ProCredit Bank Georgia
Georgia, a small country in the Caucasus with an estimated population of 4.5 million (source: Georgian Department of Statistics), gained its independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Although the country is undergoing rapid reform, it is struggling to achieve political stability, both internally and in its relations with neighbouring countries. In particular, its relationship with its biggest neighbour, Russia, remains strained.
In the past few years, Georgia experienced significant economic problems due to the armed conflict with Russia in August 2008 and the global financial crisis. In spite of these difficulties, from 2010 the Georgian economy started to recover. According to preliminary estimates, real GDP growth was 6.1% in 2012 (source: National Bank of Georgia), despite heightened political tension in the run-up to parliamentary elections. The election process itself went smoothly, and the political situation has remained stable since then.
Very small, small and medium-sized enterprises have a major impact on the Georgian economy. Operating in a broad range of sectors, including tourism, trade, industry and agribusiness, they play a significant role in job creation.
At the end of September 2013, there were 20 banks registered in the country. The banking sector is highly concentrated, with the three largest banks accounting for 69.8% of total assets (source: National Bank of Georgia). Backed by the steadily growing economy (in 2012 GDP growth was 6.1%), total banking assets rose 13% between end-2011 and end-2012 to USD 8.7 billion (source: National Bank of Georgia). Commercial banks have been active in mobilising private clients’ deposits and issuing consumer loans. At the end of the second quarter of 2013, deposits held with commercial banks amounted to 139% of GDP, while the ratio of outstanding consumer loans to GDP stood at 20.5%.
ProCredit Bank Georgia was established in 1999 for the specific purpose of promoting the development of local small businesses. At the end of 2012, it had a network of 58 branches across Georgia and was the third-largest bank in the market in terms of total assets, with a total loan portfolio of USD 440.9 million, and customer deposits totalling USD 323.4 million. In 2012, Fitch Ratings affirmed the bank's rating of “BB”; ProCredit Bank thus carries the best and the highest possible rating in Georgia.
In the coming years, the institution will focus on strengthening its positioning as the "house bank" for small and medium-sized enterprises, offering a full range of convenient and reliable banking services both to businesses and to private clients. The bank also aims to continue building long-term relationships with its clients by offering excellent service provided by well trained and experienced Business Client Advisers.
ProCredit Bank regards environmental protection as a vital aspect of its social responsibility. In 2013 the bank launched a line of “green loans” which are available to finance energy efficient projects. The bank's Eco Unit actively supports the branches in their green finance activities, which include various events aimed at informing clients about environmental issues. Another aspect of the bank’s environmental commitment is the financial and material support it provides every year to one of the largest nature reserves in Georgia, the Lagodekhi Reserve in the Kakheti Region.
As part of the bank’s ongoing efforts to raise the quality of customer service, 2013 saw significant investments in modern infrastructure and technology designed to make standard banking transactions more convenient for its clients. ProCredit Bank modernised its self service areas and introduced a new version of its Internet banking service which will be easily accessible from PDAs and Android phones.
ProCredit Bank Georgia also invests consistently in the recruitment and training of staff, who are responsible for providing our clients with fair and professional advice and for delivering the best possible customer service. A key feature of the bank’s training strategy is the Young Bankers Programme, which seeks to attract recent graduates and young professionals. Introduced by ProCredit Bank in 2011, the programme is recognised as an outstanding initiative in the Georgian banking sector.