A major element of the PZU Group’s business model is the banking business. The tightening of cooperation with the banks within the PZU Group (with Alior Bank and Bank Pekao acquired by the Group in 2015 and 2017, respectively) has opened up tremendous growth opportunities, especially in terms of integrating and focusing services on clients at every stage of their personal and professional development. Cooperation with the banking segment forms an additional plane for PZU to build lasting client relations. Its ambitious targets entail the sales of insurance to the clients of Bank Pekao and Alior Bank as well as PZU bringing insurance clients as new clients to these banks.
A comprehensive offering of financial services helps reach the client through multiple channels. This should considerably ramp up the number of products per client while making a material contribution to grow new sales. The PZU Group expects that in 2020 it will collect PLN 1 billion of additional written premium from cooperation with these banks and that they will acquire 1 million of the Group’s insurance clients. Significant savings will also be generated owing to synergies in the areas of procurement, IT and real estate within the Group. It is expected that costs will be cut by PLN 100 million by 2020. SECTION STRATEGY.
Effects of cooperation in 2019:
As a leader of the Polish financial market, with immense potential to create innovative solutions for business and one of the biggest financial groups in Central and Eastern Europe, the PZU Group actively promotes Polish economy abroad.
During the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos PZU together with Bank Pekao organized, for the second time, the Polish House (Dom Polski) – a place devoted to promotion of Poland, its economy and the entire Tri-Sea Region. The leading theme of this year’s Polish House was #GrowingEurope, illustrating the growth and investment potential of the region. Debates and panels organized in the Polish House with the participation of the most important personalities from the world of politics and economy were dominated by the topic of development and promotion of this part of Europe. The Polish House was also a space for presenting the entrepreneurship and innovativeness of Polish businesses. Thanks to meetings with Polish champions, global decision-makers had an opportunity to learn the opportunities offered by the businesses from Poland and the region. In addition to promoting business, the creators of the Polish House were driven by one more important objective – promotion of the Polish culture and spreading the knowledge about Poland. This was very visible inside the Polish House – designed especially in the style of Polish folk art. The leading motif and inspiration for the authors was the highlander culture.
In the Polish House in Davos, on the initiative of the President of PZU, a memorandum establishing the Business Council of Growing Europe was signed. The signatories of the Business Council, in addition to PZU and Bank Pekao, included 12 companies known in the international arena and developing their activity on at least regional level. The purpose of the initiative is to promote Central and Eastern Europe as an attractive direction for investors from across the globe and supporting cooperation between the business leaders from the region. The declaration assumes organization of joint events, participation in panels and meetings at the most important conferences and business events, as well as cooperation with experts and advisors. The close cooperation is to promote Central and Eastern Europe as a hub for development of the latest technologies, infrastructure and renewable sources of energy.
The World Economic Forum in Davos is one of the most known and prestigious meetings of key political leaders, global business leaders, renowned intellectuals and experts and journalists. Every year is participants focus on looking for solutions to the biggest economic and social problems of the contemporary world. In total, every year, the Forum is attended by approx. 3 thousand representatives from 110 countries.
Bank Pekao - clients and products
Bank Pekao is one of the largest financial institutions in Central and Eastern Europe and one of three biggest universal banks in Poland. With the second largest branch network, it serves over 5.5 million retail clients. As Poland’s leading corporate bank it provides services to one out of two corporations in Poland. The status of a universal bank relies on the leading market position in private banking, asset management and brokerage activity. The Bank offers all financial services available in Poland to individual and institutional clients. The group comprises over a dozen companies which are national leaders in the area of brokerage services, leasing, factoring, financial investment and transaction advisory services. SECTION OPERATION OF THE PZU GROUP
A broad product offering, innovative solutions and individual approach provide customers with comprehensive financial service. An integrated service model guarantees the highest quality of products and services, as well as their optimum alignment with the changing needs.
The bank’s business model is based on a segmentation of clients into the following areas:
The Bank has measurable advantages which allow it to effectively compete in the market and strengthen its market position in strategic areas of operations. The Bank offers competitive products and services, high-level customer service and developed network of branches and ATMs, providing convenient access throughout Poland, as well as a professional call center and a competitive Internet and mobile banking platform for individual and corporate clients, and small and micro businesses.
The Bank focuses on organic growth and implementation of the adopted strategy and monitors the consolidation trends in the Polish and European market which may have impact on its competitive position and possibility of supporting the execution of the Bank’s strategy through inorganic growth. At the same time it consistently develops cooperation with the PZU Group and realizes the resulting synergies.
Bank Pekao’s customers can use an extensive distribution network with convenient location of the branches and ATMs throughout Poland, as well as a professional call center and a competitive Internet banking and mobile banking platform for individual and corporate clients, and for small and micro businesses.
As at the end of 31 December 2019, the bank had 805 own branches and 1,648 own ATMs. With a competitive offer of products and services in the Polish market and a high standard of customer service, the Bank administered 6.2 million PLN current accounts, 394.3 thousand mortgage loan accounts and 717.2 thousand Express Loan accounts.
Innovation is one of the strategic priorities of Bank Pekao. The bank has an Innovation Laboratory within its structures, which executes actions related to implementation of new solutions. The laboratory team focuses on designing innovations which will allow for improving the existing and developing new Bank Pekao products and services. The bank wants to effectively build its internal innovation structure, releasing the employees’ entrepreneur creativity. It also focuses on cooperation and partnership both with young, innovative startups and experienced technological companies, offering financial technology solutions.
In 2019, Bank Pekao continued the digital transformation process, comprising over 200 technologically advanced initiatives focused on development of sales and improvement of the quality of service in the remote channels, automation and robotization of the processes and enriching the offering to include state-of-the-art digital services.
Bank Pekao’s electronic banking is systematically modernized and developed. In 2019, the bank launched a new release of its electronic banking platform Pekao24 for retail clients. It also works on further development of the PeoPay mobile application and continues to improve its digital solutions dedicated to corporate clients.
Under the Digital Transformation Project, retail clients were provided with access to a new version of the electronic banking service – new Pekao24. The new service is based on the responsive technology (RWD – Responsive Web Design), which is characterized by intuitive navigation facilitating the use of the service regardless of the type of device used by the client. The service has a rich financial analysis module supporting clients in the daily management of finances, modern and intuitive interface, which supports optimization of the transaction processes performed by electronic banking users.
The Bank has also given clients the possibility to open an online account themselves, using a computer or a smartphone. Identity is verified by using biometric measurements of a face and a personal ID. The service is available online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Pekao is the first bank in Poland which offered the identity verification process based on face biometrics. Additionally, business clients have the possibility of contacting the bank via a chat, video and voice connection with the bank’s hotline via the internet.
Pekao consistently develops its modern PeoPay mobile application, actively used by 1.4 clients. In 2019, the voice operation of the application was launched. PeoPay users may quickly and conveniently check their account balance, contact the hotline, generate a BLIK code or order a transfer using the Google Assistant. Leveraging the development of new technologies, the bank consistently implements a number of innovative changes to its product offering.
Pekao was one of the first banks in Poland to deploy Apple Pay and it is the only bank in Poland that enables clients to link Apple Pay to their personal account through PeoPay mobile banking without even having to have a card. In 2019 the bank also expanded the contactless payment offer to include Garmin and Fitbit devices, offering access to Garmin Pay and Fitbit Pay electronic wallets. The bank’s solutions in the area of alternative card payment methods are aligned to the modern trends in the market.
In 2019, the new innovative function of contactless cashback was made available in over 4.5 thousand payment terminals. The service makes it possible to withdraw cash during shopping by placing the card or other mobile payment device near the terminal. The service is available to Visa and MasterCard cardholders. The bank has also implemented the contactless transaction function in the dynamic currency conversion service (DCC). The DCC service allows for effecting the transaction in the currency in which the payment card is issued. The currency conversion service is available to users of both payment cards and Apple Pay, Google Pay or HCE mobile payments.
The bank systematically expanded the scope of functions that can be effected via remote access channels. The most important projects executed in 2019 in the electronic banking system for retail clients included, among others:
Alior Bank is a universal deposit and credit bank, providing services to natural persons, legal persons and other domestic and foreign entities. The bank’s core business comprises maintaining bank accounts, granting cash loans, issuing bank securities and purchase and sale of foreign currencies. The bank also conducts brokerage activity, provides financial advisory and intermediation services, arranges corporate bond issues and provides other financial services. In its operations, Alior Bank combines the principles of traditional banking with innovative solutions and consequently it sets new trends in financial services and consistently strengthens its market position. SECTION OPERATION OF THE PZU GROUP
The bank’s operations are conducted by various divisions that offer specific products and services earmarked for specific market segments. Currently, the bank has presence in three industry segments: individual clients (retail segment), business clients (business segment), treasury operations.
As at 31 December 2019, Alior Bank catered to 4.0 million retail clients. The higher client number in 2019 resulted from the bank’s organic growth.
The bank has been implementing a project of behavioral segmentation of retail clients, which allows it to target products and services to the appropriate recipients. Behavioral segmentation is applied to the development of the product offering and also to the support given to the sales network. In 2019, the bank continued to apply the strategic segmentation of its clients. In its overall stationary sales network the bank has implemented strategic segmentation. Bankers and advisors were equipped with comprehensive knowledge on how to recognize the clients’ needs and how to talk about them in order to sell products that best fit their needs. In the middle of the year, behavioral segmentation was implemented also in selected remote channel areas.
From September 2019 work was launched on the update of the behavioral segmentation. In 2020 the bank will present a new, broader approach, to even better respond to the clients profile and address their needs.
In addition to the behavioral segmentation, the bank divides its retail clients in the following operating segments:
This segmentation is reflected in the structure of the sales network, as the sales units are specialized into, respectively: universal branches, premium branches and private banking branches.
Alior Bank has a comprehensive and contemporary offer for business clients in all the segments: micro, small and medium and corporate. As at the end of 2019, the bank serviced more than 224.6 thousand business clients, and the total credit exposure reached PLN 21.3 billion.
In order to increase the share in the growing micro-business market, the Micro-business Products and Services Department was set up. Its main aim is to strengthen the bank’s role in the financing of sole trader activity through ensuring adequate and specialized service as well as dedicated products. As at 31 December 2019, the bank serviced more than 190 thousand micro-business clients, and the total credit exposure reached PLN 6.8 billion.
In the service of clients from the top segments, a strategy has been developed for corporations comprising transformation of Regional Business Centers into Corporate Centers specializing in providing services to large entities.
In order to learn the opinions of entrepreneurs on the corporate solutions and to match the offering even better to the entrepreneurs’ needs, Alior Bank has established the Business Client Council, which is an advisory body in development of new products and services and improving the processed for the business.
The offer for entrepreneurs and quality of the business client service have been frequently appreciated by independent experts.
Alior Bank conducts its treasury activity among others in the following areas: spot currency exchange (FX) and FX risk hedging transactions, interest rate instruments ensuring stabilization of the financial costs to clients, transactions reducing commodity price fluctuations, liquidity management – through sale of products allowing them to invest surplus cash, liquidity risk hedging as part of established limits and regulatory measures, FX and interest rate risk management through interbank transactions, commodity price risk management through transactions on commodity markets, currency option portfolio risk management, within established limits, through concluding hedging transactions and option transactions in the interbank market, trading activity on the treasury bond portfolio through purchase and sale of State Treasury bonds, hedge accounting, i.e. hedging of interest rate risk following from banking activity through concluding interest stream swap transactions (IRS, OIS) in PLN and foreign currencies.
At the end of 2019, Alior Bank had 820 outlets (197 traditional branches, 7 private banking branches, 8 corporate centers and 608 partner centers). The bank’s products were also offered in the chain of 10 mortgage centers, 9 cash centers and a network of roughly 5 thousand intermediaries.
The bank also used distribution channels based on a modern IT platform incorporating: online banking, mobile banking and call centers and the DRONN technology. The Bank uses the Internet, including Internet banking, to enter into agreements for: savings and checking accounts, currency accounts, savings accounts, deposits, debit cards and brokerage accounts. These channels are also used to accept applications for credit products: cash loans, credit cards, overdraft limits and mortgage loans. Using the Internet, the bank also offers installment loans in an on-line process and offers services of a currency exchange office.
Alior Bank’s traditional branches are located throughout Poland, in particular in cities with more than 50 thousand residents, offering the full range of the bank’s products and services. Partner centers on the other hand are located in smaller towns and in selected locations in Poland’s major cities, offering a broad range of services and deposit and credit products for retail and business customers.
Cooperation between the bank and its partner centers is based on an outsourcing agency agreement. Under these agency agreements, agents provide exclusive agency services to the bank in respect to the distribution of products. These services are provided in locations owned or leased by agents approved by the bank. The bank’s products are offered in financial intermediary chains, such as Expander, Open Finance, Sales Group, Dom Kredytowy Notus, Fines and others, whose offering focuses mainly on cash loans, consolidation loans, mortgage loans and installment loans.
One of the key strategic initiatives in 2019 which the bank executed jointly with PZU was the opening of the new cash loan distribution channel – the Cash platform.
Sales support in all distribution channels is ensured by operational and analytical Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems.
Alior Bank is one of the most dynamically developing banks in Poland. This is the first startup bank which, from the very beginning of its activity, has been focusing on innovations and setting trends in online banking in the home market.
It is a leader of modern banking, based on pioneering technological solutions. It uses blockchain, open banking, artificial intelligence and biometrics. It introduces its innovative ideas bravely and successfully. Alior Bank was the first bank in Poland to create a fully internet-based exchange office. It is also responsible for launching the first in Poland video verification in the opening of personal accounts.
In April 2019, Alior Bank ended the process of moving clients from the so-called old online banking to the new system. Online and mobile banking were enriched by a number of functions – both sales, transaction and service ones.
Executing the process of moving the clients from branches to the digital world (the so-called project digitization), the systems were expanded to include a number of self-service functions. It is now possible to change personal data (including change of the ID document and data verification in the data of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration), manage marketing consents, submit a FATCA/CRS declaration, and unblock access to Alior Online and Alior Mobile via the website. Additionally, to simplify the contact with the hotline consultants, the possibility of an authorized call from the level of the Alior Mobile application has been implemented. Large part of the system development focused on adaptation of the solutions to the requirements of the PSD2 Directive, aimed at enhancing the security of clients and transactions.
In the transaction area, a new possibility has been introduced – presenting information on whether the beneficiary of a BLIK telephone transfer has an active service and a number of optimization changes have been introduced in the BLIK transaction service.
In the Alior Mobile application, it is also now possible to add a card to the Apple Pay or Google Pay service (for apps installed on iOS and Android devices, respectively). Both in online and mobile banking the direct debit service was introduced in accordance with the changed transaction execution method. The increased transaction rates are also supported by the possibility of adding a card to the Mastercard Priceless Specials loyalty program.
A number of changes were implemented to adapt the system to the legal requirements – including the changes regarding the split payment, new method of handling tax transfers and change in the method of execution of FX and foreign transfers.
As regards the functionalities dedicated to business clients the following items were provided: package management option under the 4x4 Account, change in the method of filtering and exporting account histories, transfer basket service, and the possibility of moving from Alior Online to Business Pro without the necessity of additional logging.
The sales functions were expanded to include:
In order to ensure the highest client satisfaction, both in Alior Online and Alior Mobile a number of improvements in the service of the blind and persons with impaired vision were introduced and the Alior Online dashboard was reconstructed.
In 2019, Alior Bank successfully migrated nearly 77 thousand business clients to BusinessPro online banking, offering them, at the same time, the possibility of moving between the business context and the individual context without relogging. Based on the comments and suggestions of clients from small, medium-sized and big business segment, the interface of the BusinessPro online banking system has been modified to address the users’ needs in the most useful and intuitive manner.
In response to the changes in the external environment, the accelerated pace of occurrence of new technological solutions and increasing client expectations regarding introduction of innovations by the bank, in 2019 Alior Bank built an internal structure – RBL_Innovation by Alior Bank. Within one year it was recognized as one of 25 best innovation laboratories in the world by the Global Finance magazine, and the RBL_START acceleration program was nominated for the BAI Global Awards 2019.
The Innovation and FinTech department comprises also the Blockchain Competence Center. In the second quarter of 2019 this technology was applied in a tool used for authentication of the public documents delivered to the bank’s clients such as: rules and regulations, fee and commission tables or interest rate tables. The bank’s clients have obtained a transparent solution compliant with the regulator’s requirements and Alior Bank has made significant progress in digitization of the document circulation. In executing the project Alior Bank was one of the first financial institutions globally and the first one in Poland to use the public blockchain technology.
In 2019 the Open Banking Team executed a number of projects as a result of entry into force of the PSD2 directive and the PSA as a result of which banks were obligated to make their testing environment available and publish production interfaces allowing for connection with services offering access to account information and payment initiation. Alior Bank opened the testing environment to general use through the developer portal in March 2019. In June it published the API with access to production data that can be used by authorized service providers. At the same time, thanks to the obtained license for provision of services as a TPP (third party service provider) as the second bank in Poland, it started to work on leveraging the opportunities offered by access to other banks’ data. The end of 2019 brought a launch of the first service using API of the biggest Polish banks in the lending process.
The next project, being developed in 2019 by the RBL_Innovation by Alior Bank team, was the bank’s investment vehicle which executed two transactions at the time. The first one was a continuation investment in the amount of PLN 1.3 million in PayPo, a Polish fintech offering deferred payments for online purchases. In addition, together with banks PKO BP and BNP Paribas and two venture capital funds, the vehicle invested PLN 17 million in Autenti. It is a company offering a platform for electronic signing of agreements and digital document circulation. It is the first transaction in the Central and Eastern Europe region effected by banks jointly and on equal rules.
In 2019, 15 agreements with fintechs were signed, 8 of the projects were the outcome of the RBL_START acceleration program. The second edition of this banking program for startups attracted over 200 companies from across the globe, from which 11 companies responding to the bank’s business challenges associated with building the main relationship with the client, advanced data analysis and acquisition of new channels for offering banking products were qualified. The substantive partners of the RBL_START program in 2019 included: PZU, Linklaters, Mastercard, Microsoft and IBM.
Cooperation under a banking model, its strong market position, brand recognition and its strategic objective of creating an ecosystem in which the overriding objective is to manage client relations skillfully by offering clients solutions in all venues accessible to clients will contribute to intensifying activities in strategic partnerships with companies operating on the Polish market.
In 2019, PZU continued to develop and strengthen cooperation with strategic partners: PLL LOT and Allegro, while working on expanding and diversifying the product offering for clients. The deliverables will be presented in 2020.
In 2019 the strategic partnership portfolio was expanded by cooperation with Energa – Obrót SA. As part of the cooperation, PZU provides the clients of Energa – Obrót SA with technical assistance services – these are specialized professionals, including among others: electrician, plumber and brown goods/white goods servicing staff, who provide help in the case of a failure in the household. The assistance services are available in different options, so clients may choose the coverage that suits their needs.
Furthermore, within strategic partnerships, PZU offers a number of insurance products for business clients (persons conducting business activity, companies and institutions), including: