Eurobank Ergasias digital solutions help Greeks regain trust in banks
Iakovos Giannaklis explains how the bank's work building strong client relationships is paying off in growing deposits
As the Greek economy slowly recovers, local banks have a lot of work to do. How to reduce the high percentage of non-performing loans, and recover a significant volume of deposits? Both, of course, while maintaining profitability. Iakovos Giannaklis, General Manager of Retail Banking for Eurobank Ergasias, discusses the challenges in the Greek banking industry today. Growing strength of depositors is helping cash return into the system, he says; and a three year digitalisation programme is creating the services and efficiencies that he hopes will make Eurobank the premier digital bank in Greece.
World Finance: Iakovos, the public lost a lot of trust in the banks – how have you been working to rebuild it?
Iakovos Giannaklis: At Eurobank, our goal is to focus on customer needs, while building trusted relationships with our clients. We want our customers to choose us, knowing they’ll find top quality services, along with access to digital solutions. We try to work and serve our customers through our corporate values: dynamism, cooperation, empathy, trust and innovation. Based on them, the bank supports customers’ difficulties on servicing their loans, addressing each case with social responsibility and respect.
Another very important factor of building trust is that we never stopped financing the companies that bank with us, as this is the time that the bank’s support is needed and valued the most.
World Finance: And how have these efforts helped you re-grow your deposits?
Iakovos Giannaklis: We see that slowly the increased trust of depositors helps the partial return of deposits into the system. For Eurobank, the design and launch of new products and services mainly focuses on creating the right context and infrastructure to support the bank’s current and future development in deposits.
Numerous actions were implemented in 2017. The enhancement of locality campaigns for our customers through our best in Greece loyalty programme, that cooperates with a large number of retailers. We increased considerably the number of salary earners and pensioners – a strong indication we’re becoming the bank of first choice to more clients.
We promoted the value of saving to young people, capitalising on the heritage of Hellenic Postbank. With cooperation of a large number of companies for their transactional needs, and many other initiatives through both the physical and digital channels led us to increase our market share on deposits for the first nine months of 2017, while the cost of deposits continued to decline.
World Finance: How have you enhanced your personal banking offering to compete for valuable affluent clients?
Iakovos Giannaklis: We need to mention that Eurobank Retail Banking was the first to present the personal banking service model before all other Greek banks. In 2017, our dedicated personal banking relationship managers served more than 100,000 affluent customers.
We’ve introduced an efficient and well-defined process that meets all their wealth management and transactional needs. Our service is compiled by features like tactical economic reports, exclusive products such as special deposit account, investment and insurance products, along with special services in travel and real estate. All that through a well-defined method that helps to identify banking products that cover their client needs.
Our goal is to provide the top class customer service at this market segment.
World Finance: And how are you innovating when it comes to business banking?
Iakovos Giannaklis: Small business banking has the market expertise and gives us a sectoral approach which allows us to establish solid relationships with high value customers and attract new ones. We support innovative enterprises, capitalising on European guarantee and financing programmes, through collaboration agreements with European institutions like EIF. We help small and medium enterprises that want to expand their activity abroad, with our electronic gate to global trade and business networking, exportgate.gr; recently enhanced with its participation in trade club alliance.
We’ve introduced a distinct customer service, client business support and consulting services, through the innovative CRM tool Business Checkup, a complete methodology addressing fully customers’ needs, through customised business proposals.
A series of other strategic choices have been made, like the launch of virtual banking service for the first time in Greece. This new service allows customers who are familiar with the use of internet banking to communicate via video conference, with their dedicated business banking relationship managers, and all that from the venue of their company, performing almost all kinds of interactions with the bank.
World Finance: Finally, what’s your digitisation strategy, moving forward?
Iakovos Giannaklis: Eurobank has made the strategic choice to embrace digital technology in a dynamic manner, and become the premier digital bank in Greece. We have launched a comprehensive three year digitalisation programme, with two primary pillars. Full digitalisation of the basic bank processes, to ensure absolute efficiency and the implementation of an omni-channel experience for our customers.
In 2017, we introduced tablets in all branches cashiers, in order to facilitate the signature procedure for transactions. An e-signature service that is prepared to expand so as to include the signature of contracts.
Regarding the Eurobank mobile app, which was launched in 2016, we presented a new set of innovative features aiming to facilitate our customers’ daily lives, and were awarded with many local and international awards.
We believe that through digital banking we are able to address our customers in a more sophisticated way. We can offer a unique customer experience via customer journeys, and at the same time we can increase revenues and profitability.
We have applied lean methodology in our processes, to ensure simplicity and less complexity for customers, along with reduced operating costs.
World Finance: Iakovos, thank you.
Iakovos Giannaklis: Thank you.