CIB Bank, the Hungarian subsidiary of the several-centuries-old Italian international banking group Intesa Sanpaolo, offers tailor-made solutions and a state-of-the-art digital service portfolio to its clients all over Hungary.
As the Chairman and CEO at CIB Bank, Pál Simák notes to Diplomacy&Trade, “centuries of successful operations are only achievable if you stick to universal values and these values are translated into services. CIB Bank as we know it today, is – compared to Intesa Sanpaolo – a rather young universal financial institution, but still one of the oldest in Hungary. We were already here when the Hungarian two-tier banking system was established at the end of the 1980s, made huge investments to boost the Hungarian economy in the 1990s and 2000s, actively helped the country and its customers to overcome the difficult years of the financial crisis around 2008, and took its role in reviving the Hungary into a booming industry-based EU member country in the 2010s. All these led us to a flexible, stable, innovative and very much customer focused service provider, with nationwide branch network, and state-of-the-art digital service portfolio. The optimal combination of digital and traditional operations makes us cost-effective, offering real value-for-money services.”
Strong international background
As to what it means for CIB Hungary and its clients that Intesa Sanpaolo is behind the bank with its financial assets, extensive experience and international network, the CEO highlights that “our parent company offers solid foundation that enables us to constantly upgrade the quality of our operations. With its market leading processes and know-how, we are able to offer excellent local and cross-border services for retail, small business, SME and large corporate customers. Be it wealth and asset management, private banking, loans, investments, insurance products, leasing, factoring, offline or online, Intesa Sanpaolo’s banking strength is tangible in all aspects of our universal banking activities.”
Supporting corporate clients
As Pál Simák notes, CIB Bank, like most banks, offers tailor-made solutions for which clients mostly require a personal relationship. It means a full scale of cash management and financing products and solutions with dedicated relationship managers and product specialist to solve and give proactive offers on all kind of client’s requests. “On the other hand, we are focusing not just on our clientele but its network too, and not just in Hungary but in all subsidiary banks’ countries where Intesa Sanpaolo operates. That’s why we built a large scale of knowledge about Merger&Acquisition transactions to support domestic and multinational corporates in expansion, or developed fully automated International Confirming service to ease commercial activities in our clients’ supply chain, and this is the reason why we built a cooperation with our sister banks about Commodity Hedge deals to give a solution on the uncertainties of the economy which generates daily issues for corporates nowadays. The biggest value what we can offer for our corporate clients is not purely banking services, but our support in their daily business. Maybe this can make banking loveable.”
Honesty, excellence, transparency, honoring values of the individuals, equal treatment and responsible use of resources – CIB Bank, with its more than 40 years of history in Hungary, follows these values of Intesa Sanpaolo, and implements top-of-class standards in procedures in all aspects of its operations. “Our highly ethical business management is key in our success story, and also in our customer and employee relations. We understand that employee rights are human rights, and by valuing these principles, we have successfully implemented a corporate culture that nurtures talents, encourages the individuals and teams alike, and create a productive climate for highly motivated and customer focused colleagues to meet all kind of customer needs,” the CEO stresses.
Last year, CIB Bank was recognized in two categories in Mastercard’s ‘Bank of the Year’ competition. As Pál Simák puts it, “recognitions from prestigious independent juries are of upmost importance because these represent a highly objective evaluation of our services. Be the recognition about products or creativity, services or brand, we always feel very thankful and use these as new extra energy source to deliver even better in the future. For customers, recognitions are proofs of solidity and transparency, therefore awards are key in customer relations. Key but in a conscious and modest manner: the drive of our business is the constant strive to achieve better customer service, because whatever got awarded in a given moment, it might turn obsolete a few months later.”
In Hungary, CIB Bank was the first financial institution to organize a donation campaign to help those fleeing Ukraine as a result of the Russian invasion. “Our customers were able to send donations to the Hungarian Reformed Church Aid, which is helping refugees from Ukraine, through the CIB Bank Mobile App as part of a fundraising campaign between March 3 and April 11. More than 20 million HUF donations were received,” Pál Simák says.
On the day after the outbreak of the war, the bank immediately donated HUF 1 million each to three major Hungarian charities (Hungarian Interchurch Aid, SOS Children's Villages, Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta). In addition, with the participation of 150 bank volunteers, CIB Bank provided assistance to colleagues and families of its Ukrainian partner bank PRAVEX, providing transfers, accommodation, meals and interpretation at the border.
Sustainability aspects have already played an important role in Intesa Sanpaolo's previous strategy between 2018-21, with the launch of the ‘impact bank’ principle, which means that the Group should have a positive impact on the environment in which it operates and contribute to the creation of sustainability through its own means. ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) aspects will be even more prominent in the strategy approved for the period from 2022 to the end of 2025, and this will obviously also affect the CIB Group. As a consequence, a dedicated person within the Management Board has been given responsibility for this subject, and a several of working groups and projects have been launched, including to comply fully with the requirements of the National Bank of Hungary's Green Recommendation. Banks play a key role in the transformation towards sustainability and support customers (both private and corporate) in raising their awareness.
“In addition to financial profitability, it is also important for us to fulfil our responsibility to society. We minimize social and environmental risks to fully support both our stability and our growth strategy, and strive to create a positive impact for the benefit of our communities and the environment. Our responsibility extends to our external relationships and our contribution to society,” CIB Bank CEO Pál Simák concludes.
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