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Marija Popović, Member Of The Mobi Banka Executive Board

The National Bank Reacts Best When It Matters Most

Mobi Banka has enabled the purchase of more than 750,000 modern devices for hundreds of thousands of Serbian citizens.

The Serbian banking sector was one of the first sectors in the country to enter the digital transformation process, and it has been shown during the COVID-19 Pandemic that these investments were invaluable, for the banks themselves, but first and foremost also for their users.

Here we discuss these developments with Mobi Banka Executive Board Member Marija Popović.

Your bank has been a leader in the digital transformation of the banking sector. What is your next step when it comes to the digitalisation of your services and business processes?

I would single out the pilot project created in partnership with the Government of Serbia and the National Bank called “My data for the bank”. This service is accessed via the eGovernment portal and allows customers to automatically collect all data required to apply for cash loans and other products, at no additional cost, and with great savings on time.

In addition to making banking more convenient, this project is a huge leap in the digitalisation of banking in Serbia, for which we must thank the ambitious and agile agenda of the Government and the National Bank of Serbia. It is up to us to implement this project as well as possible, which I believe we will manage to do, bearing in mind that all the foundations have already been laid.

Where is your niche market in the growing banking sector?

Our niche is mostly young people who take care of themselves and their families and don’t have much time to spare. Essentially, anybody who appreciates the charm of having a “bank in their pocket” at any time of day or night. Mobile banking has certainly become much more important during the global pandemic, but its long-term appeal is convenience. And we have been a mobile bank since our very inception, the very first in the region. Our services represent a synergy of telecommunications and banking, thanks to our extremely close cooperation with Telenor, with which we are part of the same PPF group.

Our services represent a synergy of telecommunications and banking, thanks to our extremely close cooperation with Telenor, with which we are part of the same PPF group

What are the most important advantages of strategic cooperation with Telenor for you?

The services we provide are complementary in every sense, and the partnership is largely realised through programmes for the financing and sale of mobile devices and related equipment, but also the opening of new channels through partnerships with Telenor retail chains. We have to date provided credit for the purchase of more than 750,000 modern devices for hundreds of thousands of people in the total amount of 228 million euros, which is an invaluable benefit for the citizens of Serbia, but also provides great impetus to the further digitalisation of the country.

This would not have been possible without the decision of the National Bank of Serbia to provide cash loans of up to 90,000 dinars based on customers income self-declaration. This statement has become a valid document, making life easier for people, but also recognising that they can be trusted. And the people repaid this trust with more trust.

So, you positively asses your experience with the National Bank and the regulatory framework?

Absolutely! The National Bank reacted and continues to react in the best way possible when it matters the most for citizens. Although this decision is part of a package of measures aimed at addressing the coronavirus crisis, we hope that it will remain after the crisis abates. We also believe that the amount could be increased to enable people to afford the latest generation digital devices, tablets, phones and computers. We say this based on our own data, which has shown over the course of the past year that this product carries the lowest possible risk while providing the greatest possible benefits.

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