FIRST BANK focuses on future growth
FIRST BANK’s Board of Directors approved the bank’s strategic directions for 2019.
The bank will accelerate the process of digitalization, will redesign its internal processes in order to support the integration of new technologies while aiming to increase market share both organically through launch of streamlined products and through possible acquisitions.
7.5 million euro investments for technology and data
In order to respond to the fast changes in clients’ life style and requirements, the bank will invest 7.5 million euro in technology and data, while it will build the internal capabilities to support the new operations with appropriate, more efficient, faster and smoother processes.
Digitalization investments aim at redesign the existing processes, configuring business intelligence services that will contribute to reducing process times with an expected 50% but also to reducing response times in terms of customer requests. The digitalization solutions will be gradually implemented, tested and analyzed and will become operational within 20 months.
“Our customers expect more and more to be able to do banking anytime and anywhere. Having a mobile banking application available is the most expected feature today, before having an ATM or a branch in proximity, for example. In Western Europe the segment of public which pays less than one visit to the bank branch per annum, reached last year around 20% of the client base and is rising quickly. We want to meet these expectations and to shape an organization with enough flexibility and vision to anticipate and adapt to the fast changing pace of our clients preferences. At the same time, we want to assure our clients that our consultants will always remain available for them whenever they need counseling and advice that transcends technology’s capabilities. ” said Dominic Bruynseels, Executive President of FIRST BANK.
Processes redesign aiming to offer clients the best balance between tech and human touch
More than 70% of banks at global level are also indicating their priority focus on increasing their capabilities to ensure customer centric banking solutions. The trend is shaping the banking industry which needs to quickly integrate new services to respond to the challenges coming from Fintech companies covering partial banking services.
“We do want to exploit more the possibilities offered by automatization of some processes and the smart use of data so that we respond better to our clients’ needs and we will combine this with a special dedicated Mobile Customer Sales Force who will offer advice and guidance. We saw that our clients still need human interaction when they need personalized products or solutions.” said Dominic Bruynseels explaining the bank strategy.
The company will consolidate a Mobile Customer Sales Force approximately 150 persons in the next months.
The processes redesign will involve work flows changes, organization structural re-shape to avoid redundant activities and a revisiting of the network structure. Based on work that takes into account the profitability of the branches and the potential for business development in the areas where they are present some of the branches will be merged and some will be closed, while adequate staff reduction both in network and Headquarter is planned.
For the next 6 months all these processes will develop in parallel and it is expected that the new shape of the bank will emerge in Q3 2019. The first new solutions based on digitalization and technologies will be launched during Q3 and Q4 2019 and the full digitalization driven processes to be finalized during 2020.
About FIRST BANK
Based in Bucharest, First Bank provides a broad range of products and services targeting both domestic and international customers, including retail, SME and corporate banking services.
First Bank operates through 100 branches, 1200 professionals and has approximately 130,000 active clients.
About J.C. Flowers & Co.
J.C. Flowers & Co. is a leader in private equity investment services specializing in global investments in the financial services industry. Founded in 1998, J.C. Flowers & Co. has invested more than $15 billion in 53 portfolio companies across 18 countries, in many sub-sectors of the financial industry, including banking, insurance, reinsurance, specialized financial services and asset management services. JC Flowers & Co. manages assets worth approximately $6 billion and has offices in New York and London.
For more information, please visit www.jcfco.com.
Bucharest, March 4th, 2019