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Vladimir Bošković, Chairman Of The Executive Board, Sberbank Serbia

This Will Be An Exceptional Year

Sberbank Serbia has traditionally been a link and a bridge of partnership between the Republic of Serbia and the Russian Federation. And this is completely understandable, given that a large number of companies and enterprises in Serbia today export their products and services to Russia, or cooperate with Russian partners.

The entire Sber group has extremely liquid operations, which it is particularly important to highlight considering the difficulties caused by the pandemic. We’ve recorded excellent pay-outs in almost all segments over the previous months, says Sberbank Serbia CEO Vladimir Bošković, speaking for CorD.

Congratulations on your appointment. We cannot help but notice that the representatives of Sberbank Europe Group are confident that you and your team will contribute to further strengthening the market position and improving the bank’s business performance. What will be your starting point?

– We are about to face numerous challenges, but also some excellent market opportunities.

All of us here at Sberbank Serbia are committed to using our potential, experience and knowledge in the most efficient way possible in the coming period, in order to keep improving our business and strengthening our market position.

Sberbank Serbia and the entire Sber Group are today operating with strong liquidity, which is particularly important having in mind the difficulties caused by the pandemic. The high level of our business liquidity was highlighted once again by international ratings agency Fitch Ratings, which affirmed the investment rating of Sberbank Europe, as well as of all its members, at BBB-, thus confirming the fact that Sberbank’s business is today exceptionally stable, with remarkably good financial indicators.

In the first six months of this year, Sberbank Serbia delivered as much as 35% better financial and business results than had been initially projected for the first half of 2021. Over the past months, we’ve recorded excellent pay-outs, both in the retail and micro-client segment, and in the segment of small and medium-sized enterprises. As a result, it is already safe to say that, financially, 2021 will be our most successful year since we launched our operations in Serbia.

Sberbank was one of the three local banks that were the first to take part in the “My Banking Data” project

It is up to all of us to continue building the market image and strengthening our business. In the months ahead, the bank will continue the rationalisation and further optimisation of its operations, the efficient digitalisation of all services and the creation of even more attractive offers for all clients.

I expect that, until year’s end, Sberbank Serbia will continue providing excellent business loans with a government-backed guarantee. By the beginning of August, our bank has already disbursed and approved around 160 million euros as part of this programme. Our market share in the programme stands at more than seven per cent.

Sberbank was one of the three local banks that were the first to take part in the “My Banking Data” project. By working jointly with the Serbian Government, the National Bank of Serbia, the Office for Information Technologies and E-government, and the Association of Serbian Banks, our bank has enabled its clients, through this project, to submit their documentation and required data for a loan application electronically, i.e., in digital format, through the E-government website, eUprava. This is a big step forward for all of us, and a significant benefit for clients that will save them a lot of time while helping them get the loan they desire faster than ever before.

You are widely regarded as a highly committed manager, with a constant focus on building team spirit and employee development. What type of people do you seek?

– Sberbank Serbia has always been composed of extraordinary professionals and employees who are truly committed to their work. The bank’s executive board, chaired by Marijana Vasilescu, spent years building this team. And I, as the new chairman, have inherited a bank where business relations are harmonious and all teams are well coordinated.

It is up to all of us to continue encouraging the further development of employees at Sberbank Serbia, to keep motivating and inspiring them to continue with their professional development and enhance their prospects. Considering the fact that nowadays one part of our team comes to the bank while the other works from home, I believe it will be important to maintain a high level of commitment, unity and motivation of all our employees in the period ahead.

I firmly believe that the key to a company’s sustainable development and successful operations is the knowhow of its employees. With this in mind, we have launched a project named “Sberbank Route to Knowledge” (“Sberbank put znanja”), with the aim of encouraging the development of our employees’ general and specific knowledge, through formal education and the practical application of the acquired skills and knowledge.

As part of this initiative, we will engage in a number of interesting programmes, such as “Talents” (“Talenti”) and “Exceptional” (“Izuzetni”), the Sberbank Internship Programme, as well as our Sberbank Academy. The aim of these programmes is to provide our promising colleagues with an opportunity to advance their professional development, but also to show them that we, as their employer, truly appreciate and recognise their efforts, results and achievements. I am confident that, thanks to this project, we will succeed in maintaining our excellent staff potential, increase the satisfaction of both employees and clients and, consequently, ensure the long-term development of our business. For our executive board, and for me personally, this is one of the priorities on the journey of further development.

I firmly believe that the key to a company’s sustainable development and successful operations is the knowhow of its employees

Sberbank is a kind of a link between Serbia and Russia, between companies from the two countries. Do you see any room for more advanced cooperation between them, and do you have a vision of how your bank could contribute to that?

Our strategic direction is to provide all Serbian companies that plan to establish cooperation with partners in Russia, or that are already doing so, with the most comprehensive support and innovative services, and to help them maximise the benefits of such partnerships. The best proof of this is the fact that more than 20 per cent of our companies’ inflows based on exports to Russia are performed through Sberbank Serbia.

Our bank will continue to organise various gatherings and conferences in the coming period, with the mission of providing opportunities for members of the Serbian and Russian business communities to come together, get to know each other and possibly consider business cooperation. Over the course of this year, Sberbank Serbia and Sberbank Russia have already organised one such conference, where local food companies presented their products and export opportunities to representatives of Russia’s largest supermarket chain, X5. This is an excellent way to establish initial contact, as it was precisely thanks to one such meeting that Modital, a company operating as part of the famous Italian Pompea Group, now exports its products – primarily socks – to Russia, which they market through the X5 trade network.

Sberbank Serbia offers a product that could be of particular interest to local enterprises and companies looking to establish cooperation with Russian partners – factoring. Our bank’s share in the total value of factoring services on the Serbian market is growing month-onmonth, which is a strong indicator that a growing number of companies recognise the advantages of this service and use them ever-more frequently, along with the numerous benefits provided by factoring in their everyday operations.

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