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EDITORIAL

Dear colleagues,

What a couple of weeks it’s been. We all know that November is the most intense business period with Black Friday coming up and all the preparations for the upcoming year. And let’s not even mention all the pressure to arrange the Christmas presents on time (yes, yes, we all do it last minute despite all the good intentions).

But for us these past weeks have been more than exciting. As you all know, TBI Bank has agreed on acquiring a stake from the advanced Norwegian digital Monobank. It’s a niche bank focusing on consumer finance which has grown successfully and profitably since its establishment in 2015. In the future we will share best practices and learnings with our colleagues in Norway, and move even faster towards our goal to become the next generation digital lender.

And there was the launch of MCA – an innovative lending product targeting e-merchants. Here we speak to Alexandru Cosma – one of the driving forces of the project. He tells us more about the solution and being the team player that he is – he also gives credit to the whole team of colleagues involved.

A bunch of talented students spent a day at the Sofia HQ as part of the Manager for a Day initiative – it was great to see the sparkle in their eyes but also the passion of our mentor colleagues. We participated in yet another great conference – Retail in Detail – you’ll learn more about it and also see a video from our speaker Laura Vizir if you scroll down.

Stay tuned and enjoy the read!

Yours,
Internal Communications & Corporate Communications

TOP FLOOR

TBI Bank acquires the minority stake in Norwegian digital bank Monobank ASA

Hot news from 4finance: our mother company announced that it has issued more than €6 billion in online loans since the Group was established in 2008.

This latest milestone is a strong indication of 4finance’s scale and focuses on its customers. It demonstrates 4finance’s commitment to responsible lending and the Group’s ability to deliver growth while simultaneously transforming its product mix.

Oyvind Oanes, CEO of 4finance who we also featured recently on TBI Inside issue, commented: “This milestone signals the scale of the opportunity ahead of us. Given our reach and experience, we are uniquely positioned to build a global online/mobile consumer finance business with a focus on the underserved and near-prime segments. We see substantial potential across our markets as we continue to develop our advanced technology and product offering, led by in-depth data analysis. Surpassing €6 billion loans reflects our position as one of Europe’s largest online and mobile consumer lenders and comes at an exciting point in our development.”

Shout out to all who liked/shared/commented on the LinkedIn post. That’s a wink-wink for those who haven’t just yet.

Guest Editor’s Corner

The merit of MCA is a collective one

We are very happy with the recent launch of our new innovative product Merchant Cash Advance. MCA is a fully digital financing solution that provides quick and easy financing to entrepreneurs with a focus on the e-commerce industry.

What problem does it solve? Online merchants are generally not asset-intensive companies and have difficulties to bring hard collateral for a conventional loan. They have however a strong intangible asset – their cash inflows, which are relatively predictable in the future. Based on this concept, we take a risk on their future estimated inflows and offer them up to 85% of those sales in the present. Once the advance is granted to the merchant, we retain a pre-agreed percentage of each credit card payment the merchant receives from their clients, until the full assigned future inflows are repaid. MCA proves TBI Bank’s flexible approach to offer quick services that are adequate to the customers’ needs in the digital world.

Today we speak with a member of the successful make it happen team – Alexandru Cosma, a product manager responsible for the initiation, development and implementation of the product. Alex has been part of TBI Bank family since 2012 and for the last three years he has headed Business Banking Sales and Products for Romania.

Alex, what challenges did you face while you were preparing the MCA?

There are three challenges in making this product digital: you need to have access to a wide range of online merchants’ data base to address to; you need to have available data regarding their historical inflows; you need to secure automatic collection of the assigned future inflows.

All of them were solved when we partnered with Netopia, the largest payment service provider in Romania, which has a large portfolio of merchants, with all their history of credit cards sales and with control over the processing of these inflows.

Guest Editor’s Corner

What did you learn in the process?

Several different teams from within the company and different vendors were part of the project. We had Netopia, Softelligence, the IT-teams in Romania and Bulgaria, legal, Finance, PR, Marketing and Business. Bringing all pieces together to create what we have today required a lot of effort and diligence. We learned a lot, a little bit from each of the parties involved. But mainly we learned that the key in such a project resides in initial planning and documentation. After all, they say 1 hour of planning saves 10 hours of implementation.

What are your expectations for MCA progress on the market? Do you already have feedback from customers?

For now, we are limited on Netopia’s portfolio of merchants, but we had also positive discussions with other potential partners, some of them were banks even. The best way to scale it is to bring such additional partners on board. For now, we are focusing on achieving a penetration rate within Netopia’s portfolio in line with our projected economics of the product. Once we learn and upgrade we will be ready to address a larger market stake.
Regarding feedback from merchants, I would say so far is strongly positive. We even had a merchant that applied and stated he is not in need of funding at the moment, but would like to take the MCA to test it, because he really liked the idea behind it.

Do you plan to launch it in Bulgaria soon?

I am confident that if we prove the product is successful in Romania, it will be launched in Bulgaria as well. I also have the feeling the Bulgarian market is ready to adopt such a product.

And finally, we are curious to know more about the team involved in the project?

The idea of the product was not ours, it came from Petr Baron who at some point suggested this project, an opportunity which we gladly took.

Then, we couldn’t have done it without the support of Florentina Mircea, the Project Owner, and sponsor, who closely monitored the process and helped me overpass critical blockages when they appeared. And there were many from risk, our Romanian underwriting team who did a very complex job with the assessment part of the flow – Radu Picu, Alex Margarit, Iuliana Paun. From Loan Admin and credit control: Victoria Alexandru and Radu Vatamanu. From the technical side big thanks to Nikola Kalfov who was in charge with the Landing Page and Systems Integrations, Dan Graure and Lucian Barbu in charge with Charisma adjustments to support this product. From PR many thanks to Nicoleta Pavel, who worked late hours to spread the news to merchants and prepare the launch, from marketing Denisa Sosea, the author of the MCA presentation video; from Finance, Daniela Mihalache and Laura Sterea who created the accounting monography of the product.

Alexandru Cosma,
Head of Business Banking Products and Sales

HR INSIDER

TBI Bank joins once again the Manager for a Day initiative

For the 3rd time, a group of students has cut the distance between education and business by crossing the threshold of TBI Bank’s HQ. Their job was to take over different departments of the bank for a day. You wonder why? The reason is the initiative of Junior Achievement – Manager for a Day. It connects business and public organizations with high school and university students. On 30 October all the young managers went to their working places.

TBI Bank welcomed five students. After coming to HQ at 9 am, they were introduced to our working environment with a presentation by the HR team. They worked in different departments – two of them spent the day with the HRs, another two – Finance matters and then there was a manager from the Call Center as well.

At the end of the day, our collection strategy manager Yosif Madolev was so impressed by the manager he worked with that he was positive about proposing her a job position at TBI Bank when she graduates.

The young managers for a day left the HQ with positive thoughts, gifts and a better sense of business orientation compared to the morning. As for TBI Bank’s side – we were proud to send our young managers with the gained knowledge and confidence and, as they say in Germany, people always meet twice – so we look forward to the second time!

THE PLACE TO BE

TBI Bank at Retail in Detail

An innovative e-commerce solution serving the needs of both merchants and end consumers? It has to be an attention-grabber at the biggest specialized conference for retail products in Bulgaria. That was indeed the case at the annual Retail in Detail event, where TBI Bank was the only bank invited and we showed off our state-of-the-art product.

Represented by the fine speaker that she is – Laura Vizir, our Head of Retail Online Product Development – TBI Bank’s participation was a real highlight. Our e-commerce platform is an excellent example of digitalization in the banking sector. It makes online shopping in installments easy through a 24/7 online process that doesn’t require the customer to visit bank branches.

Laura also introduced to the audience the concept of “iovation”, whereby potential fraud is prevented by relying on latest generation recognition technology implemented in the Bank’s e-commerce platform. The event was a perfect opportunity for thought leaders to share know-how and discuss the dos and don’ts of retail. You can see Laura in action here.

We’re looking forward to next year’s edition – and pretty sure the audience can‘t wait to hear about our next products.

IN FOCUS

Improving customer experience through our Internet Banking

We’re taking the next step towards customer experience by launching higher security confirmation and better awareness for our clients on payments through TBI Bank’s Internet Banking.

Customers, who have subscribed to the SMS TAN Code service, will now receive notifications featuring additional information in the language of their choosing (Bulgarian or English), including:

∙ Validity period;
∙ Type of operation;
∙ Amount and currency;
∙ Last 10 digits of the IBAN of the Beneficiary of the operation;
∙ Date and time of the TAN code request.

“The project gives transparency for informed actions, which is key for the services we provide. I would like to thank all those involved in the project who made this possible”, said Elmaz Ismail, Head of Payments Department.

 

FOR YOU: SKI FEST

Be more like Zheni – be a ski champion!

Supporting an active lifestyle and being number one is part of our internal culture. Last year at the annual Banking ski fest our very own Evgenia Gontcheva (senior specialist payments in the HQ in Sofia) has proven both. She won two gold medals at the event – at the giant slalom and at the parallel giant slalom. What a champ!

We should all steal a bit from her schedule wisdom – on our daily jobs, but why not also at next years’ Banking ski fest on

March 21st-23rd, 2019

in Borovets ski resort near Sofia, Bulgaria.

The call is open to all TBI employees both Bulgaria and Romania. To apply for participation, besides being a skiing master, you should have worked for us more than 6 months and have the approval and recommendation from your manager (in an e-mail).

A dedicated committee will review all applications and come back with the 3 shortlisted candidates + 2 reserves.

You will get full logistics coverage for the contest – travel expenses covered, participation fee and hotel accommodation.

Deadline for submission of applications – 28th December 2018. Full agenda and more details you can find here.

Write us back

at tbi.inside@tbibank.bg and become our next edition’s editor, tell us more about your team’s success, share some interesting stories, or just let us know how you prefer your mojito cocktail.

Write us back

at tbi.inside@tbibank.bg and become our next edition’s editor, tell us more about your team’s success, share some interesting summer stories, or just let us know how you prefer your mojito cocktail.