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Boris Stević, Executive Board Chairman NLB Lease&Go Leasing d.o.o. Beograd

Champion Of Speed And Simplicity

Company NLB Lease&Go Leasing launched its operations in Serbia in December 2022, with the acquisition of Zastava Istrabenz Lizing, a company that had just six employees and a market share of less than 0.5%. Today, just a year later, the company has 32 employees and is in a good position, which is why its executive board chairman sees Serbia as a very important market with great growth potential

Data shows that in most developed countries of the EU, more than 40% of SMEs use leasing services, but Serbia is still far away from achieving those figures, – says Boris Stević, explaining that this is why we have to continue with educating the business sector and citizens about the advantages of financing through leasing and in general increase financial literacy.

NLB Lease&Go entered the Serbian market just a year ago. Are you satisfied with the way things are progressing?

— We are extremely satisfied with the operational results achieved in the first year. We succeeded in reaching a market share of 11% in new financing by the end of the third quarter, thereby joining the ranks of companies that have been operating here for many years. These positive outcomes are primarily a result of the work of a team of experienced individuals who managed – with their knowledge, dedication and motivation – to secure a good position for us in just the first year of operations.

We set out in the first year with financial leasing and received a license for representation in insurance, while next year we plan to enrich the offer with operational leasing.

The Association of Leasing Companies of Serbia (ALCS) announced recently that leasing has enabled investments of eight billion euros in Serbia over the past 20 years. How do these numbers seem to you? Do you view the future of your industry with a sense of optimism? — When we divide that total by 20 years, we arrive at a sum of approximately 400 million euros annually, which points to great growth potential. The leasing market is still very young and has a great potential in Serbia, especially when we compare it, for example, to Austria or Germany, where leasing has been present for more than half a century.

As we are part of NLB Group, we can share with you, that for instance Slovenian leasing market is twice as large as the same market in Serbia. The participation of private individuals is less than 10% here, while in Slovenia it stands at almost 50%. Plenty of room exists for the further development of leasing, and one of the things that must be resolved is the eliminating of VAT on interest, because that represents an additional cost for the client when it comes to buying a passenger vehicle. We would thus make leasing a more competitive product and enable a greater number of citizens to replace their outdated vehicle fleet.

DEVELOPMENT

Plenty of room exists for the further development of leasing, and one of the things that must be resolved is the elimination of VAT on interest, because that represents an additional cost for the client when it comes to buying a passenger vehicle

Do ESG policies and digitalisation fit into your business?

— Of course… ESG policy is very important for us, because leasing can – as a financial institution – support the green agenda in multiple ways: through the financing of projects for generating electricity from renewables and financing vehicles that emit lower levels of pollution. We adopted a policy of sustainably managing the vehicle fleet, so it is now mandatory for all companies operating within the NLB Group to use electric or hybrid vehicles. Apart from passenger vehicles, we’ve also financed the procurement of electric buses for city transport in Belgrade and thus reduced the level of pollution in the capital.

Just as we are committed to the green agenda, so we devote a lot of attention to digitalisation.Our parent company in Slovenia is very advanced when it comes to the development of digital services, so we have ambition to transfer those innovations also to our market as well. We aim to implement most of those services in Serbia, some already during next year. Looking to the long term, we want to develop the best possible position for ourselves on the Serbian market, to be recognised for the quality of our services and to occupy one of the leading positions. Our mission is to be focused on our clients and to become a champion of simplicity and speed and by that together with NLB Komercijalna banka offer wide portfolio of financial services and products.

What was the biggest challenge of entering the Serbian market?

— From my personal perspective, as someone who has long been present in the leasing industry, the challenges were related to the organising of the new company, the creation of a team and a strategy. From the perspective of NLB Group, the Serbian market has a strategic importance for the Group and therfore Serbia truly is in the main focus of the entire Group. Huge potential exists to further develop the leasing market in Serbia.

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