Martin Leberle, Chief Executive Officer of NLB Banka Ad Podgorica, Montenegro

The Future of Banking Will Not Be the Continuation of the Past

Montenegro will catch up with Western European standards within a very short period of time. NLB Banka is actively driving this process and is able to offer services and products – digital or analogue – that meet the ever-changing requirements

Martin Leberle

Montenegro is the youngest country in Europe. In the recent past, this relatively small economy has been marked by a very high number of commercial banks. According to NLB Banka AD Podgorica, Montenegro CEO Martin Leberle, “it can be said that the number of banks is significant even compared to other countries in the Western Balkans. Also, if in fact only a small number of banks dominate the local market, the efficiency of banking operations in a highly fragmented market remains a huge challenge.

The behavior and needs of our clients have changed tremendously during last years, and they will continue to change”. People are now connected worldwide, both electronically and physically, and the NLB CEO believes that Montenegro will catch up to the European level within a very short period of time. “NLB Banka is prepared for this and is able to offer services and products – digital or analogue – that meet the ever-changing requirements,” says Leberle, continuing: “in relations with Montenegrin retail and corporate clients, we will be the preferred bank to cater for all of their financial needs – bringing European expertise to the market.”

How do you see NLB’s development plans in this regard? How important is digitalization for your operations?

– The finance industry as a whole is very fast shifting into a new age of digital business and life. The future of banking will not be the continuation of the past. The challenge for all market participants in the financial sector is to be in a position to invest sufficiently in new technology and knowhow. Our clients have an ever-changing behavior related to the way they deal with their financial needs and their money. In order to meet their requirements banks need major investments into the future – into a new level of technology. NLB Banka, as a member of the NLB Group, has a clear advantage: we can share our resources for new developments through our large network of banks around the region. This gives us immediate access to innovative products and services, and to already proven solutions that have been conceived, designed and developed by other members of the NLB Group.

We at NLB understand that the most important aspect of our business is and remains the human factor. NLB is the bank with its head and heart in this region

However, despite the exponentially increasing consumer expectations and the continuous technological development of our lives, one area will always remain as the most important aspect of our business – the human factor! Our clients want to discuss important financial decisions in their lives with a competent and qualified person, not with a computer. Solving housing issues, financing a car purchase or investing money for a pension are situations in life where the human relationship with a banker remains irreplaceable! As NLB Group, we have been serving our clients across the Western Balkans for many, many years. We understand our clients and have built up high-quality relations and trust.

We are a group with our head and our heart in this region, not elsewhere. In addition to all innovations and developments in the digital age, this will remain our main strength. The scope and speed of evolution in regulation, customer behavior and technology mean that the future of banking will not be a continuation of the past. New technologies will transform banking as we know it, providing both opportunities and challenges for financial institutions.