SMEs Continue to be the Banking Sector’s Golden Goose

Caucasus SME Banking Club Conference 2017

On May 24-25, 2017, the SME Banking Club arranged the Caucasus SME Banking Club Conference 2017 in Georgia. Representatives of some of the world’s leading banks and financial institutions attended the Conference, discussing the modern trends in SME banking.

On May 24-25, 2017, the SME Banking Club arranged the Caucasus SME Banking Club Conference 2017 in Georgia. Representatives of some of the world’s leading banks and financial institutions attended the Conference, discussing the modern trends in SME banking.

We are proud to hear the success stories of our entrepreneurs, their ability to find a niche and be successful in business

Dimitris Petrilis
Dimitris Petrilis

“The main problem facing SME banking is that SMEs are not particularly trusting of banks for a variety of reasons. They are seeking alternative sources of funding such as crowdfunding, equity service schemes, etc. Another issue is that lots of SMEs are afraid that they will fail and do not want to risk even their personal finances by going to the banks and taking out loans. There are also some misconceptions from banks’ perspective, as banks are currently vert hesitant when it comes to granting loans to SMEs because they consider it risky in that SMEs appear and disappear very quickly,” said Dimitris Petrilis, Sales and Marketing Director for Europe and CIS at Capital Banking.

Boris Dyakonov
Boris Dyakonov

As Boris Dyakonov, CEO at Tochka mentioned, for SME banking, where Tochka is based in Russia at least, the banks have become much more user-friendly. “They are expanding their offering, lowering their prices and becoming more aggressive in their advertising. At the same time, they are learning how to provide extra value in the form of non-financial services. In the near future, we can expect banks to continue running their businesses following these trends,” Dyakonov said.

In the near future, we can expect banks to continue running business following these trends

“Nowadays, banks are partners to businesses,” said Zurab Masurashvili, Head of the MSME Banking Department at the Bank of Georgia, one of Georgia’s leading banks.

Zurab Masurashvili
Zurab Masurashvili

As Masurashvili added, banks issuing loans is a perfectly normal thing but not something that makes anyone happy. “This encourages banks to get closer to their clients and provide other kinds of support; they are working to accumulate knowledge across various sectors so that they can share this knowledge with businesses. This is one of the most important things banks can offer businesses.”

The Bank of Georgia has started providing various non-banking services to its customers and arranges DCFTA events to inform the business community what kind of procedures are required. Another of the bank’s important projects is a platform called #ICreate. By means of this platform, the bank’s management supports businesses and provides not only funding but also consultations and popularization. Video catalogues of successful cases were also launched, which both help businesses acquire more contacts and inspire others and teach them to achieve success by learning from the examples of others.

Another leading Georgian bank, TBC Bank, considers SMEs to be one of the toppriority sectors for its business. Recently, the bank launched the Startuper program for promoting entrepreneurship in Georgia.

Tamar Zhizhilashvili
Tamar Zhizhilashvili

“Fear of failure is one of the most frequent obstacles facing SMEs,” said Tamar Zhizhilashvili, Deputy Director of Marketing Communications & Business Banking at TBC Bank. In her words, recognizing their success in business is crucial. In this regard, TBC Bank also established the TBC Business Award. “We are proud to hear the success stories of our entrepreneurs, their ability to find a niche and be successful in business. Sharing their experience is also really important for others as a source of motivation and inspiration,” said Zhizhilashvili.

The year of 2016 was a period of significant challenges for Georgia’s Terabank. 17 years since its inception, the bank has revised its business strategy and introduced new service standards as well as improved products with the aim of providing maximum comfort for its main target clients – SMEs. In addition, the bank has introduced a new design concept at its business branches, which are supposed to be a “home” environment for clients: branch interiors are arranged like a home, with a fireplace, soft furniture and decorative photos. At Business Hub SME bankers and SME analysts offer business banking products and can assist customers in decision-making and provide business advice.

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