TBI Bank Wrap-Up
08.04.2020 Share +
Back in December we told you that TBI Bank’s Wrap-Up will switch to a quarterly format as we want to set the ground for new initiatives. Well, we didn’t have in mind exactly the kind of rearrangement of our lives that we had to go through in the last month or so, but who did?!
We know that a lot of things changed in the last few weeks and currently no one knows how long this “new normal” will last. Is it going to be the norm in the next months or years? However, regardless of all the adjustments we are all going through, we’ve decided a long time ago that it is important to share with you what we’ve been working on. Because even in tough times one thing is a constant – we at TBI Bank are trying to do our utmost to make the lives of our customers better.
So, please, save a few minutes of your time for the summary of our first three months in 2020. We promise to be to the point, transparent and honest as always.
TBI Bank’s Wrap-Up Q1
What we achieved
We are adapting fast…
If you’ve been following us in the last few years, you might have heard one of our main mantras: Our efficient business model gives us the financial stability to invest in innovations, while our agile structure and decision-making help us adopt quickly to the needs of our customers. These very same qualities help us cope with the current challenge. Knowing that the situation is very dynamic and sensitive, we are also aware of the huge responsibility we carry. So, оur branches continue working as usual. We try to create a safe environment for our customers and employees. We are focusing on strengthening multiple digital channels in order to run our core business – and, as you will see below, quickly develop new ones. Our new platform for online loan repayments is a great example of that. We also try to answer any questions that might arise. Last but not least, we are supporting the real heroes working day and night in the hospitals for the wellbeing of our societies and recently made a donation for the health systems in Bulgaria and Romania. And we know that no matter how tough the challenge will be, we will go through it together.
… and we will always stand by you
Currently, some of our customers may face economic challenges – they will still be able to rely on our support in these difficult times. Not only we follow all regulatory requirements, but our teams in Bulgaria and Romania are proactively approaching both our retail and business clients with custom-made solutions. We are proposing grace periods for loan repayments or even restructuring and refinancing. So far, we’ve received a lot of positive feedback from our customers and are glad to understand that the trustful and honest relationships we’ve build with them over the years are mutually appreciated.
SEPA Instant is here
Probably most people working outside the financial sector have never heard about the SEPA Instant payment scheme. It allows real time money transfers between EU-based banks. And when we say real time, we’re talking seconds. So, needless to say how proud we were, when in January 2020 we became the first bank not only in Bulgaria and Romania, but in whole Southeast Europe to join SEPA Instant. Moreover, we were the first institution entrusted to do so by the central Bank of Lithuania, one of the driving forces of fintech innovation in Europe. It was a hell of an effort from a big team of colleagues who worked day and night and weekend after weekend to make it happen. But now that it works, our clients should be happy. They can receive SEPA transfers around the clock, in any day of the week. So that’s the kind of things we mean, when we say we invest in cutting edge technologies for the ever-changing needs of our customers.
Welcome, Kari and Denis
The experts say one of the outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic will be that we will be relying on technology much more – the digital transformation, in other words, will be accelerated. As you know, we are very much aware of the importance of technology, but what does it bring if we don’t have the right people with the right mindset to unleash the capabilities of the digital world. So, we are very glad to welcome aboard two new leaders at TBI Bank, both capable of nurturing our digital journey. Our new CMO Karolina Sofronieva, or just Kari, joins us from Vivus, our little brother, with amazing skillset and wide expertise. Our new CPO Denis Brodsky, or just Denis B, has an international background one could be proud of – and a YouTube channel where you can learn a lot about the trends in management. Kari and Denis are already leaving a mark at TBI Bank with their work, and that only after a few months. Needless to say, our long-term expectations are now veeery high.
Event masters from Berlin to Sofia
This now sounds like a story from a completely other world, but it wasn’t that long ago when hundreds of people used to gather in big halls to listen to the masters in their field sharing wisdom, knowledge and expertise. All industry events around the world are now stopped and that is what we need to do. But back in February plenty of events happened and we’ve made highlights at two of them. First, Petr Baron, CEO of TBIF (TBI Bank) gave a presentation at Merchant Payments Ecosystem, Europe's largest payment conference, in Berlin. He shared TBI Bank's cutting-edge Merchant Solutions vision with the audience and later joined a panel with representatives of Google and Hugo Boss. A week after, while opening Sofia FinTech Summit, the largest FinTech event in Central and Eastern Europe, the host referred to our Strategic view presentation from 2019’s event. Not that this was our only contribution to the event. Petr Baron was among the top panelists and spoke about what really matters in order to make the vision of digital transformation real. Why don’t you see yourselves.
Where we failed
A perfect mobile app takes time
Let’s start with the good news – after months of hard work and internal testing, our mobile app has already hit the App Store and Google Play Store. It’s far from perfect yet, but very soon it will be. Currently, we are inviting selected loyal customers to test it and share their feedback. In the next weeks and months, we’ll be opening the app for a larger group of people and adding more and more functionalities. Why did we decide to go ahead with a rough version? Well, it already took us a long time to launch it and since the demand for more and more digital products is growing, we had to start somewhere. If we had to wait until every feature is flawless this might have taken too much. Now that real customers use the app, the internal push to make it perfect is even higher. So, stay tuned, we’ll be revealing more and more details on the app shortly. It also goes without saying that your feedback will be highly appreciated.
New branches are underway
This was supposed to be our major news of the first three months – we are in the process of expanding our physical footprint. In the beginning of the year we started opening new branches both in Bulgaria and Romania, while in parallel rebranding our already existing network. Our plans were massive – more than 50 new locations were to be opened by the end of the first half of 2020. Few weeks back we were on the right track with 30 branches either rebranded or launched. Adopting to the new business realities meant that this major project has been put on hold. Hopefully we will be sharing some better news in the near future.
All hail, our new brand architecture
How to change the way we represent TBI Bank’s brand to our customers cannot be an easy task or a quick fix. So, a group of 50 colleagues led by Co_Consultancy, a top UK company that has rebranded a lot of businesses over the world, has been working on our solution for almost 6 months. Now we have the result and very soon will be sharing with you how our ‘phygital family’ will look like in the future. Spoiler alert! In line with the global trends our Merchant Solutions will be positioned as an alternative payment method under the name of TBI Pay. Did we disclose too much? Probably :) But that’s only the beginning, more and more information will come over the next months.
Last but not least, dear readers, we want to reassure you that our common first and most important goal is to keep everyone safe – our customers, thousands of employees, our families and loved ones and our societies. In these crazy days, we are really doing our best to protect everyone. Shields were installed on every TBI client facing location – branches, remote working stations, the receptions in our headquarters. Masks were distributed among all our employees (this is a longer story, but due to the shortage of masks in Romania, we were able to legally arrange a delivery from Bulgaria). Our offices are disinfected multiple times a day.
Keep yourself safe! We will go through this together.