During the six years that Jelena Galić has been the CEO and head of the executive board, AIK Bank has grown both organically and through acquisitions on the domestic market and around the region. It has developed to become one of Serbia’s systemically important banks, contributing greatly to the stability of the entire financial system
Positive opportunities and outcomes are created through consistency, transparency and perseverance, coupled with joint commitment, care for people and the environment, and expanding boundaries of thinking and acting. These are the values that I and my team believe in ~ notes Ms Galić, who recently received two flattering awards.
The end of the year, a period when financial results and market position are summarised, is fast approaching. Are you satisfied with 2020 and the period you’ve spent as AIK Bank CEO?
– During these six years that I’ve headed the executive board, our bank has become a systemically important bank on the domestic market, increasing its assets to over two billion euros. It was during this period that AIK Bank became the first domestic bank to enter the market of the European Union through the acquisition of Slovenia’s Gorenjska Bank, thus becoming a stable banking group with assets exceeding four billion euros. The group’s financial and business indicators are significantly above the average of the domestic and regional banking market, with realised ROE of 31%, ROA of 6%, a 19% share of capital in the balance sheet total and a strong deposit base exceeding three billion euros, which represents a strong foundation for further strengthening our market position.
With the developing and expanding of cooperation through a regional approach, benefits can be achieved not only within the banking sector, but also in the real sector of the economy, thereby ensuring the accelerated economic growth and development of the entire region.
We are turned towards the future and continuously introducing new, innovative services and offers, because the satisfaction of our clients represents the basic focus of our business. AIK Bank’s chief aspiration in the period ahead will be to create products and services that are in accordance with the needs and preferences of clients.
You have faced many challenging situations during your career, but we’re certain that none of them have been like the continuing pandemic. How is your bank dealing with all aspects of COVID-19?
– With the aim of protecting the health of employees and ensuring the normal functioning of companies during the state of emergency, we focused on the continuity of our customer service. The basic goal was to protect all employees and clients, while simultaneously ensuring the smooth provision of services. We strengthened hygienic protection measures and disinfection, enabled “remote work” (i.e. work from home), maximally strengthened and additionally secured all digital services aimed at protecting clients from potential operational risks. In all banking activities, measures tailored to clients have been taken both with households and with corporate clients, especially in those sectors that have been hardest hit by this crisis, in coordination with public authorities.
The measures taken have been implemented successfully, resulting in a stable health situation within the organisation and the smooth running of regular activities without operational incident. During these times of crisis, it was once again confirmed that the most important things are solidarity, mutual support and a unifying team spirit.
In accordance with our adopted digital transformation strategy, we continue implementing projects that increase the availability of products
AIK Bank is recognised as one of the leaders in providing innovative and modern services. What innovations have you introduced during the previous period?
– We were among the first banks on the local market to implement an e-commerce service that allows users to take advantage of advanced e-business systems. We continuously upgrade existing applications and processes in order to provide clients with a better and faster user experience. In accordance with our adopted digital transformation strategy, we are continuing to implement projects that have a direct positive impact on the availability of a large number of products to clients 24/7, both through our network of branches and in the online environment via digital communication channels. Our desire is to automate and sell products, and to make them available through online channels, alongside numerous background services and processes related to daily banking operations.
Our clients in electronic and mobile banking applications can today access required funds with just a few clicks, sign a contract through dual-factor authentication and receive funds on their account. The whole process takes less than 10 minutes. We offer online lending with the digital signing of contracts without the need to go to a branch, “online savings”, while we also have an “online on boarding” service.
We’ve also implemented a project for instant payments with a QR code at points of sale, which speeds up transactions and transfers of funds, at lower costs than when using payment cards. Within our branches we’ve provided 24/7 accessibility for self-service zones of multifunctional devices that support payments or withdrawals in local and foreign currencies, payments of bills, payments in instalments, transfer orders, access to electronic banking etc. There is also our network of “smart safes”, which allows anyone wanting to deposit funds to have those funds available in real time on their account.
Your company represents an organisation with pronounced corporate social responsibility. What did your CSR focus on this year?
– During last year and this, we allocated significant funds for healthcare institutions, medical equipment, the treatment of children etc. We’ve provided significant support to the green economy, to young people for the development of startups and in education, including the Mathematical Grammar School in Belgrade, which stands out due to the exceptional achievements of its students, the development of women’s entrepreneurship and the active participation of women in socially important projects.
Could AIK Bank have achieved all of these great results without industrious, dedicated and motivated employees and great leaders like you?
– In my professional endeavours I’ve always strived to push the boundaries, to encourage partners and colleagues to face challenges by working together with consistency, transparency and perseverance. A good leader is characterised by the strength of vision to move ahead of their own time, the flexibility to be open to different approaches and the wisdom to make intelligent choices. And, finally, a no less important quality of a good leader is a commitment to people and the environment, and for me that care for people and the environment is precisely one of the key elements of success.
Our team is characterised by its uniqueness, commitment to innovation, openness and the shifting of boundaries in terms of both thinking and acting. We endeavour to learn and acquire new knowledge and skills every day, to invest in the development of our own capacities. On the development path it is essential to have innovation, openness and transparency. That is the foundation of certainty and sustainability, which is crucial in all undertakings, from the operational to the strategic level, which ensures the trust of partners, clients and employees.