Banks accept the challenge of fintech companies: Valentin Galabov, Chairman of the Board of TBI Bank, talks to Your Business magazine

04.10.2018    Share +

Banks accept the challenge of fintech companies: Valentin Galabov, Chairman of the Board of TBI Bank, talks to Your Business magazine

The Chairman of TBI Bank's Board of directors, Valentin Galabov, gave an interview for Your Business magazine, where he talked about banks and their special relationship with new tech. The interview stresses the importance of fintech for the banking sector and gives insight into TBI Bank’s unique selling points on the market.

If you’re keen to read a comprehensive write-up about what’s the main decision-making aspect when it comes to TBI Bank’s products and services, how we go about the digital era and what sets us apart from the competition, check out the full interview below.


Mr. Galabov, what are the changes in banking institutions, viewed as relatively conservative today, considering the encroachment of digital technologies, particularly digital revolution?

Banks accept the challenge of the digital revolution, especially those of the fintech companies. The process develops in two directions – both in terms of internal processes in banks and their products. All services that are subject to digitization and reducing the physical presence of banking institutions are becoming more and more accessible and easy, providing 24/7 customer access. Therefore, those who are able to meet the customers' expectations will have the best chance of retaining their position on the market and attracting new customers. Conservatism, of course, is inherent in banking institutions in terms of risk management, but on the other hand, digitization of products and processes is a must for the new era of banking. At TBI Bank, these processes are already running, digitization is in the core of our customer relationships. We are working on developing and implementing fast, simple electronic financial products and services with online access. This is applicable to both new and existing products and services in our portfolio.

In accordance with this, do customers change the way they communicate, search and use banking services?

It turns out that a large part of the younger generation feel much more comfortable if they have access via their own computer or telephone and do not need the physical presence of an employee of the credit institution. Not only do they not look for it, but it burdens them. It is clear to us that every next generation is more and more acquainted with technology, which makes banks even more focused on this direct contact through relevant applications for client interaction and communication. Time is the limit for people accustomed to working with apps, chatbots, robots, and etc. directly through their mobile phone. Today we do not even have to open our notebook or tablet, we need a smartphone to do whatever we need, even in terms of financial services. Communication is a great challenge from the point of view of the target groups we serve. On one hand, we need to meet the needs of our clients who are retirees, with the respective habits and ways of communicating with our bank. At the same time, we develop product applications for younger generations and strive to be perceived by them as a fresh, modern, digital bank.

How does TBI Bank enter this digital age?

We have invested in a new generation of non-traditional process management systems, fintech applications that need to meet this trend in a timely manner. We are oriented towards retail banking, and this still requires switching to online-based services for consumers who are equally quick to transform their way of consumption. We emphasize the launch of new products in Bulgaria and Romania. Last year, we launched an online deposit platform in Romania and in this year, we started taking deposits in Germany through digital channels. On the Romanian market we launched the first online credit product with video identification and electronic signature - our customers can now get an online commercial credit in a matter of minutes. It is time we launched such innovations on the Bulgarian market as well. Online credits for small businesses also come in Bulgaria. These are just some of the things we are planning to respond to the growing demand for innovative digital solutions on both markets.

What are the strongest positions of TBI Bank in terms of product offering?

Consumer credits at retail outlets, in the online stores, consumer loans through the web application, where in a short time, sometimes only in a couple of minutes, the client can get the financing they need. We are trying to create this opportunity for our customers. All services that so far have required a customer to visit a bank branch should also be available through a desktop or mobile phone. With a visualization and an electronic signature, every person can identify themselves, operate their bank account, and get the online service they are looking for. We believe that convenience is a basic feature of the financial services we provide, including credit. That is the reason the bank now wants to be a click away from each of its clients. In our case, we have the advantage of not carrying this "heavy backpack" - with a huge number of offices, habits, investment in the old banking model. This enables us to be flexible with, insistent and focused on the rapid digitization of all services.

How difficult or fast enough is a client available to get credit from the bank? How restrictive are you?

It is not about restrictiveness, but about normal risk management. Appropriate risk assessment models are a key factor for banks' competitiveness. Today's processes are getting faster and at the bank we are working on an application that offers credit over the phone in minutes. Everyone who has normal creditworthiness can get credit. In short, we provide funding to those who have the opportunity to pay their credit. Because the opposite is unhealthy for both the lending institution and the borrower. Reliability, security, predictability are enduring features of a financial institution. This is the definition and we strive to keep it.

How do you attract and retain the talent you need?

The higher the goals of efficiency, speed and quality of services and products, the the more we need wiser and more focused people. The main purpose of an organization is to find, develop and maximize growth. We place a strong emphasis on attracting the best international and local talented and innovation experts, people with the relevant skills and knowledge, enthusiasm to go the way of the transformation requested, and the bank-targeted profile.

TBI Bank is a company that also values young people’s potential. They have the knowledge of the changing world, they live with its dynamics, they are flexible. We strive to attract them, to work together, to create products they are looking for. With the new vision for development and digitization, we give them a unique chance to participate in the development of innovative online and mobile solutions and services. Young people do not like the routine processes, they look for something new every day. This makes them go for such companies. The attraction of innovative and creative leadership in the process of digitization also attracts people motivated in their career.

Can we, as consumers, be sure that banks protect our personal data and our money? Nowadays we talk more and more about Cloud services, and consumers’ fears of it interfering with their personal life and space are stronger than ever.

Banks do their best to protect the virtual space. They also follow the "General Data Protection Directive" (GDPR). Banks are amongst the most regulated institutions, they try to apply those technologies that would guarantee the utmost protection of consumers.

Each bank does the maximum in this direction. When it comes to money and their personal data, people want to be as safe as possible.


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