Necessity is quoted as being the mother of invention. Silvio Pedrazzi, CEO of Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania explains how his innovative organisation responds to an evolving technological world as well as unprecedented emergency situations.
Digital transformation involves far more than merely moving traditional processes, systems and ways of working to a digital world. It must also embrace and address fast-changing customer requirements, sometimes under emergency circumstances.
Silvio Pedrazzi, CEO of Intesa Sanpaolo Bank, Albania, tells us about the revolutionary aspects of digital transformation – the launch of digital banking followed by a digital branch – and how information technology and digital transformation has been a successful element in combating banking / financial issues caused by the global pandemic and the Albanian earthquake tragedy.
Supporting families and businesses in time of crisis is important to Intesa Sanpaolo Bank. You also initiated an Earthquake Relief and Support Plan for those affected by the 2019 disaster. Could you tell us more about this, please?
I believe that, never as for now, enterprises have to show effectiveness in term of Corporate Social Responsibility by means of applying in the daily business ethical and solidarity principles. The terrible earthquake that hit Albania in November 2019 left thousands of citizens displaced, while severely impacting the economy of the affected areas.
Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania quickly reacted reaching out people, directly getting in touch with them in order to assess the situation and provide financial support whenever needed. After receiving thorough feedback the Bank declared a unilateral loans moratorium for individual and legal entities; in addition a devoted plafond was established for supporting the reconstructions in combination with the State interventions. Moreover, we provided humanitarian aid in different ways: The Charity Fund of the Group directly funded two international NGOs operating in the field of first aid to displaced families, we organised a donation within our employees and finally we tried to find solutions for all our affected colleagues. So, we tried to cover all the possible stakeholders. I’m sincerely proud of what we did.
Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania has a reputation as being a forward thinking, customer centric financial organisation. How is it changing the face of banking within Albania?
Our mission is to create sustainable value for all the stakeholders like shareholders, customers and employees; we believe we can achieve this goal only applying the highest ethical standards and the best international practices, promoting innovation as well as developing a sound dialogue with the different components of the society. It goes without saying if you are inspired by these values the customers’ interest becomes the polar star of your business model. In a country like Albania, leveraging also on the strong support and expertise of our Parent Company, Intesa Sanpaolo Group, we feel the duty to be frontrunner in all possible fields. I think we contributed significantly, together with the competent institutions, to promote sound policies in term of Governance, Compliance as well as Risk Management. The outcome of these efforts is a comprehensive framework aimed not only to ensure the required financial stability but the Customers’ protection under all viewpoints. In this light a 360- degrees- customer- centric-approach means concrete listening, safety, transparency, fairness of products’ terms and conditions as well as a bit of local touch.
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted consumer behaviour, forcing banking customers to turn to digital channels to conduct transactions and manage their finances. How has Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania responded to these unprecedented challenges?
First of all, let me express my condolences to all the victims of this killer Covid-19 virus, knowing that unfortunately this unprecedented situation will likely last for many months ahead.
I would enlarge the scope of the question since not only customers were forced to turn digital, but Banks too. Even more, high level of internal digitalisation in the banking industry is the pre-condition to propose an efficient digital banking to customers, making sure the full continuity of the provided services at all levels.
In this light I would like to stress the first reaction of Intesa Sanpaolo, thanks to the excellent Smart Working platform already in place, was to allow almost the entire personnel in the Headquarters to work from home having full and secure access to all the systems of the Bank; not only there were no interruptions in any services but this way we protected the health of the colleagues, that we consider a priority. Also in the Branch network we manage to reduce significantly the physical presence but again, thanks to the high level of digitalisation, not putting in jeopardy the relationship with clients.
As far as the interaction with the customers is concerned, obviously we advise them to increase the usage of digital channels both for individuals and legal entities. Mobile Banking and Internet Banking have shown a dramatic increase in the number of transactions. Nevertheless we know there is much more to do, especially in order to combine customers’ digital experience maintaining at the same time the human contact. This is one of the next challenges in front of us and I believe the Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania is quite well positioned having developed at all levels a “digital culture” and leveraging on the very low median age of our people.
Digital banking within Albania is a relatively recent innovation. Could you tell us about its rapid adoption and ways in which it transforms the banking industry?
The rapid expansion of digital banking in Albania, in the last years, is a well-known fact but in my opinion we are just at the beginning. I would say the Covid-19 crisis has taught us a very important lesson, making us understand how far we can go better using the technology; no doubts the banking industry will undergo a profound transformation. Hereinafter just a couple of examples:
- Smart Working (or better now Remote Working) was meant to be a life-balance tool for the benefit of the employees; now it can become also a lever in the hands of the employers for a more efficient business model;
- Banks could massively implement Remote Working also in the physical networks.
It’s evident the huge impacts of these kind of choices across the whole organization like, for example, HR (new skills, new roles), Real Estate (less premises) as well as intensive use of Digital signatures. It can really give a boost to the long expected digital revolution.
Intesa Sanpaolo Bank will soon be able to- launch in Albania ‘Fast Loan’ in Digital Banking. How does this differ from services already on the market?
Yes, very soon we will launch the Digital Fast Loan. The main difference compared to the status quo is the whole cycle of the loan will be on-line, starting from the client’s application until the disbursement, including the contractual part. To all its own customers Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania will provide Digital Signature Certificates issued by our Parent Company that is an authorised issuer at European level; the approval process will be much faster being supported also by bot technology. And last, but not least, we will reduce additionally the paper consumption!
Intesa Sanpaolo Bank is a leading Albanian bank serving small and medium sized businesses, corporates, individual customers and high net worth clients with an extensive offering of innovative products and services.
For further information on Intesa Sanpaolo’s range of products, digital banking and services together with latest news from the Intesa Group and contact details, please visit https://www.intesasanpaolobank.al/en/retail