Belgrade is on a par with other metropolises of the world, but it’s true spirit and flair are reflected in poeple. Banking sector in Serbia is competitive and dynamic and banks constantly have to be innovative
Addiko Bank stands on two solid grounds – on the one hand, there’s one of the biggest global private equity firms Advent International whose assets on four continents in 2016 totalled up to 37 billion Euros, and on the other, there’s European Bank for Reconstruction and Development as an institution which helps development of market-oriented economies in more than 30 countries in the world. Two years ago, a successful rebranding process put this bank on the map of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro and it has since stood out with it’s clever and effective marketing campaigns, simple approach to seemingly complicated banking affairs and frank approach to clientel. Four months ago, an expert with rich domestic and international experience Vojislav Lazarević was appointed as new CEO which indicates that Addiko Bank is determined to continue to be both up-to-date and successful in the Serbian market.
How long have you been in Belgrade? Can you compare it to other European cities in which you spent your time? Does Belgrade have any unique qualities worth mentioning?
Belgrade is my home regardless of the fact that I lived in other metropolises of the world such as New York, New Delhi or Athens. I’ve been here for 17 years and I can vouch that our city is on a par with these planetary centers. People are unique and they give Belgrade a special flair everyone instantly falls in love with, even if they come only for a short visit. It’s crossroads-like position enables you to move quickly from mountainside to seaside and you can easily go to other regions of Serbia as well. One shouldn’t forget that Exit as one of the biggest festivals is near and that Guča offers a rather unique experience, even though it’s a completely different festival.
Do you have favorite places in Belgrade? Where do you go for a walk, where do you go to clear your mind, have a drink or a bite?
Walking through Ada, running through Hajd park and having dinner or drinks with friends in Beton hala come to mind when I think of the places where I spend most of my time. Of course, there are plenty of exquisite places where you can relax, spend and enjoy your time or host foreign guests to show them the true spirit of Belgrade. “Atelje 212“ theater is a good place to see quality plays, charge your batteries and it definitely is one of the legendary spots in our city.
Do you think that Serbia is as a tourist destination promoted enough?
A lot has been done when it comes Serbia’s promotion abroad which can especially be seen in the last few years. Big manifestations like Euroleague’s Final 4 are a magnet for large numbers of guests who carry their positive impressions to their relatives and friends. Along with constant campaigns, that is something that maybe helps the most in sending the positive image to the world. Big concerts and festivals organized in Serbia are also a good voice that resonates far. The best example is Exit festival, whose part Addiko bank has been for the last two years, since it outgrew the region and can now compete equally with the world’s biggest festivals. Many awards it won in the strongest of competitions prove that.
Addiko Bank recently promoted a peculiar way of attracting clients – it offered 4.000 dinars to new clients and and additional 1.000 dinars if they choose to leave Addiko Bank after one year. You’ve also made a partnership agreement with Viber. It seems Addiko Bank is accustoming it’s clients to innovations and somewhat different practices in Serbian market?
We wish to provide unique service to our clients by which they’ll recongize us. We believe that most of the clients attracted by the aforementioned campaign will remain with Addiko Bank and that they won’t cancel their accounts. Quality m-banking, short procedures while applying and product approval and unique digital services like Viber Chat Banking are only a part of what has since become our image. We wish to facilitate everyday banking to our clients and that’s why we’ve created a unique ecosystem through our mobile platform which we constantly upgrade and enhance.
How would you describe the banking sector in Serbia? What opportunities does it offer?
It’s extremely dynamic. Competition is as strong as they come. I believe that represents a challenge both to Addiko Bank and to our colleagues, because it forces us to be innovative. Banks are conservative institutions in nature and no one expected them to be the first to respond to the challenges of digitalization. However, we realized that we have to start enhancing processes and placing ourselves where our clients feel natural – hence m-banking on Viber.
What are your business plans?
Business plans reflect in one word – development. I can add “continuous” as an accurate adjective. Whoever doesn’t wish to learn and overcome new things can’t count on progress. Times in which we live are constantly putting us in front of new challenges which we must beat. Only if we develop we can grow, and that’s necessary in business environment.
By: Stefan Slavković