What does the new brand name – Garanti BBVA, mean for your business in Romania and for your clients here?
During our more than 20 years of activity in Romania, we have developed
a long-term relationship with Retail, SME and Corporate clients. We know
the market, the challenges and the opportunities that it offers. We will
continue to be active and in cater our clients` financial future. Our
strategy is now built around the Garanti and BBVA values: Customers Come
First, Thinking Big and We are ONE Team. This way, we reinforce our
position on the local market as a valuable, experienced, innovative, and
human-centric financial institution. We will not change our strategy
here and our clients from all market segments will continue benefiting
from simple, competitive and personalized products and services.
We permanently aim to diversify our products and services for all market
segments, in line with our clients’ changing and evolving needs and to
always be by their side, as a trustworthy financial partner for the
What are the most important moments on the Romanian market during these
over two decades?
We are here since late `90, more exactly since 1998. At the beginning, we had a license to undertake our operations as a foreign branch of
Garanti Bank International NV. We have transformed our business into a
fully pledged Romanian bank in 2010. Some of the milestones to mention
during our presence here in Romania are the launch of Bonus Card, in
2007, one of the most rewarding and successful credit cards on the local
market; the launch of our internet banking service – Garanti Online, in
the same year; and Mobile Me – our mobile banking applicatiion, in 2016.
We are also proud to mention that we were the first bank to sign loan
agreements with international organizations such as for financing
the women entrepreneurs, back in 2011, and we were the first in Romania
to launch an eco-affinity card – WWF Bonus Card, back in 2010. Between
2010 and 2019, Garanti BBVA directed RON 1.49 million to the World
Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Organization, in order to support the
development and implementation of environmental projects in Romania. For
any purchase made with WWF Bonus Card, Garanti BBVA transfers 0.3% from
the spending of the WWF Bonus Card Customers to WWF funded projects,
regarding conservation areas in the Carpathians, along the Danube and in
the Danube Delta.
In the past years, Garanti BBVA has managed to grow year-to-year above
the market average, and it is currently one of the 9 banks of systemic
importance and one of the top ten largest local banks.
Moreover, in 2019, Garanti BBVA was declared Superbrand, for the second
consecutive year, emerging from a list of over 1,500 brands analyzed by
What are your areas of interest on the Romanian market for the corporate
Our corporate customers’ portfolio is quite balanced, both in terms of
industries, as well as in terms of the source of the capital – foreign
or Romanian. We provide to our corporate clients tailored financing
products, working capital, trade finance, payments and cash management.
Nevertheless, in terms of business models, we are biased towards
entrepreneurial businesses, which are very dynamic and in need of bank
financing for their development and prone to a long-term banking
Industry wise, our portfolio reflects the structure of the Romanian
economy. Industrial production prevails, followed by trading and
services. Constructions or high-quality real estate projects were and
still are of interest to us. In general, we encourage and support
long-term investments in the Romanian economy, in line with our proven
commitment to the local business environment and hopefully the
country’s growth model will gradually shift towards investments as the
main driver for the country’s development.
What can you tell us regarding your approach towards SMEs?
The SME sector is very important for us, especially from the
entrepreneurial point of view. I am proud to say that Garanti BBVA was
the first bank in Romania to address the needs of women entrepreneurs.
In this regard, important parts of the loan agreements signed with IFC
and EIB had a strong gender component, being addressed to companies
owned or managed by women. Since 2011, IFC extended seven loans to
Garanti BBVA Group Romania, totaling EUR 157 million and four of these
loans had a strong gender component.
According to “Taking Women Entrepreneurs to the Bank in Romania” –
joint IFC and Garanti BBVA report, 31% of this amount was granted by our
bank to women SMEs, through IFC facilities. The report found that these
companies subsequently reported an average real sales growth of over
5.5% per year (higher than the national average annual real sales growth
of 3.5 percent for all firms in Romania), and a 9.1% labor productivity
And we did not stop here. Garanti BBVA and The European Investment Bank
(EIB) have signed early this year the first loan tranche dedicated to
female entrepreneurs in the EU. EUR 5 million of the total loan is
devoted to female entrepreneurs and is matched by another EUR 5 million
from Garanti BBVA. This transaction is backed by the European Fund for
Strategic Investments (EFSI), the financial pillar of the Investment
Plan for Europe, or “Juncker Plan”.
How do you develop your digital channels and how successful are those?
We are investing heavily and constantly in our digital channels. We
believe that the digitalization of our services means faster services
and a new way to listen to our customers and learn about their needs.
At the end of August 2019, we have registered a 14% increase of the
average value of the transactions performed through our internet banking
service – Garanti BBVA Online, compared to the same period of last
year. As for our mobile banking application, in the first 8 months of
2019, we have registered an increase of over 36% on our Garanti BBVA
Mobile Me, for the total number of transactions and total volume.
Currently, we are the 6th bank in Romania in terms of digital banking
In developing our digital services, we benefit from the support and
know-how of our shareholders, Garanti BBVA Turkey and Banco Bilbao
Vizcaya Argentaria. Garanti BBVA Turkey has around 8 million digital
customers and 1/5 of all digital transactions in Turkey go through
BBVA remains the global mobile banking leader in 2019, according to
“The Forrester Banking Wave: Global Mobile Apps Summary, 2019”.
Moreover, Garanti BBVA Romania was awarded by the prestigious Global
Finance magazine for “Best Consumer Digital Bank in Romania” at the 2019
World’s Best Consumer Digital Banks event, being the 12th prize that the
bank received from this magazine in the past eleven years.
Nevertheless, we do not favor a digital only approach. While developing
our digital channels, we are investing in our employees, in order to
offer the best client service experience to our customers, through our
team of professionals.
How do you see your activity next year?
In order to offer to our customers a superior banking experience, while
preserving their trust, we base the bank’s performance on customer
centricity in a prudent and responsible way, improving our
organizational risk management mechanisms, while focusing on simplifying
our products and processes and being more operationally efficient. Our
efforts and high standards in this respect are being translated in an
NPL rate significantly below the market average, as well as in the high
level of customer satisfaction and trust in Garanti BBVA Romania.
Our customers appreciate our transparent and plain communication, our
easily understandable and fairly priced products, as well as our lean
processes, designed with the purpose of increasing efficiency in terms
of time and costs – for our customers and for us.