homepage_name! > Editions > Number 037 > Interview - Axel Hummel

Interview

Axel Hummel

Volksbank offers its clients a complete range of banking services that really suits them and they always act under the principle that only long-term partnership based on mutual trust can guarantee success and satisfaction.

We were honored to talk to Mr Axel Hummel, President of Executive Board, Volksbank Serbia.

Mr Hummel, are you satisfied with results of Volksbank in 2010?

In 2010 we continued our business with stable operations and growth in key segments, resulting in slightly better results than the year before; despite the fact that we experienced the same pattern as in previous years of low business activities with occasional long term investments.
We have achieved a satisfying result from EUR 11.1 million of profit with total assets reached EUR 794 million, which is an increase of 8% compared to last year.

Staying on a slight but permanent growth path, we gained much more clients than in 2009 who recognized our bank as an institution with long tradition and safe place to invest their funds and also get a long term full service. Proof that we managed to develop an environment of trust and confidence with our clients is the increase of number of retail and corporate clients by 37% compared to last year, which reached 63,506 clients.

What was the situation with the loans last year, did the citizens take more loans than in previous years and whether the number of clients has in general increased or decreased?

Due to the joint effort of our Corporate and Retail sectors, our loan volume including cross border increased by 7%, compared to previous year.

However the biggest step for the bank was taken in regards of number of loans disbursed.
We were able to convince more customers than ever about the advantages of our products and were able to register an impressive 30 % growth in number of loans disbursed.

Volksbank is well known in the Serbian banking market as an innovative bank that creates new kinds of products. What was new from Volksbank in 2010?

Bank kept its position to have an efficient and lean network which enable us to adjust our offers fast to market demand. There are a lot of services and products where we have been the first or second bank offering unique products. In 2010 we added to our product line loans for the health sector, for students and stem cells keeping. On the services line, we added account packages and as the first Serbian Bank, we started with a comprehensive package of insurance elements connected with cash and consumer loans.

What do you think about the situation on the banking market in Serbia?

Banks are safe and sound - well adjusted to the today’s situation of Serbian economy. Ongoing increase of unemployment and only slight recovery of economy still represent hurdles for a stronger upward trend in banking business.

As the whole banking markets stabilized and gained back strength, we could expect some mergers in banking sector as there are still some smaller banks which are in need of strategic partner in order to do business more effective and profitable. What is still surprising is that - despite a tremendous existing liquidity in the banking system – interest rates for deposits are still way too high.

How is the Volksbank operating at the time of the world economic crisis and poor economic situation in Serbia?

Just fine. We do face impact, however risk costs seem to stabilize and Volksbank benefits from its balanced business model. The strategy of the last years, to focus on a bigger number of active customers instead of volumes seems to pay off.

We believe that we further strengthened our market position in 2010 with more than satisfying results.

Any predictions of Volksbank in Serbia for 2011?

We are convinced that we can follow our successful development of the last years also in 2011. Results of first quarter 2011 are better than 2010.

For an ongoing improvement of overall business activities in Serbia, we expect activities which tackle already frequently mentioned topics like efficiency of legal system, stability of business environment and transparency.

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