The FINANCIAL — Bank Constanta reached a record level and enjoyed a market increase in its key financial performance indicators last year.
Throughout 2011 Bank Constanta witnessed 77% growth in its assets and 71% growth in its credit portfolio, thereby getting into the ten most successful Georgian banks in 2011. The amount of loans issued by Bank Constanta in 2011 exceeded 168 million GEL, an 89% increase compared to the same parameter of the previous year.
“It took a lot of work to achieve this outcome,” said Levan Lebanidze, the General Director of Bank Constanta. “We developed as a micro banking structure because we could serve our clients better. In the micro financing market, small entrepreneurs needed resources to develop their businesses. We have sufficient experience to be able to offer qualified products to small businesses that they really need. This is one reason for our success. Another reason is that TBC has become a new shareholder of Bank Constanta, and lastly that all systems on which we have been working for years showed positive results in 2011,” he added.
The entry of TBC Bank into Bank Constanta’s capital is considered a key event of 2011. TBC Bank now holds a controlling stake; 83 percent of shares in Bank Constanta. “TBC is one of the leading banking institutions in Georgia. It has high level service, high professional ethics and is well experienced in the Georgian financing market. TBC reinforces Bank Constanta’s position on the Georgian financial market and promotes its faster growth. At the same time it is important for TBC to be oriented on a new segment. Bank Constanta gives the possibility to achieve exactly this goal,” Lebanidze said.
“Big competition is being created in the banking sector in Tbilisi and other cities of Georgia. Bank Constanta’s strategy is linked to our interest to operate in the regions as well,” said Vakhtang Butskhrikidze, the General Director of TBC Bank. “The sphere where Bank Constanta operates is medium-sized cities and large villages. The competition is very low there. It was almost impossible to enter this market with our brand and branches. Bank Constanta was a good way for us to expand our outreach via micro financing,” he added.
As well as TBC Bank, Constanta obtained new shareholder Oikocredit, an international investor which holds 11% percent of shares.
Bank Constanta introduced new banking products in 2011, such as consumer deposits, the portfolio of which had reached 14 million GEL as of the end of 2011. On top of that Bank Constanta introduced a plastic cards system, equipping its outlets with automated teller machines.
“We offer a product tailored to our customers’ needs. This is key to our profit as well. For us it is important to work on the deposits market. This issue has not been used by the financial market yet. Accordingly, society needs this type of financial service. We try to give the possibility to them to save money at our bank,” said Lebanidze.
The Bank Constanta outlet network enjoyed further expansion recently, with nine new outlets added to it in different regions of Georgia and three outlets currently under renovation.
The Bank reappeared on the market with a new logo and colour. In addition the Bank concept was also updated to enhance the marketing communications of the Bank. “Constanta was a fund, a micro financing organization and then a bank. During this whole period it was not rebranded once,” said Lasha Gogua, the Marketing Director of Constanta Bank. “We did research on how people perceived our logo. According to this research we found out that many people still perceived Constanta as a micro financing organization. Our message which we gave to the customers with our logo was being understood incorrectly. That is why we decided to update. According to recent research the general population’s attitude towards the bank has changed for the better,” he added.
“As for our marketing efforts, with important social and cultural projects the Bank created one of the largest-scale social media projects in the Georgian bank system. This has been confirmed by thousands of users of Bank Constanta’s Facebook page,” Gogua added.
The successful results of 2011 found a reflection in international ratings and awards too. M-CRIL, an international micro credit rating institution rated Bank Constanta as an alpha+ bank with very high security, good systems. KBS-Publishing, an international publishing company, and its The Banker magazine awarded Bank Constanta for its Contribution to the Development of Small and Medium Businesses in Georgia. Intelligence Group named Bank Constanta a bank committed to its corporate social responsibility.
“Awards are necessary because society sees a bank’s achievements; that the bank is oriented on development and that it is developing correctly,” said Lebanidze.
The Bank set plans for 2012 including increasing its market share in such areas as deposits, credits and operations; Active development of new products; Intensive expansion of the network of outlets and ATMs; Improving the quality of service and increasing the role of corporate social responsibility.
Bank Constanta joined the ranks of Georgian commercial banks in 2008, thereby becoming the first microfinance institution to transform into a bank. The company now provides full bank services to small and medium businesses with its 30 outlets across Georgia. At present, Bank Constanta serves over 32,000 customers across Georgia. Its credit portfolio exceeds 118 million GEL.