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Milano, 28 November 2002

Všeobecná úverová banka, a. s., Bratislava, has been operating in the Slovak banking market for more than twelve months as member of the banking group IntesaBci. Representatives of VUB and major shareholder evaluated progress in the transformation process and presented their plans and future visions.

 

Bratislava, November 28, 2002 - Všeobecná úverová banka has experienced demanding transformation process since November 2001 when the new strategic partner, IntesaBci, started exercising their shareholder rights. “We are transforming Všeobecná úverová banka into a client focused banking institution shaping and tailoring its activities to market needs and requirements, delivering superior value and quality,” stated Mr. Tomas Spurny, CEO of VÚB, a.s., at the beginning of the press conference.

 

“Restructuring process over the last year resulted in significant changes. VUB has taken a new position on the market and is now a candidate to become the most attractive client-driven and the most competitive bank in the Slovak Republic,” said Mr. Gianfranco Mandelli, the representative of IntesaBci and Vice Chairman of the VUB Supervisory Board when he evaluated the performance of IntesaBci.

 

Mr. Tomas Spurny, the VUB’s Chief Executive Officer outlined the new commercial model of the company’s management. Six out of the seven top management members were appointed to their positions during the past year (see the respective detailed CVs enclosed). Within the transformation process some major changes occurred also at the broader management level: 35% of executive managers came from other companies, approximately 37% of managers were promoted in the bank to top positions from the staff and/or lower management levels and about 27 % of managers in the bank remained in their previous year’s positions. From October 2001 to October 2002, total number of staff declined by 13.4 % to 4,636 employees in a y/y comparison. “Not only we optimise the headcounts but we are also seeking new skills,” said Tomas Spurny. Bank puts strong emphasis on working with human resources. “Employees are our core potential. Therefore, a new compensation system for both the employees and the managers has been introduced. We also focus on the process of integrating the bank into the IntesaBci Group. Currently, a group of ten our managers is taking part in the project BRIDGE, in which managers of the same professions not only from Italy but also from IntesaBci’s subsidiaries in Slovakia, Croatia and Hungary are participating”.

 

Bank strives to achieve perfect operations improving its branch and sub-branch network and upgrading the infrastructure for data transfer to meet the client needs and expectations. Retail operations are being separated from corporate business at the branch level. Twenty-five recently established corporate branches took over the care for corporate clients across Slovakia. Within increasing competition in the Slovak banking market, the new IT strategy, data processing upgrade, and leveraging on IntesaBci’s know-how in the management process pose advantage for the bank.

Tomas Spurny positively evaluated progress achieved in corporate banking. Specifically, he highlighted the new model upon which the relationship managers serve the clients on an individual basis. The VUB has recently recorded their increasing satisfaction.
 

In the lending sector, this year the VUB has launched cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and has prepared a finance program for small and medium enterprises, whereas by the end of October the amount of approved projects exceeds EUR 13 million.

 

In retail banking, the VUB has confirmed its number one position in the market in terms of mortgage loans, volume of which has more than doubled within the past year (growth by 106.4%). Even more considerable growths have occurred in the volume of personal loans extended (by 136.3%) as well as in the interest in mutual fund investment, which recorded an SKK 1.4 billion investment in October 2002 accounting thus for a y/y rise by 329.2%. “In addition to our successful standard products, I am pleased that we have succeeded in introducing new products to the market: be it the credit cards or Alfa packages for affluent clients, sale of life insurance Generali, or most recently Start Konto for the young people of age 18 - 26 years,“ said Tomas Spurny.
 

In November 2001 the bank was the first in Europe to introduce the revolving credit card Mastercard Electronic and a new distribution channel of electronic banking - e-payments to the market. In October 2002 VUB has broken the magic threshold of 200,000 clients using offered forms of electronic banking. Up to this date, the bank registers 100,319 clients, utilising the bank’s services via phone banking. Year on year, this represents a growth by 178.5%. In the same period home banking recorded an increase by 9.5% with 8,802 clients. Internet banking services of VUB were used by 52,499 clients accounting for a y/y growth by 210.4 %. In GSM banking the VUB is pleased with a y/y rise by 168.7 %, i.e. 22,829 customers using the service.

 

The bank’s performance in a y/y comparison records a growth in revenues by 6.6% and in operating profit by 1.9%. The upsurge in VUB’s credibility was closely monitored by major rating agencies, which were gradually increasing the bank’s rating. In September 2002 the agency Standard & Poor‘s increased the long-term and deposit rating of VUB from BB- to BB. In October 2002 the agency Moody‘s increased the outlook of VUB with long-term ratings. In October 2002 the agency Fitch increased the bank’s rating from BB+ to BBB- with positive outlook.

 

“IntesaBci is delighted by the results and performance of Všeobecná úverová banka. Solid foundations were laid between the parent company and VUB and thanks to these we have rolled out several projects with the key objective to offer advantageous and interesting services to the clients in Slovakia,“ stated Gianfranco Mandelli, Vice Chairman of the Supervisory Board. “The main advantage is the transfer of the entrepreneurial culture and technical know-how to the Slovak bank. This combination, if properly introduced in the local markets, works according to our experience very well,“ added Gianfranco Mandelli.

 

The financial group IntesaBci was established as a result of a merger of three key Italian banks, originally known as Banco Ambrosiano Veneto, Cariplo and Banca Commerciale Italiana. In terms of total assets and volume of equity the financial group IntesaBci ranks as the largest bank in Italy and as one of the major banks in Europe. Its client base consists of 13 million clients, 9 million thereof in Italy and 4 millions abroad. Within the region of Central and Eastern Europe IntesaBci, besides Slovakia and the Czech Republics, develops its business activities also in Hungary and Croatia, controlling the fourth and the second largest local bank, respectively, CIB and Privredna banka Zagreb.

 

Information for media:

Marián Horváth, VÚB, a. s.

Bank’s Spokesman

PR and Communication Department

Tel.: +421-2-5055 2424; 0905 393 047



 

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