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The Warsaw Voice » Business » August 26, 2010
Business & Economy
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A Bank for Discerning Clients
August 26, 2010   
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Magdalena Rokosz, member of the board at DZ Bank Polska SA, talks to Magdalena Łasak.

What is special about your bank?
We have been operating as DZ Bank Polska since 2003. We are part of DZ Bank, one of the biggest financial groups in Germany. This affiliation not only guarantees stability and security, but also allows us to draw on the extensive experience and know-how of our shareholder.

In Poland we have branches in Warsaw, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk and Katowice. We are a modern bank for medium-sized and large companies, Polish and foreign. The service range also includes private banking addressed to the owners and managers of the companies that are our clients.

Clients are the most important to us, not the range of services we offer as such. True to our mission, we want to be the first choice in banking for discerning clients, offering them the highest quality of products and services. Apart from a broad range of modern products, our distinguishing feature is also an individual and flexible approach to our clients’ needs as well as highly qualified staff. To our clients, we want to be a partner in the fullest sense of the word, so our business model focuses on establishing and maintaining long-term relationships. In this context, communication is of the utmost importance. We talk with clients about their expectations, about what they need and what we can give them. We know that it’s only by being close to our clients that we can offer them the service they need and support their future growth.

Entrepreneurs complain that banks have stopped handing out loans so willingly. What about DZ Bank Polska?
That banks have to be more cautious and evaluate credit risk more strictly during a crisis is just one side of the coin. Many Polish companies are in a tough situation because their equity share in the balance sheet was insufficient. In fact, they often seem to think that supplying bigger and bigger loans to finance operating capital and thus secure companies’ liquidity is a bank’s obligation. But a bank granting a loan is taking a risk, and companies do not always understand that this has to be reflected in the cost of financing.

Thanks to a solid foundation consisting of a strong capital base, effective risk management, strict cost control and conservative risk assessment, DZ Bank Polska has managed not only to build a quality loan portfolio but also to increase lending volume during the crisis. In our loan products, the governing principle is adjusting the proposal to the needs but also the capacity of our client. If a client has a good business plan, knows what they want to achieve, they will be able to win us over, of course as long as the price reflects the risk we as a bank take upon ourselves. We have recently made many decisions on long-term financing, which proves we are not refusing to support our clients’ investments and ideas, even in tough times.

What products do you offer foreign investors?
I have worked in banking almost 20 years, and have been with DZ Bank Polska for a year, and I can say without bias that we have a truly comprehensive range to offer. Apart from financing, this covers a wide array of products supporting company operations. From a foreign investor’s viewpoint, important products include trade finance products (guarantees, letters of credit) and Treasury products which not only enable clients to exchange currencies but also safeguard them against interest rate or exchange rate risk. Ours is one of few banks in Poland offering direct transactions protecting against commodity price change risk (for example involving gold, oil, agricultural raw materials etc.). Thanks to our subsidiary DM AmerBrokers we have extensive experience in brokerage services.

No less important is the advanced internet banking system launched this year, also available in English and German, and the fact that our staff speak both these languages. To sum up, in accordance with our motto and in dialog with our clients, including foreign investors, we have a tailor-made proposal for them.

You have won substantial recognition lately, including first place in the corporate bank category in a league table compiled by Bank monthly. What is the recipe for success in your sector?
Every award is a pleasant surprise, especially since it confirms that our development strategy works. This is the second time in three years that we have received the title of Best Corporate Bank from Bank monthly. Of our many awards, I also place high value on being a winner in the Human Capital Investor program. This places us among companies appreciated for the concern they show for their employees and for developing their skills. Investing in people is one of our priorities because it is thanks to them that we continue to develop.

As for a recipe for success, focusing on clients is very important to us. A dialog with clients and shared decisions regarding various alternatives lead to the best solutions, for both the client and the bank. Risk management is also very important, understood not as avoiding or refusing transactions but as designing strategies creating the greatest added value using the capital we have at our disposal. Finally, there is modern technology, which enables us to act effectively, efficiently and quickly while reducing operation risk.
In other words, customer orientation, risk management and modern technology are three pillars that support success in banking.
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