based on strong relationship management and a deep understanding of the client’s business model with the aim of providing the best and most suitable banking solutions. A company, for example, that is planning to expand its sales to a foreign market or build a new factory unit requires huge and complex transactions with a great deal of negotiation and analysis that needs to be done highly competently, as well as close partnership between the client and bank. So digitalization and artificial intelligence will not replace SME bankers in the near future. Where can it help then?



Digital channels play a very important role in client relationship management. Alternative channels are acting as the lengthened arm of the RM in order to help target and contact new clients, and maintain contacts with existing clients. Transformation not only has an effect on banking product and services but also on internal processes. When it comes to digitalization, we believe that large sales oriented organizations can only be managed effectively with a successfully applied ‘fact based’ and data driven management approach. What are the key steps to becoming factbased in sales management? Without data, you are simply another person with an opinion1 but at most companies

decisions are still based on intuition or senior experience. Transformation and data driven decision-making is not only a question of technology. It also requires cultural and organizational change on all levels. There is no point in gathering and visualizing data on fancy dashboards and tons of reports until the company applies them to transform processes and business strategies. What is your fact-based approach at Budapest Bank Business? Our approach is very similar to modern sport analytics as most of the concepts they use can be applied to modern sales management too. We invested heavily into modern data processing and analytics tools to capture and visualize all the available data across our business. This enables us to monitor customer journeys and sales force productivity through the whole business process so we can step in if necessary. Our services are constantly monitored in line with rigorous Critical to Quality (CTQ) requirements in order to deliver high-quality products and services. Player (RM) profiling helps us to identify what our top 10 percent is doing differently so that we can increase sales force effectiveness among the other 90 percent. In depth analysis of client transactional habits and predictive analytics help us ‘feed’ our RMs with valuable client insights, e.g. potential next best offers, disloyalty alerts or suitable entry points for prospects. Our ‘one-screen’ method allows us to follow all important data through one platform with a pyramid design. The most important data can be viewed on informative dashboards for each specific business role, and one can always dig down to the next layer, all the way down to detailed analytics. This way we can reduce the time spent reading data to a minimum. Automating by designing a self-service reporting tool enabling every function to reach the required data allows our data scientists to deal only with complex questions. Last but not least, we are working hard at all levels of the organization to define how we interpret and use information, so that our coworkers speak the same language. This is a critical element in our corporate culture.


W. Edwards Deming




Automation of factoring services for SMEs Olena Gryniuk met Daniel Huszar in Warsaw this May. This talk is about technology and the automation of factoring services for SMEs.


efore we start talking about technology, please tell us about yourself: what is your pass to efcom and what exactly do you do?

I’ve been connected to efcom and working for efcom for over ten years now. I started out translating the system into English, so I know the depth of the system very well. It’s a good place to start out. My job as Head of Sales doesn’t really encapsulate what I do completely, because my job is, of course, to sell and to provide consultation for clients on which solutions might work for them. But also, I look into future technologies as well as the ones which we have right now and which drive product development. I also think about future applications, which I think is why you invited me. Let’s start with the question of automation of factoring, especially for SMEs, and probably mainly micro companies. As we see in the CEE region, although not only here, banks are mainly specialised in


factoring for corporate customers. This is mainly due to the fact that these big organisations have manual processes for that product, and of course because servicing SMEs in such a way is very costly and insufficient for their needs. So, to serve SMEs and micros, the process needs to be automated as much as possible. This is what we see on the Polish market, where some Fintechs have appeared recently that are focused on the micro factoring segment; they offer factoring purely online in just a few minutes. So, it’s evident that automation makes sense for that segment of customers; the question isn’t why we need to automate, but rather how. So, my question is — how can or should banks automate? What might the exact process be? First of all, if we go into the micro sector and SME sector with a manual process, we don’t get so much more money from each individual client as for example in the corporate world. So, yes, there is really a need to automate. With manual processes versus automation – automation makes things scalable, which is very important with the SME and micro-segment.


Interview Because we have a lot of customers and because it’s hard if we have manual processes connected to all of them, when we onboard them and manage them, we need to automate, because then it’s not scalable. And perhaps when we are dealing with corporates, in the case of invoice discounting or factoring products, we don’t have a large number of clients but we do have a large number of invoices, and we kind of need to automate in order to get them into the system, to manage the limits and to manage the risks. So, we need automation, and to do this we have two technologies: we have the front-end, which is an online portal or an app, something like that, and this is the face of the technology that the customer sees, and then we have the back-end, which is where you crunch all those numbers, make all those postings, track the invoices and track your risks, for example. I’ll start with the front-end and what we can do there. I think, with front-end, the design is the most important thing, and it’s not really about automation here but getting the customer onboard so that they want to interact with your solution and so that they really want to use it, because without that, there is no product to use. To do this, we definitely need to shape it from the mobile, and by this I mean make it really simple to use, make it easy to upload invoices or documents and to make requests and all those kinds of things, and give users multiple opportunities to interact with your technology and your product. And when the automation comes into play, it’s more about customer convenience. When I talk about a multichannel approach and multiple ways to interact with your software, it’s more about ‘do I type in this invoice manually or do I take a picture and then get some OCR software to read out what is written on that picture and translate it into the fields?’ Customer convenience definitely plays a more important role here than even automation. It just needs to be easy and simple. With respect to the back-end, the most important thing is flexibility. It has to be possible for all of your business processes to be translated into the software’s parameters, which are really the rules by which things should be automated — for example, which invoices do you buy, which clients do you onboard according to severe ratings? So those are the most important parts. What are the most important or crucial steps for banks or factoring companies when it comes to automation?


DH: Firstly, I’d really urge every product manager that conceptualises their product to completely step away from the tools that they’re currently using, because they kind of limit the way we think, and the product shapes itself after the tools we use and it’s hard to get different ideas or see things from a different perspective. So, if you are making a new product for SMEs, let your imagination run wild. Not too wild of course. Think of everything, and then we can confine it to the product. First, of course, we need to see business cases, if feasible. This would be step 1 for me, to get this concept. And step 2 would be to translate this into the technology, i.e. to make the front-end tool easy to use, to have this multichannel approach that allows the customer to interact with you on many different levels. For example, as I mentioned, this could be entering invoices using various methods: by taking a picture, typing them in. And the customer’s convenience is key. For the back-end, the most important thing is the way you automate things, the way you translate your business processes into the software parameters – that’s basically it. You take whatever rules you have in mind, like which invoices to buy, which customers to take, which customers to reject, how to set your limits, and you kind of think about what your risk appetite is here, because without risk we can’t do this. We have to take some spread, we have to take some risks, and we are not getting everything covered by credit insurance. Do you understand automation to mean that all processes are done by machines or robots without any human touch or involvement? This is an interesting question. I don’t think so. It’s not that it’s dangerous, but it doesn’t need to be that way. Of course, automation means that things are run automatically, but when we look at certain risks, if you have hundreds of thousands of customers or invoices, then nobody can look over all of these, and you need pre-defined decisions, but you need to look at some of them and you need to look at where risks are most likely to occur. This is what big data risk management is for, so you put it all in

and you let the technology run its assessments according to some predefined rules, checking your invoices, checking your customers against patterns. For example, if you can look at the invoices and invoice numbers, and you can check if there’s a pattern that can be flagged. So in the end, when we apply all these parameters to our data and we think there might be a risk, like the Bedford model, and patterns and all these kinds of things, then the risk manager will get a proposal list and, rather than look at every invoice or every client, they will get the best clients according to the business rules set within the software, and then they can see which clients or invoices need to be checked up on the most. Basically, automation can also mean that humans use their time in the most efficient way possible. Automation should serve humans and users, not vice versa, of course. It’s just a tool. To make sure that it’s not a black box, I believe there are two factors that really help. I mentioned that we translate business processes into parameters so that the software, when you automate it according to the business rules that the bank and we as a software company implemented in the first place, does exactly what you want it to do. So it’s just a process enhancer: it takes business rules and applies them over and over, and quicker. But it is what we tell the software to do. And the second thing which is very important is that we need to be able to analyse all the data that goes in, and what we at efcom do to ensure that is save everything at invoice level, so every invoice and every credit note, every item that goes in there, stays within the database and can be analysed upon reporting even years later. That is really important when it comes to shaping your portfolio, monitoring it over time and even having the possibility of creating reports or dashboards later on, which are things that you might not think of right now, because they represent future products. And that’s a very important factor, in my opinion — that you are able to do that. Well, that’s good news that humans will still be somehow involved in the process. I think so too!

Scan QR code to listen to this interview on the SME Banking Club Podcast Series



Business Hub. The new concept for the bank’s branches is to provide something of a domestic environment for clients, where the interior is arranged like a home: with a fireplace, comfy furniture, and beautiful photos. Bank of Georgia is the only bank in Georgia which promotes SMEs in its new branches. On pre-arranged corners, the Bank presents

customer products, helping them to network and gain greater recognition. TBC Bank services all customers at their branches with a separate zone for business and TBC Status customers. During the main conference day on May 18, speakers shared their experiences ad best practices in servicing SMEs.

For the fourth time, SME Banking Club gathered SME Bankers in Tbilisi (Georgia) at the Caucasus SME Banking Club Conference devoted to financial services for SMEs in that region.


ore than 70 attendees from 12 countries and 39 financial organizations took part in this year’s conference. Pre-conference day on May 17 was devoted to onsite visits to 3 Georgian bank branches where SME customers are serviced. In 2016, Terabank was the first bank in Georgia to open a co-working branch for SME customers called


Maya Margie Younes, Head of the Marketing Group at BLC Bank (Lebanon), shared the way her bank implemented non-financial services for SMEs and about women entrepreneurship in Lebanon.



For TBC Bank (Georgia), SME Banking is a whole ecosystem that does not only involve lending to SMEs or opening current accounts. Tamuna Zhizhilashvili, Deputy Director of Marketing Communications & Business Banking at TBC Bank (Georgia), talked about this during the SME Banking Strategy Panel.

Laila Nurkassymova, Head of the SME Department at ATF Bank (Kazakhstan) presented her Bank’s business model on working with SME customers.

Sergey Shevkunov (Belgasprombank, Belarus) talked about his experience in implementing internet banking for SMEs.

Andrey Gidulyan (SME Banking Club) presented Online and Mobile Banking Studies.

Dmitriy Cherepakhin from bNesis (Ukraine) talked about nontraditional sources of data to acquire SME customers.

During the Digital SME Banking Panel, Zviad Tsotskolauri (TBC Bank, Georgia) presented his Bank’s digital vision and strategy.

Michal Pawlik (CEO and Co-founder at SMEO) shared his experience at SMEO with financing Polish SMEs purely online and how a partnership between traditional financial organizations and fintechs can lead to future growth.

Scan QR code to view more photos from the Caucasus18




Access to knowledge and networking are the primary needs of small businesses During the Caucasus18 SME Banking Club Conference in Tbilisi on May 17-18, Olena Gryniuk talked to Maya Margie Younes, Head of the Marketing Group at BLC Bank (Lebanon) about the non-financial services for SMEs that the Bank has implemented, and about women entrepreneurship in Lebanon.

Maya Margie Younes, Head of the Marketing Group at BLC Bank (Lebanon)


LC Bank was incorporated in 1950. It is part of Fransabank Group, which is the 4th largest banking group. While BLC Bank has a market share of 3%, it has an SME market share of ~15%. You provide a full and comprehensive range of Non-Financial Services (NFS) for SMEs. What was your primary objective when implementing NFS? The Bank’s primary objective in providing nonfinancial services was to be able to differentiate itself from the competition. The market in Lebanon very small and saturated with more than 65 financial institutions serving less than 3 million bankable Lebanese. We wanted to differentiate ourselves through our commitment to SMEs and wanted to become their Bank of choice. We


ran a market research to understand the needs of SMEs that revealed that SMEs needed nonfinancial support such as access to knowledge and access to the market, which led us to develop our non-financial offering. This gave way to our learning and development, and networking and consultancy services. We also launched The Brilliant Lebanese Awards, which is currently in its 7th edition. The Awards were and still are the first banking awards in the MENA region geared towards Lebanese entrepreneurs and SMEs. They provide SMEs with exposure, acknowledge and recognize their success and inspire other SMEs to follow in the winners’ footsteps. I can honestly say we have done a great job. Even finalists that were not winners got a good exposure and were able to find investors or opportunities to access other markets and improve their growth. The finalists

also receive mentorship and coaching from the Jury members who are all professionals and key players in the SME ecosystem, and most of all are independent from the Bank, giving further credibility to the Awards. What proportion of your SME customers used at least one component of the program? What is the coverage? Our non-financial services are offered to all SMEs, irrespective of whether they are BLC Bank clients or not. These services are part of our promise and our social responsibility towards SMEs to develop and grow that segment, knowing that the more this segment improves, the better the country’s GDP will perform. What are the critical steps in implementing NFS services successfully within the bank? This is an important question. First things first, the top management’s support is crucial for the success of such a program. We had to develop a business case and show the management potential growth forecasts for the Bank and its customer-base as a result of providing such a service, knowing that the management itself wanted to differentiate BLC Bank from the competition and increase profits, of course. The business case proved positive, projecting that if we implemented this approach of servicing the SME sector with a 360-degree approach, the numbers would be better and customer acquisition would increase, which is exactly what happened, with the results turning out to be very good. Is it easy to open a business in Lebanon? No, it’s not easy to open a business in Lebanon. It takes a lot of time and paperwork, and you have to meet a long list of requirements. In fact, Lebanon holds 133rd place in the Ease of Doing Business Ranking by the World Bank. How are the needs of female entrepreneurs different compared to those of male entrepreneurs? And how does the Bank meet them?



Maya Margie Younes, speaking during the discussion panel at Caucasus SME Banking Club Conference 2018 in Tbilisi, May 17-18

There’s no real difference, even our market research showed that. They all need access to finance along with the support brought forward through the non-financial services: networking, business advice, access to knowledge. However, on a more social level, with women coming later into the economy, they need a boost in self-confidence to venture-off and start their own businesses. In addition, there is the constant work-life balance issue. Due to cultural stereotypes, women are expected by their husbands to be fully devoted to their families. So, women have an extra challenge in comparison with men, as being a successful businesswoman leaves less personal time. This is a critical difference between men and women in business. One of the major challenges that they face is access to finance. Banks don’t have high-risk appetites and ask for a lot of collateral before they lend money to SMEs. This in particular is a bigger challenge for women, because they have less tangible assets such as property or guarantors to secure their loans and end up with fewer opportunities than men. Why is that? In some religions, a woman will receive a smaller inheritance than her brother will as she is expected to marry a man who will eventually inherit from his father. So, they end up with less


to offer as collateral than men and are faced with a much greater challenge when it comes to accessing finance. This is why we decided to collaborate with IFC on a risk-sharing facility, whereby we agreed on a $ 10 million dollars credit line to lend to SMEs, with a special focus on female entrepreneurs, who can then take out loans from BLC Bank with minimal or almost no collateral. We have already distributed the credit line and are now looking to secure a second credit line of $10 million. In Lebanon, the design, fashion and jewelry design industries are mostly dominated by women, as is the food industry, e.g. bakeries and restaurants. There are very few women in male-dominated sectors. We had one female finalist in the Brilliant Lebanese Awards, who independently runs a company that equips cars with military grade armors, so that was very interesting: a woman in a male-dominated sector, and she is doing a great job.

To what extend are your branches or RMs involved in the promotion of NFS among customers? What is their role? Since non-financial services are not part of the core banking business, it was challenging to get RMs involved; it’s not easy for them to accept that they needed to provide these additional services free of charge. Sometimes when we announce that we are organizing training, it’s difficult for RMs to sell that program to their clients. What we did was to assign ambassadors to our various branches, who are responsible for nurturing SMEs and female entrepreneurs. They had targets and were trained specifically on what our offering includes. For the Brilliant Lebanese Awards, because we go after SMEs and solicit applications to the awards, we considered a monetary incentive. So, all employees, irrespective of whether they work in HO or other departments, were given financial incentives.

Scan QR code to watch Maya’s presentation during Caucasus18 Conference





or TBC Bank (Georgia), SME Banking is a whole ecosystem that not only involves lending to SMEs or opening current accounts. Tamuna Zhizhilashvili, Deputy Director of Marketing Communications & Business Banking at TBC Bank (Georgia), talked about this during the Caucasus18 SME Banking Club Conference in Tbilisi (May 17-18, 2018). Here, we publish key messages from Tamuna’s presentation.

About TBC Bank

To shorten this time, TBC Bank offers a remote process for customer onboarding and opening a current account within 5 minutes. The customer fills in a questionnaire containing 14 questions and the current account is opened in 5 minutes without visiting the Bank branch. If the customer wants to visit the bank during the process of opening an account and sign, and store paper documents in his office, the customer can call the Bank instead of visiting in person and after the account is opened, TBC Bank, equipped with a fleet of ecofriendly cars, will visit the customer and deliver all the documents for signing.

Non-financial services TBC Bank has been providing non-financial services for SMEs for 5 years. The main Bank’s activities are focused on:

• Education. Since 2013, the Bank has provided around 15,000 trainings for small businesses. The Bank launched the educational portal (tbcbusiness.ge) and is also providing individual consultations and organizing regional events for customers.

• Business Award. This is the largest Business Award in Georgia. TBC

Relationship model At TBC Bank, concept of the Relationship model is developing during last 3 years, so that today each affluent SME customer has only one relationship manager but is internally supported by the Product manager and Loan officer inside the Bank.

Bank has granted the award for 2 years. Last year, it gathered 700 participants. The event campaign runs for 6 months in Social Media and via direct campaigns (with no TV ads) which enables the Bank to reach almost one third of the Georgian population with a relatively low marketing budget.

• Support for start-ups and new businesses (the website of the

Digital onboarding Though it only takes 5 minutes to register a business in Georgia (Georgia is ranked 9th of 190 countries in the latest Ease of Doing Business Ranking and 4th for Starting a Business – SME Banking Club), the standard process for opening current account takes up to 40 minutes.


Startuper program — www.startuperi.ge) empowers customers to start new businesses and get financial and non-financial support from the Bank on preferential terms. Startaperi in Georgian means Startup Nation. The program consists of financial and non-financial support from the Bank. Non-financial support covers training, consultations, the web catalogue and media support. Financial support involves financing new businesses using loans. One of the core segments that


Event the ecosystem surrounding the customer that helps the business to operate smoothly.

• B2B Platform for Business. This is the next step in creating an ecosystem around the customer. The Bank introduced the platform to promote cooperation and communication between app developers and small businesses. The platform www.businesstool.ge will connect app developers and small businesses to help SMEs run their business more effectively and promote the creation of new apps for businesses. The Bank wants to organize an Apps Challenge to promote and popularize the creation and usage of apps in customer businesses.

Tamuna Zhizhilashvili, Deputy Director of Marketing Communications & Business Banking at TBC Bank (Georgia)

the Bank is financing right now are new hotels. The demand for this kind of financing has increased due to the rapid increase of tourists coming to Georgia. Tourist flow increased significantly compared to the previous year and the hospitality infrastructure is not sufficiently developed for tourists in such large numbers. TBC Bank offers a loan for building new hotels that finances 60% of the cost. And the customer starts repaying the loan when the hotel receives its first guests thanks to a 2.5-year grace period on repayment granted by the Bank. Almost One hundred new hotels have already received financing through this program. The Bank is also financing Agri startups, for example, those that plant trees. The grace period in this case can be extended to up to 5 years – when the first harvest is carried out. The third type of lending product offered by the Bank involves loans of up to 200 thousand Georgian lari (EUR 70,000) for small startups that have been generating revenue for at least 3 months. TBC Bank has been operating this program for a year and a half. All financed projects and customers receive business support from the Bank. This is not only about disbursement of the loan but also the development of the project and customer in later stages by providing consultancy, structuring the deal properly and involving the right people. The idea is to build an entire ecosystem around the customer that makes running the business more effective. Now, there are no overdue payments on these loans at all.

• Chatbot for Business. Firstly, TBC Bank implemented the Bank’s chatbot into Facebook messenger for servicing customers. This was the first chatbot speaking Georgian in the country. The chatbot was created with the cooperation of a Georgian startup working in the area of AI. Then, TBC Bank decided to provide the chatbot to its business customers as well. This is a ready-made chatbot integrated into Facebook messenger that the Bank will provide its SME customers, allowing them to communicate with their customers without any development work on the part of the customer. Right now, the Bank has pilot projects underway that even offer online payment functionality integrated into the messenger. This is also an element in


• Introduced TBC Business as a brand. As SME Banking at TBC Bank means providing to the customer the whole ecosystem, the Bank has introduced the brand TBC Business, proving that the Bank really support businesses and that opening accounts and lending are only a small part of the services the Bank offers them.

The main aim of the Bank is to make doing business in Georgia easier and empower entrepreneurship development in the country. This is how the Bank plans to increase the number of its SME customers. This is TBC Bank’s strategy — to promote and facilitate entrepreneurship in Georgia. Notes recorded by Olena Gryniuk

Scan QR code to watch Tamuna’s presentation from Caucasus18 Conference



During the visit to Raiffeisen Polbank

SME Study tour to Poland: Inspired by innovations


n May 2018 a group of SME Bankers from Egypt – representatives of commercial banks and Egyptian Banking Institute – came to Poland to learn best practices of banking solutions for small business companies. SME Banking Club hosted the Tour and visits to Polish banks working with SMEs, and some fintechs.

We visited one of the Idea Hubs in Warsaw. Tomasz Górski, Idea Bank, among other topics, told about the concept of the first 100 days of customer’s life in the Bank. When everything is fresh and new to the customer what they do at Idea Bank to instill a habit in them of using the Bank.

Krzysztof Pulkiewicz showed how BanqUP works with SME customers directly and also how they can cooperate with the banks within the B-2-B model.

Tomasz Górski (Idea Bank)

Krzysztof Pulkiewicz (BanqUP)

Michal Pawlik shared their experience at SMEO of financing Polish SMEs purely online.

Łukasz Vászon during the presentation of Mobile ATM at Idea Bank Michal Pawlik (SMEO)


Bank’s experience in the launching of Idea Cloud, Mobile ATM, and packages for entrepreneurs are also topics of great interest.


Event At ING Bank Śląski we talked about agile way of working, launched in SME/MC Division in 2017 and also about digital processes for business customers, starting from the purely online customer’s onboarding and opening current account till signing the loan agreement and selling insurances digitally via the online banking system – ING Business.

The presentation focused on Relationship model for SMEs in Raiffeisen Polbank and sharing the experience in building knowledge and sales competency framework was very valuable and interactive.

From left to right: Wojciech Rudzinski, Jan Czeremcha, Grzegorz Chrzanowski (Raiffeisen Polbank)

Citi Handlowy shared with the group main processes and products they have for business customers: lending products, cash management products, FX. Marcin Kryszeń (ING Bank Śląski)

Adam Walendziewski (ING Bank Śląski)

mBank, among other topics, showed their process of business registration of through Bank’s online banking system, online banking system itself, mobile banking, credit process and mAccounting.

Michał Kozubowski (Citi Handlowy)

During the presentaion at mBank During the visit to mBank

Joanna Ratajczyk (Citi Handlowy)

We talked about working with agricultural customers during a visit to Agri Hub at BGŻ BNP Paribas Bank. Read about the Hub and how BGŻ BNP Paribas approaches farmers in the interview with Bartosz Urbaniak. Maciej Zurawek (Citi Handlowy)

BOŚ Bank shared their experience in financing pro-ecological projects of business customers and how they approach business customers.

Scan QR code to view mor photos on the Tour During the visit at BGŻ BNP Paribas Bank




ING Business – an omnichannel platform for business clients During the CEE SME Banking Club Conference 2018 in Warsaw (October 29-30), Adam Walendziewski (Digital Platforms Tribe Lead at ING Bank Slaski) presented ING Business, an omnichannel digital platform for SME, Mid Corp and Wholesale customers at ING Bank Slaski (Poland), as well as an impressive example of the success of the Agile way of working at the Bank.

Adam Walendziewski (ING Bank Śląski) during his presentation at the CEE SME Banking Club Conference 2018 in Warsaw (October 29-30)

Here, we publish key messages of Adam’s presentation: ING Business is an omnichannel digital platform for SME, Mid Corp and Wholesale customers which ING Bank Śląski treats as a single access point for all the products customers have with the Bank. ING Business consists of three layers: 1 – the most important ones, at the heart of the


application, are product layers. “We started with Cash Management products (accounts & transactions), then we added trade finance products, loans, financial markets, leasing and more. Service layers cover product layers: requests (over 60 types of requests) related to ING Business products, e.g. requests for new loans, requests for new guarantees, etc. We have a communication module and a proxy management module to perform their changes

in the proxies and ensure the rights of the people in the system”. Almost all documents and agreements can be signed electronically without visiting a branch. These Service layers are covered with Touchpoint layers. The most important for now include the web browser, tablet version, native mobile apps for IOS and Android platforms and Webservice Host-2Host with the possibility to directly connect the customer’s API to the ING Business Ecosystem.



“Now we constantly see that users, especially CFOs who are in a hurry, increasingly use native mobile apps, specifically to check account balances and account history. Some of our users use the tablet version. And a few years ago, as one of few banks in the world I guess, we developed an app for wearables,” Adam said during his presentation. The main features of ING Business: • Human-oriented. • Process-oriented • Multiprocess • Scalable • Easily supportable • Consistent with ING principles ING Business is an omnichannel platform, meaning that a user can start a process in one channel and finish it in another one.

Many features are available via ING Business. The Bank’s main approach is that every group of products (accounts, cards, trade finance products, etc.) has its own dashboard. 95% of users only use the cash management features of the system. This is the heart of the system. That’s why it is crucial that these

features work smoothly. Every product in the Cash Management area is covered within ING Business. And with respect to the digital acquisition of customers – a prospect can open an account purely online at our website without visiting a branch, within 5 min, by signing the agreement online.

“We decided to make the system supportable and adaptable for every customer, so that each user can adapt the system to their own needs, using dashboards. When we started to analyze how users use our system, it turned out that only two main roles/personas were needed: entering transactions into the system and checking balances and sometimes accepting payments. Bigger clients also need functionality that allows them to “build” a role as needed, for example for employees working only in, e.g. trade finance”. Each user can adapt the main screen by choosing a set of widgets. Additionally, customers can switch easily to other bank platforms such as the Aleo platform, factoring & leasing applications, etc.


Scan the QR code to watch the presentation about Digital account opening process for business customers in ING Bank Śląski during the CEE SME Banking Club Conference 2017 in Krakow (Nov 23-24)



Financing This is a dashboard for finance products, where customers can see their credit limit, repayment schedule, loan application, etc. and of course, each widget can be added to the home page as well. Almost all the lending products at the bank are also offered via ING Business, from standard loans to prescoring offers.

Financial markets A recently developed module allows customers to exchange foreign currencies online.

Mobile application – available for IOS and Android In mobile apps, the main focus is on cash management functionality. So it’s possible to check balances, enter, sign and send a transaction to previously entered beneficiaries. The FX module is available so that customers can exchange currencies via a mobile app. There are some additional functionalities available in the app like geolocalization, touch ID, etc.

How ING Business evolved “We started from the payment channel, a product approach aimed at offering almost all banking products on this platform. Year by year we added more self-service functions like the possibility to order cash at the branch, order a convoy, order new cards, etc. Now we have 60


applications. This year we added new features to support digital sales processes for SMEs because we treat ING Business not only as a service platform but also as a sales platform,” said Adam. Notes made by Olena Gryniuk



CRM & Digital Transformation Why and How You Should Digitize Customer Relationships During the CEE SME Banking Club Conference 2018 in Warsaw (October 29-30), Anna Glazunova (Livespace) and Maryia Dylets (Alfa-Bank Belarus) presented a case study involving the common implementation of a CRM system within Alfa-Bank Belarus. Here are the key points of their presentation. 2 years ago, Alfa-Bank Belarus’ adoption of a new strategy meant that the bank was faced with the challenge of optimizing customer service costs, and it was this goal that lead to their implementation of a CRM. The bank launched a remote contact center for its mass business customers segment, and together with Livespace (Poland), it implemented a CRM system. The initial results were impressive:

All of this was achieved without hiring extra employees within the bank. Upon implementing the CRM solution, the following challenges occurred: • Tool that would allow for the proper measurement of customer service quality introduced • Information about all types of clients from different channels received • Problems in business processes identified and brought under control The step-by step-process of CRM integration was as follows:

Anna Glazunova (Livespace) and Maryia Dylets (Alfa-Bank Belarus) during their presentation at the CEE SME Banking Club Conference 2018 in Warsaw (October 29-30)

Elements of success: • Easy to set up the system – little time and few resources required • Implementation and adaptation plan (trial period) produced impressive results • Improved communication between companies – language and cultural barriers less of an obstacle • Efficient preparation of the legal terms of cooperation in the context of various legislative systems (EU and non-EU) • Readiness of the supplier to meet high standards for the banking sector.

Livespace Polish company, based in Warsaw, provider of a next-gen B2B processfocused CRM, with task & sales automation.

Alfa-Bank Belarus Established in 1999, offers services to all customer segments through its head office in Minsk and 17 branches in all regions of the country.

Scan the QR code to watch the presentation from the CEE SME Banking Club Conference 2018 in Warsaw (Oct 29-30)




DEPOSIT MARKETPLACE FOR SMES — ACCESS TO SAVINGS PRODUCTS ACROSS EUROPE Raisin is a leading fintech company in Europe, established 5 years ago, based in Berlin.


uring the CEE SME Banking Club Conference 2018 in Warsaw (October 29-30), Lisa Schmid (Head of Business Clients at Raisin) presented the Raisin platform and how banks can digitalize the customer experience when placing a deposit. Here we publish key messages of Lisa’s presentation. Through Raisin, more than 60 banks across Europe access funding in a diversified and cost-efficient manner. The business concept is to connect private customers and SMEs with partner banks for term and overnight deposits. Business model “We have a Partner bank and it has only one interface, which is Raisin. They decide where they want to place their deposit offers: country platforms and pan European platform (Raisin.

Lisa Schmid (Raisin) during her presentation at the CEE SME Banking Club Conference 2018 in Warsaw (October 29-30)

com). The partner bank can also place its offer with distribution partners (so that their term deposit offer is available for, e.g. BBVA clients or N26 clients, etc.)” Lisa said. Raisin products • Partner banks can decide whether they want to offer their products to retail customers or SMEs, or both • The main products are term deposits, notice accounts and overnight deposits • Available currencies: EUR, GBP, USD. Some local currencies are also available: NOK, CHF, BGN.

Steps to open a deposit for an SME customer via Raisin: 1. Registration on the Raisin platform. The customer should sign up using data of the company, managing director and main beneficial owners. 2. Deposit selection. The customer has access to all partner bank term deposits and chooses the banks, term, interest rate and the amount they want to deposit. It’s only takes a few clicks. 3. Identification. Servicing bank performs the identification of the director, company and main beneficial owners. 4. Transfer of funds to the Raisin account, which is opened for free. 5. Deposit opening at Partner bank. During this last step, Raisin forwards the account opening documents and funds to the partner banks. After maturity, the partner bank pays the deposit back. Then the customer can access the funds, including earned interest on the Raisin platform, and invest it somewhere else or withdraw it to the personal account. Notes made by Olena Gryniuk

How Raisin supports banks: • Acquiring the needed stable funding. This is a typical product partnership when a bank wants to place a certain number of products on the platform. Raisin handles customer acquisition, customer onboarding, KYC processes and customer service for the bank. • Managing banks’ excess liquidity. If banks want to get rid of their liquidity, they can integrate Raisin partners’ term deposit offer in to their online banking, making it possible for clients to deposit their funds with Raisin partner banks Among others, N26 and BBVA have become distributor partners. • Optimizing costs, regulatory compliance and diversification.






n October 29, during a Study Tour as part of the CEE SME Banking Club Conference 2018 in Warsaw, Marcin Grodowski — co-founder of LeaseLink — shared details with us of how they are offering fully online leasing for micro and small businesses within the space of 15 minutes, with the service available 24 hours a day. Moreover, LeaseLink has also turned leasing into a method of payment. LeaseLink is the only company on the European market providing an entirely online leasing procedure. There is no need for customers to leave the office to buy equipment, and the process takes only 15 minutes! LeaseLink specializes in transactions with a value of PLN 1 to 50,000, carried out via e-commerce or directly fro m equipment providers when a customer wants to pay for purchases as easily as by wire-transfer. This is what the process looks like:

Marcin Grodowski, co-founder at LeaseLink

LeaseLink Business Philosophy: Our primary goal is to deliver leasing services to small businesses in a simple, transparent and exceptionally quick way. LeaseLink’s way of doing business is typical for most technology companies (FinTechs) and it’s based on combining know-how and technology in order to: • simplify processes and lower the costs of doing business; • offer a cheaper solution than the alternative on the market; • earn profits through the effect of scale instead of individual/per-customer transactions.




John Mark Williams:

Business agility is a mindset During the CEE SME Banking Club Conference 2018 in Warsaw (October 29-30) John Mark Williams moderated several panels, including the one on digital transformation and agile approach in SME Banking. Olena Gryniuk talked to John right after the Conference about business agility and Breakthrough program John was running in Santander UK.


ou are heading Agile Business Consortium in the UK. What is the purpose of that organization and how your everyday job looks like? The Agile Business Consortium is a global leader in promoting business agility. Founded in 1994 as a not-for-profit organization, it pioneered Agile Principles and continues to inspire new developments and thinking, such as the role of innovation at the heart of the Framework for Business Agility. Our mission is to lead, enable and promote business agility worldwide. Agile businesses work faster, better and deliver greater value for money — delighting customers, motivating staff and driving additional profit. Agile practices improve all aspects of an organization, from HR


and finance, to project management, product development, and organizational change. What does agility mean for you? Business agility is a mindset. It gives organizations the flexibility and adaptability to respond rapidly to business change. More than that, it helps organizations achieve the ability to predict amidst uncertainty and to position themselves to meet the complexity that characterizes today’s business and social world. During the CEE SME Banking Club Conference 2018 in Warsaw this October you moderated a Panel on digital transformation and agile approach in SME Banking. Except for ING Bank, representative of which we had during the Discussion Panel, which implemented

an agile way of working in the SME business line, do you know many banks that did this as well? Do you believe that banks, being probably the last stronghold of waterfall methods and being very much traditional and hierarchical organizations, can become agile? There are a few other large banks who are deliberately engaged in developing business agility — Barclays would be a prime example. Yet, many more are becoming more agile in their thinking, as they embark on the journey toward true business agility. This is driven by two things. The first, on the supply side, is the need to transform themselves in a market where traditional banking models are being rapidly dismantled and disaggregated by challengers from outside the banking field — a classic case of disruption. The second is the demand side need to satisfy customers who are increasingly expecting similar levels of service from their bank, as they receive from the slickest and swiftest of service providers in every field. Customers transfer their expectations — if Amazon or Google can use AI to predict what I want to buy or what information I need to gather, why can’t my bank predict how my finances need to be managed, and do that for me? Certainly, banks can become agile —


Event whether or not they will, depends on how soon their senior management wakes up to the fact that business agility is not a fad or a fashion — it is a necessary competency for still being in business in the future.

John Mark Williams at the CEE SME Banking Club Conference 2018 in Warsaw (October 29-30)

For almost five years, you were the Head of the Breakthrough Program in Santander UK, which was the program scale-ups — fast-growing SMEs. Could you tell us more about the program? Why have you decided to create a special program for scale-ups? How are the needs of scale-up different? Santander UK’s Breakthrough program was the first real attempt by a bank to become customer-driven in the SME space. We approached it by adopting a very simple mantra — ‘This is not Banking. This is Business Growth’. Most importantly, it wasn’t the bank’s business growth that we focused on — it was the growth of the SMEs. A year of deep research showed a range of needs that characterized SMEs, only one of which involved finance. I built the program around the five core functions of a business — Strategy, Marketing, Operations, People and Finance. Whilst the bank could provide all manner of financial support for the SMEs, the other elements were delivered through a network of partners, with the bank acting as a platform through which SMEs could access support to meet all their major challenges. We ran events large and small, bringing together SMEs with a wide range of experience, to learn from and mentor each other. We ran trade missions to countries across the globe, either where Santander was strong, or where we had close connections with SME-orientated banks, opening markets for businesses by putting them directly in touch with international customers, suppliers and partners. We held Master Classes with iconic businesses, such as Google, McLaren, Saatchi & Saatchi and many more, who opened their doors to the SMEs and showed them how to become a large business, the challenges they might face, and how some of them might be overcome. We worked with the SMEs on their talent acquisition dilemmas, supplying them with talent management development, and mentors, either directly or again through our partner network. And of course, as a bank, we had a finance proposition, including a £200m Growth Capital Fund and myriad other facilities for operational or international finance for growth.


The thing which defined the programme was the emphasis on scale-ups. The original research had identified that small percentage of SME businesses who were responsible for the majority of economic activity and job growth, and we moved very quickly to focus the benefits of the Breakthrough programme on that cohort. Scale-ups are different in three ways. The first is that they are growth-focused. That may sound strange, yet not all SME businesses are orientated toward growth — many are lifestyle businesses, and scale-ups represent a small percentage — maybe 6% or so — of the marketplace. Secondly, they operate at pace. They know the value of time in the life-cycle of a product or service, and they also understand almost instinctively that their competitors who are also scale-ups, never stand still. And thirdly, they understand risk. Not the popular image of the entrepreneur — taking huge risks and hoping for the best. True, entrepreneurial scaleups operate by assessing risk, and then deciding on the basis of experience and appetite, what risk they will accept. This means that the needs of the scale-ups are very specific. What were the expectations of scaleups towards the Bank? Did they expect to get from a Bank a piece of advice on their business, a matching with potential partners or other nonbanking services? Scale-ups want a bank that will work with them to achieve growth — and which understands that growth is not a straight-line on the graph. It fluctuates over time, yet the faith in growth

remains in the scale-up — and they want that faith to be shown by their bank. They want a bank that matches their pace, whether in payments for overseas initiatives or decisions on working capital support. And finally, they want a bank that is prepared to share the future with them — not one that is traditionally, and cripplingly, risk-averse. They certainly want advice. They also want a bank that recognizes that growth is a function of innovation; innovation is a function of ideas; ideas are a function of connections. The most valuable benefit provided to SME scale-ups by the Breakthrough was the connections we were able to facilitate. We connected them with one another, with customers, with suppliers, with partners, with talent and ideas and finance. The biggest difference between SMEs and large corporates is that large corporates are connected everywhere — SMEs are poorly connected. Whether it is through technology or contacts or services, a bank that connects its scale-up customers is a bank that is adding value for them. What is the effect of the Program? Santander’s Breakthrough program is still running, reaching more businesses than ever now. It transformed thinking within the bank and was rolled out across the Santander global group as Santander Advance. I am proud that Santander Breakthrough is still motivating and supporting SME businesses in the UK, and its children, as Santander Advance, are benefiting SMEs across the world.



CEE SME Banking Club Conference 2018


or the fourth time, SME Banking Club gathered SME Bankers in Warsaw (Poland) at the CEE SME Banking Conference 2018, which was held on October 29-30 and devoted to financial services for SMEs in that region (#CEE18). More than 100 attendees from 20 countries took part in this year’s conference. Day one of the conference on October 29 was devoted to the topic of cooperation between banks and FinTechs, and started with on-site visits to Innovation ING Lab — a space that supports creative thinking and innovations within ING Bank Śląski; and LeaseLink — a FinTech leasing company that provides online leasing to entrepreneurs (for more details, see p. 39). The program continued with a panel discussion on Models for Cooperation Between Banks & FinTechs. Maciej Marszalek from The Heart Warsaw talked about Why and How Banks Should cooperate with FinTechs.

During the on-site visits to Innovation ING Lab (Warsaw, October 29, 2018)

Balazs Topor (Raiffeisen Bank International) summed up the results of RBI’s first Accelerator program – Elevator Lab 1.0. One of the main key factors for the successful implementation of solutions with start-ups is serious, dedicated resources and agility on the bank’s part. Kamila Wincenciak presented RBL_ - Accelerator program in Alior Bank (Poland),

which was launched in September this year (for more details, see pp. 8-9). Paulina Skrzypińska and Michał Miszulowicz presented a Start-up Code that was implemented within BGŻ BNP Paribas in Poland to accelerate the purchasing process for new technological solutions and templates for documents for the so-called Proof of Concept (for more details, see p. 6).

Why We are in an era in which production and distribution are being replaced by experience, ease, simplicity and transparency Entry barriers are much easier to overcome — technology, regulations, access to capital Customer experience and expectations spread across industries ...they even spread within industries but across borders! Millennials are turning...40

How Innovate on the Core Challenge your Core Venture out and experiment Open Up


During the panel discussion on Models for Cooperation Between Banks & FinTechs. Left to right: Balazs Topor (Raiffeisen Bank International), Kamila Wincenciak (Alior Bank), Michał Miszulowicz (BGŻ BNP Paribas), Paulina Skrzypińska (BGŻ BNP Paribas), Maciej Marszalek (The Heart Warsaw)


Event Afterwards, 8 startups offering innovative solutions pitched their ideas on how they can help acquire more customers for banks and create new features for SME customers. Blockey — a website plugin that helps companies verify a customer’s identity and complete the KYC process through the bank login. bNesis — a marketing automation system based on continuous monitoring of customer events within non-traditional data sources in order to allow SMEs to apply for a loan with just a few clicks. Eucaps — easy access to the entire European market for publicly traded SME instruments. Finea — a fintech focused on delivery of online factoring solutions to micro and SME companies. Kekemeke — digitalization of loyalty programs. Partner HUB — an e-invoicing platform that can be integrated into internet banking systems. QuickCash — a platform that evaluates SME Business Performance & Credit Risk and defines the threshold for SME credit with full automation, within 15 minutes and online. Zweryfikujfirme.pl — automatic analysis of financial data from SAF-T.

steps taken by the bank, what still needs to be done, and what it takes for a bank to become an agile organization. John Mark Williams (Agile Business Consortium) moderated the discussion panel and raised the topic of, among other, the main driving factor behind digital transformation within banks, given that many banks continue to bring in profit despite still using old legacy systems and not undergoing digital transformation. He also raised the question of whether digital transformation and adopting the Agile way of working happen simultaneously. Anna Glazunova (Livespace) and with Marya Dylets (Alfa Bank Belarus) presented a business case study on the implementation of a CRM within Alfa Bank Belarus (for more details, see p. 37).

During the Pitching Session in RBL_ (Warsaw, October 29, 2018)

Left to right: Anna Glazunova (Livespace), Marya Dylets (Alfa Bank Belarus)

Day two of the conference on October 30 started with a panel discussion of Digital Strategies in SME Banking and the Agile way of working. Charles-Alexandre Gamba (ITDC BC) raised the question in his presentation on what was stopping banks from proceeding with digital transformation, and the answers came during the discussion panel. Adam Walendziewski presented the Agile way of working within ING Bank Śląski along with the

During the next panel — Innovations in Daily Banking — Adam Walendziewski presented ING Business — an omnichannel platform for SME & Corporate customers that provides a single access point for all banking and non-banking products (for more details, see pp. 34-36). Agnieszka Piróg and Patrycja Leszek-Królikowska (Ailleron) talked about Customer digital experience in business banking and showed how a digital platform can fit different segments and cater to the needs of SME customers. Lisa Schmid (Raisin) showed how banks can digitalize deposit products for SMEs and how Raisin is doing just that (for more details, see p. 38). Tomasz Jakubczyk (BOŚ Bank) moderated the discussion panel.

During the discussion panel. Left to right: Adam Walendziewski (ING Bank Śląski), Charles-Alexandre Gamba (ITDC BC), John Mark Williams (Agile Business Consortium)

During the discussion panel. Left to right: Lisa Schmid (Raisin), Adam Walendziewski (ING Bank Śląski), Patrycja Leszek-Królikowska (Ailleron), Agnieszka Piróg (Ailleron), Tomasz Jakubczyk (BOŚ Bank).




Marta Mroz-Sipiora and Marcin Kwilosz from Asseco Poland presented Digi Trade — new solution that helps digitize Trade Finance products for SME customers.

Marta Mroz-Sipiora and Marcin Kwilosz (Asseco Poland) during their presentation

and become important partners for small businesses. Łukasz Bystrzyński (CashDirector) gave a presentation on Automated Accounting solutions as an element of SME Banking Ecosystems. In cooperation with mBank, CashDirector launched the first automated accounting solution on the Polish market for SMEs — mAccounting. Krzysztof Pulkiewicz from banqUP showed how a bank can provide more tailored solutions to SMEs and help them run their businesses more efficiently by using BFM tools. This year a separate panel was devoted to Agri Banking in order to discuss how banks can approach and finance farmers in the new digital reality, what the relationship model and the main challenges are when working with this customer segment. During this panel, entitled “Agricultural Finance: Trends, Digital Technologies and Challenges”, Bartosz Urbaniak (Head of Food & Agri Banking at BNP Paribas Group for CEE and Africa) talked about the main trends and challenges for farmers in the region.

During the Digitalization of SME Finance Panel, representatives of online lender (iwoca), traditional bank (Raiffeisenbank CZ) and management consulting company (PwC Polska) discussed the automation of SME lending. John Mark Williams (Agile Business Consortium) moderated the discussion panel and discussed, among other topics, the usage of data and data analytics in banks’ business decisions and when assessing risks related to lending to SMEs. During the discussion panel. Left to right: Adam Spławski (PwC Polska), Tomas Nemcik (Raiffeisenbank CZ), Mariusz Zabrocki (iwoca Poland), John Mark Williams (Agile Business Consortium)

Bartosz Urbaniak (BNP Paribas Group) during his presentation

Discussion during the panel on Creating an SME Banking Ecosystem, which was kicked off by a presentation by Bartosz Witorzeńć from Idea Bank (Poland), focused on the creation of ecosystems of services that go beyond core banking, thanks to which banks hope to acquire new sources of profit and (equally important) deep customer relationships,

Leasing is particularly advantageous for small and medium-sized businesses that do not have a lengthy credit history or a significant asset base for collateral. The topic on leasing as a primary source of investment financing for agricultural customers was presented by Tomasz Sudaj (Santander Leasing Polska). Tomasz Sudaj (Santander Leasing Polska) during his presentation

During the discussion panel. Left to right: Bartosz Witorzeńć (Idea Bank), Łukasz Bystrzyński (CashDirector), Krzysztof Pulkiewicz (banqUP).



Event Matija Zulj (Agrivi) presented the benefits of the FMS solution and how it can be useful for banks. Andrey Gidulyan (SME Banking Club) hosted the discussion panel.

Daniel Huszár (efcom)

Exhibitors: Asseco Poland is the largest Polish IT company listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. It has been developing technologically advanced software solutions for all key sectors of the economy for more than 25 years. More details at https://pl.asseco.com/. Left to right: Matija Zulj (Agrivi), Andrey Gidulyan (SME Banking Club)

The panel on SME Risk Management was preceded by a presentation on CEE Economic outlook by Grzegorz Sielewicz (coface).

Ailleron creates digital technologies that change the relations of companies with millions of their customers. More details at http://ailleron.com/. Grzegorz Sielewicz (coface)

Alexander Beresford (Finiata) and Daniel Huszár (efcom) talked about automation of factoring services for SMEs in terms of risk, how to use data in automation of decision making, how to define which customers to onboard and which to reject, and how to do it quickly. Alexander Beresford (Finiata)

SETTCE. Executing any financial transaction has never been easier thanks to the SETCCE e-signature solution. More details at https://www.setcce.com/.

Join us during the next edition in 2019!




CEE SME Banking Club

29-30 October, Warsaw, Poland




Katalin Kauzli (Partner HUB)

During the onsite visits to Innovation ING Lab

Paulina Skrzypińska (BGŻ BNP Paribas)

Kamila Wincenciak (Alior Bank)

Left to right: Balazs Topor (Raiffeisen Bank International), Kamila Wincenciak (Alior Bank), Michał Miszulowicz (BGŻ BNP Paribas), Paulina Skrzypińska (BGŻ BNP Paribas), Maciej Marszalek (The Heart Warsaw)

Balazs Topor (Raiffeisen Bank International)

Scan QR code to view more photos from Day 1




Daniel Huszรกr (efcom)

Adam Spล‚awski (PwC Polska)

Lisa Schmid (Raisin)


Olena Gryniuk (SME Banking Club)

Tomasz Sudaj (Santander Leasing Polska)

John Mark Williams (Agile Business Consortium)


Event Left to right: Tomas Nemcik (Raiffeisenbank CZ), Mariusz Zabrocki (iwoca Poland), John Mark Williams (Agile Business Consortium)

Left to right: Adam Walendziewski (ING Bank Śląski), Charles-Alexandre Gamba (ITDC BC), John Mark Williams (Agile Business Consortium)

Daniel Mrozek (Santander Leasing Polska)

Tomasz Jakubczyk (BOŚ Bank)

Anna Glazunova (Livespace)


Bartosz Urbaniak (BNP Paribas Group)

Scan QR code to view more photos from Day 2



the SME Banking Club

The SME Banking Club was established by a team of former SME bankers in 2010. The SME Banking Club organizes regional SME banking conferences on an annual basis (one regional conference in each region where it has a presence) that bring together financial institutions, technology companies and development finance institutions to share knowledge, spur innovation and promote the growth of SMEs in the region. For details about our regular events, featuring expert professional guidance and exclusive panel discussions, visit www.smebanking.events. SME Banking Club members benefit from access to detailed analytical market reports and annual studies. This information is not available anywhere else in the market. Regions of operations: Central and Eastern Europe, CIS countries, the Caucasus region and Central Asia. Representative offices in Ukraine and Poland. We invite you to stay in touch and join our online platforms: our website, www.smebanking.club; our LinkedIn page; and our Soundcloud page, which offers unique knowledge resources. Join the SME Banking Club network for events and ideas that connect and inspire.

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SBB Magazine 07  

In this issue of SBB Magazine, we share key insights and takeaways (pp. 26-45) from all of SME Banking Club’s main events in 2018, involving...

SBB Magazine 07  

In this issue of SBB Magazine, we share key insights and takeaways (pp. 26-45) from all of SME Banking Club’s main events in 2018, involving...

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