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Fostering Economic Growth and Sustainability: how to unlock EU Funds potential in CEE

The NGEU is a temporary funding instrument of the European Union designed to mobilise up to 723 billion euro in grants and loans to encourage investments and structural reform measures. If fully implemented, the NGEU could increase the real GDP in the euro area by up to 1.5 percentage points by 2026, significantly lifting growth prospects. As of now, two and a half years into the program, the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) disbursements have reached 107 billion euro, which is more than 30% of the total expected to be requested by EU countries in the period 2021-2026.

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We are present where other banks do not reach

Our focus has always been on SMEs, where we have unique skills in the market and branches located in all areas of Romania, where other banks do not reach. We are well positioned in our relationship with our customers in several segments and we see that the bank is appreciated by its customers and they enjoy working with us. We are well positioned in the micro, SME and mid corporate segments, but also in the specialised sectors – medical and agriculture. Some of these will continue to benefit from public investments and European funds. We still have a significant gap with Western Europe in the medical sector – investments are needed and we have the know-how to help customers. In retail banking we have a few areas where we have reached network effects – BT Pay is the banking and payments app with most users in Romania, and STAR is the largest ecosystem of retailers and credit cards.

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We finance companies with long-term vision for sustainable development, well-defined goals

We expect economic activity to gain momentum next year. Our economists at UniCredit Bulbank forecast real GDP growth to accelerate to 2.9% year-on-year next year, as compared to 1.9% anticipated in 2023. We think that easing inflationary pressure would help private consumption growth to remain resilient, while, in the context of the persistent shortages of labour in almost every sector of the economy, real wages growth is set to accelerate next year, which bodes well for consumption.

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Facilitating access to financing remains our objective

The geopolitical tensions do not affect Banca Transilavania’s operations, considering that we are not present on the neighbouring market and that the Romanian banking system is not directly exposed to risks associated with the conflict in Ukraine. Of course, there is an impact when it comes to payables and receivables with the Russian Federation, as we must respect EU regulations pertaining to international sanctions but we try to responsibly manage the situation in such a way so that the effect on our customers is minimal. As for risk costs, they will increase, but not necessarily as a direct result of the situation in Ukraine, as there are cumulative recession signals coming from the U.S. and the Euro zone. In line with the requirements of the European Central Bank, credit risk management is a priority for us, together with the governance and the solidity of our business model.

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We focus on digitalisation, simplification of processes, growth of our people

As the market is really dynamic and moving faster than ever before in most of the industries, we at UniCredit Bulbank are dedicated to the constant improvement of the internal processes resulting in the enhancement and speed up of the services to the customers. This is a constant endeavour and it entails relevant investments and focus on a few aspects – the digitalisation, internal simplification of processes and growth of our most important asset – our people.

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We achieve our goals through innovation, tech, constant focus on client needs

When MFG group was founded in 2015 it included two business lines – home collected lending and alternative channels. Since then, the group grew a lot. If we consider only the credit cards, back in 2016 we had operations only in Bulgaria and only with the brand Biala Karta. Now we have successful businesses also in Romania, Poland and Spain. And we set up our business in the US, having an office in San Francisco. Also, in Bulgaria we added new card products such as Biala Karta Gold and A1 card. And we grew our
customer base from 40,000 to over 200,000 cardholders.

Matteo Rivellini

Green and digital transition, inclusive growth, common market at core of EIB’s 30 mln euro plan for W.Balkans

The COVID-19 pandemic and climate change have created global disruptions that need to be tackled simultaneously. A COVID-19 recovery without parallel success from climate action in limiting global temperature rises to below 2ºC will be pointless in the long run. A green recovery that is mindful of our need to prevent an environmental catastrophe is the only meaningful way forward. This will require the transformation of our lives and business practices, as the global economy will need to shift to a circular and sustainable model. This will be the most effective way to mitigate the impact of these two calamities and increase the economy’s resilience.

Raluca Popescu

ESG factors fully-integrated into our decision-making processes

Being a responsible leader in the corporate banking in Bulgaria, we strengthened further our focus on taking the digital banking services to the next level. Companies can take advantage of our e-solutions in the digital channels as well as in Bulbank Online and Bulbank Mobile. We have been developing and popularising further the Module for Online Securities Trading in Bulbank Online, which gives the individual clients opportunities to place orders and keep track of the securities and transactions from their personal wallet. Furthermore, we are proud with our Trade Finance Module in Bulbank Online which accepts easily corporate clients’ orders and all trade finance deals can be administrated completely online. The newest service developed by UniCredit Bulbank is the e-signing of documents – now legal entities have the opportunity to digitally sign (approve and send documents using QES* or the mobile app Evrotrust). For us it is important that Evrotrust, in their start-up phase, entrusted UniCredit in Bulgaria to support and help them grow. This is another proof of the important interdependence between fintech and financial institutions. This way we simplify and accelerate the process being more operationally effective paperless and maintaining a better traceability and archive of the documents. Easy, secure and time-saving.

Giorgi Shagidze

We plan to move on to new level of customer experience

MAIB is the largest bank in Moldova, accounting for around 30% of the country’s banking assets and around 35% of loans. MAIB provides 24.6% of all mortgage loans extended to Moldovans. MAIB booked an average 11.4% asset growth, 11.7% deposit growth and 8.9% profit growth in the last five years. The bank serves over 20% of Moldova’s population and is among the largest employers in the country. The bank is widely recognised for its customer service and product innovation.

top100banks

BCR cleans up balance sheet, eyes better results in 2015

Banca Comerciala Romana (BCR), a member of Erste Group since 2006, is Romania’s largest financial group. Besides universal banking operations, including retail, corporate and investment banking, treasury and capital markets, the group also provides leasing and asset management services, among others. BCR’s network includes more than 560 retail units, over 2,100 ATMs and 13,500 POS terminals.

top100banks

EBRD: Successful tackling of NPL levels will help boost lending in SEE

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) raised its investments in Southeast Europe, a region that has remained particularly vulnerable to the effects of problems in the eurozone, to around 1.65 billion euro in 2013 from 1.5 billion euro in 2012. In 2013, EBRD investments remained strong in Turkey, totalling around 920 million euro. In the Western Balkans and Croatia, the EBRD invested a record 1.2 billion euro in more than 80 projects in 2013.

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BSTDB to target multi-country projects, greater public sector engagement

The Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB) is an international financial institution established by Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine. Its headquarters are in Thessaloniki, in Greece. BSTDB supports economic development and regional cooperation by providing loans, credit lines, equity and guarantees for projects and trade financing in the public and private sectors in its member countries. The bank’s authorised capital is 3.45 billion euro. BSTDB is rated long-term “A-” by Standard and Poor’s and “A2” by Moody’s.