What are your priorities, the mainfocus in SME Banking this year?

Szymon Przybylak, Director responsible for entrepreneurs banking at ING Bank Śląski

Szymon Przybylak
Szymon Przybylak

At ING, in the micro-companies’ area, we focus on building an ecosystem centred around the new e-banking system “Moje ING”. The system, apart from allowing remote access to the bank, should be primarily a centre of managing the firm’s finances. This is achieved through features such as income and expenditure analysis, contractor module or entrepreneur’s calendar. Furthermore, market research shows that small entrepreneurs often manage their personal and firm finances together. To cater for the needs of entrepreneurs, the Moje ING system was designed to provide an overview and management centre of both personal and firm finances in one place. Our aim is for ING to be perceived as a bank supporting entrepreneurial individuals and delivering simple, intuitive solutions that help our clients run their businesses on a daily basis.

Apart from developing remote access channels for the bank and digitalising processes, we are continuously developing our offering of products and services for Entrepreneurs. This includes both traditional banking products and beyond banking initiatives. For this purpose, as a modern financial institution, we have established cooperation with the FinTech start-ups environment. For example, we have recently begun cooperating with InviPay.com which allows us to benefit our customers with online invoice financing (micro factoring) service that used to be only available for SMEs. Other examples include helping micro-enterprises to obtain EU funds with assistance of the EBDF advisory group” – said Szymon Przybylak, Director responsible for entrepreneurs banking at ING Bank Śląski.

Robert Knopiko, Operational Director, SME Customer Department at Bank Pekao S.A.

Robert Knopiko
Robert Knopiko

Priorities are always dictated by customers’ needs. Having in mind the latest positive trends in the economy, especially GDP growth forecasted at 4% this year, we will focus on satisfying both investment and working capital financing needs of Polish SME sector. The second important area is related to innovations. We are going to put additional effort to strengthen our position in this field. Last but not least, we strongly believe that small business is a relationship-driven segment and customer satisfaction is a real competitive advantage. Therefore we are going to keep increasing our proactivity in delivering high quality and customer centric approach in order to develop relations and exceed expectations of our SME Customers.

Marcin Kryszen, Bank Director responsible for SME/MC Digital Transformation at ING Bank Śląski

In the SME/mid-corps area, the further development of remote distribution channels maintains a priority for the oncoming years. They complement the traditional service model which is based on the relation with the individual bank advisor. Such channels allow our clients to fully access the bank’s transactional and product offer. At the same time, our aim is for these channels to become the primary tool in realising client transactions and an important sales tool as well.

Marcin Kryszen
Marcin Kryszen

The key element of our ecosystem is the new version of the ING Business internet banking system, which we made available in 2017, as a universal communication platform with our bank. Apart from the traditional banking offer, we put great emphasis on the development of services that support businesses in their day-to-day operations. The ALEO open e-procurement platform, ING Accounting, online insurance and supplier financing are examples of solutions we have recently provided to our clients.

In order to meet the challenges of ever-changing business environment and growing customer expectations, we set up our own Innovation Lab – a unit that is responsible for monitoring the market, creating innovative, beyond banking, solutions and ongoing cooperation with fin-tech companies” – said Marcin Kryszeń, Bank Director responsible for SME/MC Digital Transformation at ING Bank Śląski.

Przemyslaw Dukiel, Head of Retail Current Accounts at Bank Millennium

Przemyslaw Dukiel
Przemyslaw Dukiel

Business customers’ segment is an important area of Bank Millennium activity. As a part of our sustainable growth strategy, we primarily focus on dynamic development of customers’ base – especially through active acquisition of small entrepreneurs or start-ups. Therefore, our current main activities are focused on creating an universal, attractive offer of daily banking products and services. We are very oriented to provide an added value for our customers and help them in conducting everyday business. That is why our offer was refreshed last year with a new ‘Mój Biznes’ account designed just for small entrepreneurs. It offers very attractive price conditions, easy access via remote channels or, if the client prefers, high quality service by a qualified advisor at a branch. Our list of priorities for the coming months includes the development of the offer in terms of financing, particularly leasing.

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Maciej Sus, Head of Business Client Department at Deutsche Bank Polska

Maciej Sus
Maciej Sus

Thinking about the major challenges which the Polish segment of small and medium-sized enterprises faces nowadays in terms of banking services, I would point the greatest obstacles to the development of SME defined by the clients themselves in the survey prepared by Deutsche Bank. These challenges are de facto above all the unique lever for development. The ability to use it may determine the power structure of domestic enterprises for the years to come.

  • 35% of surveyed companies state thedifficult access to external financing as the greatest development obstacle.This deeply-rooted view contrasts strongly with the market reality: the high availability of financing and the lowest interest rates in history. This inconsistency means that banks still have to do their homework – how even more effectively explain to clients that external financing is a good business-wise solution, not a last resort. Deutsche Bank’s offer is an answer for clients’ needs: we do not sell a credit product, but – as if a trusted sparring partner – together with the client we actively work out the best development vision with the use of financing.
  • 26% of surveyed companies indicatepayment bottlenecksand the resulting problems with liquidity. This response is a clear sign that we must better reach the clients with information and education that bottlenecks do not need to be an entrepreneurs’ nightmare. Of course I am thinking about factoring, which on mature markets is the obvious support for liquidity management; it gives “breath” to the companies (in terms of finances as well as of mind-set) which is indispensable to build ambitious development strategies.
  • 13% of surveyed companies have difficulties in finding the right employees.This obstacle is only seemingly not related to banking. The Polish economy faces a challenge of a new business paradigm – we will no longer be able to compete on the basis of low labour costs. We must prioritise innovation, high added value, extension of the value chain created in Poland. External financing of the investments in automation, new technologies or products may play a huge part in this transformation.

Wojciech Rudzinski, Corporate Banking Sales Director, Small Enterprises, at Raiffeisen Polbank

Wojciech Rudzinski
Wojciech Rudzinski

First of all, we constantly review the customer’s journey map, which starts with customer acquisition and ends with customer retention. Our goal is to bring more convenience that results in higher satisfaction level, which is measured twice a year by NPS. Implementation of a new IT system, which allows our clients to open a bank account and have it fully operational within one day, was one of our top priorities delivered this year. Moreover, we focused on raising a quality of service by implementation of Relationship Management Advisory Approach. Small Enterprises usually have good business concepts but they need advice how to use banking services in order to grow their businesses. Bank loan is still one of the most popular external source of financing among small enterprises, however access to it throughout banking industry is sometimes limited.

Our Relationship Managers have proper experience and expertise therefore can easily advise and adjust appropriate lending products, such as overdrafts, asset based lending, loans with EU grants or loans with de Minimis guarantees with credit standing of a borrower. Additionally, we promote non-recourse factoring which allows our clients to increase sales by acquiring new customers and shifting the account receivables risk to the bank. The whole factoring process, obtaining the client and advance payment within two hours, is paperless and 100% on-line. Moreover, we brought to the market new and very convenient product package called Pakiet Biznes PLUS, which consists of bank account, on-line payments and small overdraft limit available within 2 working days at a very attractive monthly fee.

Katarzyna Siwek, Head of Communications at Idea Bank

Katarzyna Siwek
Katarzyna Siwek

The banking sector in Poland is becoming more customer-oriented every day. Banks — both for individual customers and entrepreneurs — are trying to outdo one another with new projects. Idea Bank puts entrepreneurial clients first, that’s why it’s implementing new solutions every year. Earlier this year, we launched our so-called Idea Hub Express (IHE), a co-working space and bank branch in a train car. This was designed for our clients, mainly entrepreneurs, whose job is often inseparable from travel. An IHE car was added to selected trains until the end of June. We are also heading toward the finish line of another, entirely new project: a social lending platform that is going to connect investors who are looking for more profitable opportunities than investing their money in deposit accounts, to borrowers in search of a fast loan to develop their business or pay some unexpected bills. What is important, Idea Bank is watching over the processes related to this platform.

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Jacek Czerniak, GSG Head at Citi Handlowy

Jacek Czerniak
Jacek Czerniak

Regulatory burdens are among top challenges on the horizon for the banking sector in coming months. One of the main factors is of course MiFID II. Due to the high requirements we meet, and which result from our activity also on the American market, the MiFID II is not such a great challenge for Citi Handlowy; however, it will be challenging for the European banks. Banks without the scale will have a proportionately greater burden on their shoulders. Therefore, we may expect profitability to be still under pressure. Capital requirements are constantly growing, which will limit the banks’ activity or the scope of products they offer, as they will be burdened with risky assets. The fact that we are not burdened with loans in Swiss francs, which was our strategic decision made a few years ago, is to our advantage.

Since these challenges and changes don’t concern us, and we have a significant capital we can focus on the development. We have both sufficient business size and a technological and quality advantage when it comes to our products. We implement world-class products on the Polish market and concentrate on the areas in which we feel at least good. One of them is relationship based service with our corporate clients.

Some things remain constant – global companies seek in a bank partner that supports them in their activities, understands them and helps to get through various local market regulations. Our clients are long-term investors and strong foundations of business development are key for their strategies. They focus on market potential and economic stability. While different in profile, they have one thing in common: a long-term approach to business.

Therefore what we offer is a full range of services in the area of cash management, foreign exchange, trade financing and business lending, which remain the basic banking services. We give practically unlimited access to all foreign markets through our brokerage house. Final offer is adjusted to local conditions and tailor made so that we can fully leverage the investment and development potential of particular markets. In past few years we observe growing role of consulting in this package. The relation of “classic” financial products to what could be described as “consulting services” is more or less fifty/fifty.

As we have longtime presence on almost 100 markets we have gathered enough knowledge and experience crucial for doing business on specific markets. Companies we serve value also networking and experience sharing possibilities Citi Handlowy enables them. For instance, we do that in Poland, where we cooperate with many international companies.

Equally important is individually created solution. Through the years of creating offers and servicing companies we have learned more about the business of our partners what makes Citi Handlowy able to anticipate the future needs of companies operating on particular markets, even if they are not yet aware of them. One of our key market advantages is global reach and bideractionality of such attitude – if our foreign client want to invest in Poland, or Polish company plans to expand its presence abroad, each of them will be supported by Citi team on site. This way specific knowledge from local teams helps our clients save time and do business on almost any market.

That’s what we are good at, and that’s what our clients value most. We continue our strategy of being a stable, strong bank, which responds fl exibly to market changes, focused on serving international companies or those aspiring to expand their business to foreign markets. We want to play the role of a partner and an advisor in running business for our customers.

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