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.
Who 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.
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, fl exible and always mobile as business owners in those times are.