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Violeta Jovanović, Executive Director Of NALED

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Predrag Mihajlović, President Of The Executive Board At OTP Banka Srbija And Executive Sponsor Of The Integration Project Of Vojvodjanska Banka And OTP Banka Srbija, And President Of The Board Of Directors Of The Association Of Serbian Banks

Leaders In Serbia And In The Region

As of May this year OTP banka and Vojvodjanska banka will continue operations as one large OTP banka, completing the most complex integration conducted in the domestic and regional financial market. This will confirm OTP Group’s strategic move to form the leading banking institution in Serbia

Working on integration in the conditions of a global pandemic is a great challenge which we have taken up primarily thanks to teamwork, the commitment of all our colleagues and our continuous investment in digital transformation, Mr Mihajlović proudly points out.

The OTP Group in Serbia is operating through OTP Banka and Vojvodjanska Banka, which are being integrated. How difficult is it to achieve such remarkable results in a pandemic?

We have increased our market share in all segments; at the end of 2020, total net loans of both banks stood at EUR 3.7 billion with an annual loan growth of around 15% which is a EUR 500 million increase over last year. We now have a market share exceeding 17%, and our new integrated bank will be the first in Serbia in corporate and retail lending. The retail operations segment realised an annual growth exceeding 17%, with a 40% growth in housing loans on an annual basis and a market share in housing loans over 21%, while the market share of cash loans is over 20%. Operations in the corporate segment also achieved an annual growth of 13%, while the market share in this segment is over 16%. What is important is that we listened to the needs and strove to provide all necessary support to our clients, which is supported by the fact that we have approved more than EUR 259 million through the guarantee scheme to date.

OTP Group is recognized as a pioneer in innovation and digitalization, which is one of the priorities of the Serbian Government. To what extent did this facilitate operations during the pandemic and how much did this mean to your clients?

It has absolutely facilitated and confirmed as accurate our decisions to invest significant resources into digital transformation and encourage innovation. Within two weeks we managed to transfer more than 80% of our staff to work from home, without decreasing efficiency at any point.

The 48-day state of emergency led to an 80% growth in the use of our digital services compared to the previous period

The 48-day state of emergency led to an 80% growth in the use of our digital services compared to the previous period. The number of our digital clients increased by over 60% and the growth of online credit sales by more than 40%. By using the m-bank and e-bank applications, our clients can do much more than transaction banking, have the opportunity to obtain cash loans, overdrafts, mCard, insurance… We have also introduced an important novelty for our users of the IOS operating system in the form of payment via APPLE PAY.

Eliminating excessive red tape in foreign exchange operations is one of the ten priority recommendations of NALED’s Grey Book. Why is it important that the National Bank of Serbia implements this recommendation as soon as possible?

NBS is in fact a generator of innovation in the banking sector, so without their important role no bank would be able to introduce instant payments or IPS code payments. So I think this recommendation, which is important for our sector, will also be implemented in the near future. And this is important because an additional reduction of red tape in executing orders would enable the automation and shortening of the process, and the application of modern channels for receiving and sending orders, i.e. digitalization in this domain of operations. The foreign exchange segment would thus be adjusted to bank clients with significantly greater opportunities to apply the latest trading methods and instruments, easier access to other countries’ markets and faster collection, which is the essential goal of these recommendations.

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