While “Yugonostalgics” associate the name of JUBMES Bank with some “good old times”, for today’s clients the name of this bank means reliability and efficiency. In this interview for CorD, JUBMES Bank CEO Miloš Vujnović, Ph.D., responds extremely directly to the first question about serious banking competition as a “danger”.
– Considering our specific business concept, a highly competitive financial market is not necessarily a limiting factor for the Bank’s future prospects. Determined as we are to continue our tradition as an efficient bank, a large market share does not represent the primary business goal, but rather serving a market segment that primarily values commitment and the quality of services provided, whether those clients are corporate or private individuals. We are a small bank, which is why every client is in our focus, with an emphasis on fast and efficient services complemented by support in the form of providing advisory services. On the other hand, contemporary banking trends, such as digitalisation and online services, provides a chance for banks without a branch network, like ours, to make their products available to a larger number of potential clients.
When it comes to regulations in Serbia, as well as their harmonisation with those of the European Union, to what extent do changes in banking legislation move towards easing banking sector operations?
– The regulations governing banks operations are becoming more complex and demanding year after year, primarily in the reporting segment. As such solutions are primarily a result of harmonisation with the regulations governing the operations of banks within the EU, instead of relaxing them, we can probably expect movement from the concept of presenting traditional reports towards delivering complex databases from which central regulators will be able to process data themselves. Considering that efficiency in the process of collecting receivables is extremely important to banks, the regulatory changes in this domain in recent years represent a significant step forward and form the basis for reducing the burden of non-performing exposures on banks’ balance sheets. This is reflected through an eased restructuring process, sales, but also write-offs of non-performing exposures with tax treatment, which has been limiting factor in the previous period.
Determined as we are to continue our tradition as an efficient bank, a large market share does not represent the primary business goal, but rather serving a market segment that primarily values commitment and the quality of services provided
JUBMES banka has been operating for almost four decades. Which period in the operations of JUBMES represents the most challenging period for you as a banker?
– For almost a decade and a half, which is how long I have been employed with the Bank, changes like the continuous modernisation of operations have been driven by market conditions, but also partly by the specific position and inheritance of the Bank from the period of the export credit agency.
After many years of stable operations, during 2013-2015 period, extremly unfavourable trends were present in the Bank. These trends were primarily reflected in a decreased volume of placements with clients and an NPL rate significantly above the banking sector average. The growth of NPLs and the Bank’s extremely high losses in this period resaulted in a significant reduction of Bank’s capital. All this is the reason why the beginning of 2016 was the most challenging period for the Bank. Activities undertaken to address unfavourable trends and to turn the financial situation in which the bank found itself around, were implemented successfully and resulted in the diversification and growth of the portfolio of commercial placements with clients and deposits of individuals to the highest level historically, with the level of NPLs falling below the market average – and all of that while maintaining the liquidity and capital adequacy of the bank at the top of the banking sector.