Bankers know that customer is right
Banks, insurance and advertising companies, as well as those in IT, meet in Minsk to discuss how to attract and retain customers
Banks may not make the majority of their money from individual customers but these accounts do influence their image with corporate companies, large organisations and entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, competition is high, with 32 banks currently operational in Belarus. Clients are attracted by services and a sense of security, so banks cannot afford to focus only on their profit.
The National Bank of Belarus stands for honesty and transparency, notes Deputy Chairman Sergey Dubkov. Having analysed credit agreements signed between banks and citizens, the National Bank has noticed disparity in penalties and definitions of violations, restrictions on borrowers and fees charged on loans. Clearly, standardised terms are required, inspiring a new Banking Code for January 2013. Of course, the true price of loans is best indicated by the interest rate charged but other terms and fees are to be set out clearly for borrowers, so that there are no hidden surprises.
The Retail Banking Services: Trends and Prospects conference recently discussed the development of payments and banking services which are relatively new to Belarus: Internet banking and SMS-banking. Oleg Veremeichik, the Head of the IT Department at the National Bank, notes that it has become popular to pay not only utility bills and mobile phone fees at information kiosks and other terminals but taxes, penalties and other payments into the budget.
Belarusian banks need to set up more active communication with clients, as Kiev’s Ruslan Spivak explains, “All those on the banking market should seriously consider how to improve customer loyalty, looking at the life cycle of relations between bank and client. Gaining new customers is not the ‘be all and end all’. Retaining their long-term trust is vital.”