The repetitive nature of conventional banking methodologies finds it challenging to stay firm, facing the challenges of modern banking. Thus, it becomes essential to adapt to and engrain an innovative approach, which is what Petia Dimitrova has done since she took the responsibility as the CEO of Postbank. As a fierce leader, Petia has consistently implemented newer administrative & well thought out methods to deliver effective results.
Petia is also Chairperson of the Management Board of Postbank. In the last 19 years she achieved various leadership roles, and successfully lead the team during two major banking consolidations completed in a record time of fewer than five months. Her efforts have contributed to making Postbank one of the largest financial institutions in Bulgaria.
Postbank has a broad branch network across the country and a considerable client base of individuals, companies, and institutions, continuously strengthening its positions as a systemic bank on the market to expand its customer base.
Insights Success caught up with Petia in our endeavor to find “The 10 Most Promising CEOs to Watch in 2022” and talked with her to know how she has embedded the code of success into the DNA of Postbank.
Below are the highlights of the interview.
Mrs. Dimitrova, tell us something more about Postbank and its mission, vision, and values?
In 2021 Postbank celebrated its 30th anniversary. Throughout these years, the bank has proven to be one of the most successful innovating and leading systemic banks in Bulgaria. The numerical expression of success shows that we rank third in loan portfolio and deposits. We are the fourth largest bank in Bulgaria regarding assets, with over ten percent market share, over 200 branches across the country, and more than 100 awards won for our digital innovations and products, services, and social responsibility policies. For us, the far more important indicator is that we have naturally become a trusted partner, preferred employer, and socially responsible company.
We strongly believe in our corporate values – innovation, empathy, meritocracy, social contribution, teamwork, respect for people, trust, efficiency, creativity, quality. These deeply ingrained principles guide the bank’s actions as they serve as its cultural milestones.
Moreover, we have established ourselves as an institution that customers trust and that offers them solutions for their tomorrow. This would not have been possible without the efforts of our entire team. That is why I want to thank all my colleagues, clients, partners, and shareholders as they boldly stand behind our growth plans and the strong international group to which Postbank belongs.
Brief our audience about your journey and what challenges you had to overcome to reach where you are today?
I am proud of all professional successes since we achieved them together with our team. We have overcome the challenges and achieved these results with hard work and by striving to move forward together constantly. Let me point out our most important successes as they are part of our history and all valuable for us: the integration of the Alfa Bank branch in Bulgaria in 2016, as well as the successful acquisition of Piraeus Bank Bulgaria in a record short period of 4 months in 2019.
These achievements would not be possible without the efforts of our entire team. Therefore, we are definitely proud that they were highly esteemed by the prestigious World Finance Digital Banking Awards 2020 competition of the trusted “World Finance Magazine. ” The awards are in the Best Consumer Digital Banks and Best Mobile Banking Apps categories. And for the fourth year in a row in the same prestigious competition, Postbank won in the Best Retail Bank 2021 category.
In 2021, the wreath of these achievements came with the award in the Efficiency category of the Annual Awards of the Bank of the Year Association. It is extremely important to us as efficiency is one of the most significant and leading factors in the banking sector and in business as a whole. This recognition will motivate us to continue ahead, reaching new highs.
How are you leveraging tech innovations to make your solutions resourceful?
The main focus is developing the bank’s digital solutions as a part of our strategy to provide an excellent customer experience for every consumer. Guided by this idea and corporate philosophy, we offered our customers our unique for the market mobile wallet of a new generation ONE Wallet, which offers the consumers even more banking services through their phone. It practically gives them instant contactless access to basic banking services because they transfer their physical wallet to their mobile phone. They can add all their bank cards and manage them freely and efficiently, thanks to the rich set of functionalities built into the application.
We once again strengthened our position as an innovation leader in the sector by successfully incorporating the most state-of-the-art and effective customer communication solution.
Could you shed some light on how your Smart POS turns a smartphone into a POS terminal?
With this service, we continue contributing to the development of the digital ecosystem, and we are rightly happy to be the first bank in Bulgaria to offer a convenient and simple solution for contactless payments to all retailers. This innovative service that contributes to mobility – which is key for the effective growth of many industries – is attractive not only to the smallest niche businesses but too large corporate customers as well. Smart POS by Postbank is coming to further build on the established POS business model and to make contactless payments much more accessible and convenient to retailers. This will broaden the access of end customers to contactless payments, which is not only convenient but also extremely important in the pandemic situation. Using the capabilities of modern technologies in banking, we once again meet our customers’ need for speed, ease, and accessibility of the services we provide.
What, according to you, could be the next big change in the banking industry? How are your digital express banking zones preparing to be part of that change?
One of the major innovations we carried out at Postbank was the express banking digital zones that were immediately recognized as a preferred alternative to banking at a counter. Thanks to the intuitive devices in these zones, customers can easily and quickly carry out a major part of main banking transactions themselves after identifying with their debit or credit card, with no need to be registered for the bank’s online banking. Our customers’ needs are of greatest importance to us, and we will therefore continue offering new solutions for managing their finances. One of our main goals in this process is to create high-quality products providing them with the necessary security of the investment.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future goals for Postbank?
The main focus is to develop an even more ambitious growth strategy. The merger with Piraeus Bank in 2019 was a key step in our development because now we can give more to the consumers at better terms and conditions – this is the foundation of the consolidation process in the banking sector. At this point of view, we continue to explore the possibilities for new acquisitions on the horizon.
Of course, we continue developing the bank’s digital solutions. The success of the next generation of products and services will depend on our capability to improve customer experience. Those of us who have the attitude of sharing success and who rely on collaborating with consumers, employees, business partners, and the community as a whole will create new development opportunities in a way that benefits all.
We are the first bank that launched instant payments on the market. To respond to the different conditions and the need for even faster services for our individual and business customers, for several months now. Jointly with BORICA – a company providing technology infrastructure of the payment industry, we have been working hard to introduce instant payments.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the Capital Market sector?
Entrepreneurs conquer the world beyond the boundaries of the known. I wish them faith, bold ideas, and enough energy to carry out any plan.
For success, however, they will need a well-functioning team of professionals. Only in this way will they overcome every challenge that life presents.