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23 August 2019

Direct Banking - More than digitalisation

Interview with Mr. Besar Pllana, Head of Private Clients and Banking Services Department at ProCredit Bank.

ProCredit Albania has introduced a unique banking experience dedicated to Private Individuals. If we talk about today's lifestyle, time management is a challenge in itself. Precisely to offer a banking service, which provides fast, easy, and efficient solutions, ProCredit Bank, has introduced the concept of Direct Banking in Albania. What exactly is Direct Banking, and what is ProCredit Direct specifically? We invite you to read the full interview with the representative of ProCredit Bank.

What is innovative about Direct Banking?

ProCredit Bank Albania, as part of the German group ProCredit Holding, has introduced the European experience in banking services. Through our investments in technology, we give our clients the opportunity to meet their needs for all their routine banking services.

Through our digital platforms, they can make transfers and payments, change of currency, open term deposit accounts and manage their cards, while in 24/7 Zones they can deposit and withdraw money from their accounts. These are very simple services, which do not require an intermediary between you and the bank. Furthermore, performing transactions independently 24/7, without the need for a bank employee, gives an added value both in terms of efficiency, and client confidentiality. All you need is access to the Internet and a Direct Account in ProCredit Bank.

How does ProCredit Bank apply this concept in the services it offers?

ProCredit Bank offers exclusive service to its clients through two main pillars: Direct Banking and Client Advisors, who offer our clients specialised financial advising when needed. Direct Banking does, of course, meet our clients' routine needs through electronic channels, but that is not all. ProCredit Bank goes further, offering a proper client-oriented structure, by investing in technology and providing responsible financial advising. Client Advisors at ProCredit Bank analyse carefully our clients' needs, financial situation, and investment plans to make sure they provide them with personalised advising, which fulfils our clients' needs best.

"All in one. 24/7 availability,
flexibility and personalised advising when needed"

Let me focus on Direct Banking and the reasons why we as a bank pay so much attention to it. Our aim is to offer exclusive banking services which bring added value to our clients, like speed, flexibility to manage 24/7 all their banking  accounts and transactions, cards, as well as opportunity to benefit from financing at favourable terms. All these features are best provided by our advanced electronic platforms, such as e-Banking, mobile banking, 24/7 Zones, and other services, which are part of the ProCredit Direct concept. This is also simple in terms of fees. Client pays only a monthly flat fee for all the services with our bank.

Why a flat fee for account services?

In order to avoid individual fees and to increase transparency, ProCredit Bank applies a simple method for its Private Clients: Flat monthly fee. Our clients pay only a fixed monthly fee and they benefit: the usage of e-Banking and mobile Banking platforms, money transfer to other banks in local currency at zero fee, withdraw or deposit money in every ProCredit Bank ATM, and the exclusive service of 3 (three) free withdrawals from ATMs of other banks in the country.

That is not all. If you are a client of ProCredit Bank and receive your salary via Direct Account, the bank provides you with additional advantages. Let me mention our financial services, such as the opportunity to get a FlexFund (salary overdraft) at one-digit interest rates, or loans for eco investments and Housing loans with a very fast response time.

Why has ProCredit Bank decided to offer 3 free withdrawals per month from the ATMs of other banks?

This service comes as part of ProCredit Direct. In fact, we observe a significant increase in the usage of cards for all types of amounts, decreasing thus the need to carry large amounts of cash. With the introduction of digital services, the increasing use of electronic payments is gradually turning into a habit. However, regardless of such positive trend, there is still more to do in societies like ours in this direction. Therefore, in order to meet our clients' need for cash, as part of ProCredit Direct, we offer every client of our bank the possibility to use the entire network of ATMs in Albania, including that of other banks. Every private individual client can make up to 3 withdrawals per month from ATMs of other banks in the country, without paying a fee. They just need to go to their nearest ATM.

This is a new future-oriented way of operating as a bank. How would you say it was received by the clients now that you had this experience?

Life is dynamic, and we want to release our clients from some of their daily burden and engagements. By investing in state-of-the-art equipment and information technologies for our network and systems, we have provided added value for our clients. Accessibility, simplicity, privacy, and security are benefits appreciated by all those who need banking services, but who do not have the time to wait in the line.

How much does technology contribute to efficiency and improved services?

Our approach towards the digital channels has enabled the bank to review every internal process and come up with a new image, where our clients fulfil their banking needs 24 hours during 7 days of the week by making use of advanced electronic services, while our Service Points are premises dedicated to advising.

Our Client Advisors understand the clients' needs, their financial situations, and advise clients based on responsible analysis. Such orientation has also enabled us to be an efficient bank, which affords offering favourable interest rates both for building family assets through savings, and financial support from the bank.

Talking about savings, ProCredit Bank has actually started a campaign dedicated to our 2-year term deposit as part of Direct Account. The interest rate offered is 2% per year for deposits in Albanian lek. The accumulated interest is automatically credited to the clients' Direct account every month, available to be used, without having to wait for the maturity date. In addition, every client who has a Direct Account with our bank benefits a 0.8% interest rate on FlexSave account, without blocking his or her funds.

"With FlexSave you earn interest, without blocking your funds"

To conclude, thanks to the introduction of technological banking innovation for routine services and our professional staff, which offers personalised banking advising whenever needed, we are happy we have managed to provide added value for every client who chooses ProCredit as their long-term responsible and supporting partner.

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About ProCredit Bank Albania

ProCredit Bank is a development-oriented commercial bank. We offer excellent customer service to small and medium enterprises and to private individuals who have the capacity to save and who prefer to do their banking through electronic channels. ProCredit Bank Albania is owned 100% by ProCredit Holding, based in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. ProCredit Bank Albania has been focusing on developing its electronic services infrastructure in order to provide modern banking services that meet the needs of the customers as efficiently as possible. In 2015, ProCredit Bank introduced the 24/7 Zones for the first time in the Albanian market, which are premises dedicated to self-service through electronic equipment. Later, in 2017, the Bank introduced a new banking concept, that of Direct Banking, dedicated to private individual clients.