ProCredit Bank Kosovo
While tensions between the Albanian majority and the Serb minority have a long history, the conflict at the end of the 1990s was a result of growing hostilities between the Yugoslav state and the emerging Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). After Yugoslavia increasingly violated human rights in Kosovo, NATO intervened, using force to resolve the conflict. An internationally engineered peace agreement was signed by Yugoslavia and representatives of the majority Albanian population in early June 1999.
Following the end of hostilities, Kosovo became a UN protectorate under the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999). The Constitutional Framework created in April 2001 defined the powers of the provisional institutions of self-government in Kosovo, although the UNMIK continued to have the final say in many key areas.
In February 2008, Kosovo declared its independence and is now known as the Republic of Kosovo. On 22 July 2010, the International Court of Justice ruled that Kosovo's declaration of independence did not violate international law. As of August 2013, the Republic of Kosovo had been recognised by 104 UN member states. In 2012 the young state had a population of 1.8 million.
Over the past two decades, a new class of small entrepreneurs has evolved in Kosovo – a process triggered by the Yugoslavia’s dismissal of ethnic Albanians from formal-sector employment. Although Kosovo's infrastructure and many larger enterprises are weak, the small enterprise sector is thriving. The resilience of this sector was particularly apparent just after the 1999 war, when, even in the worst-affected areas, small entrepreneurs were back in business very soon. The development of small businesses in Kosovo is considered to play a crucial role in the path towards economic development (source: Ministry of Trade and Industry of the Republic of Kosovo, 2013, “Private Sector Development Strategy 2013 – 2017”).
At the end of the war, the local financial system was basically non-existent. Yugoslav banks had pulled out, taking their customers' deposits with them. For more than six months, no banks operated at all. The centralised payments system, which was similar to that in other parts of the former Yugoslavia, had also ceased to function.
In November 1999, UNMIK established the Banking and Payments Authority of Kosovo (BPK) as the regulatory authority for the emerging banking sector. In 2006 this institution was transformed into the Central Banking Authority of Kosovo (CBAK). The new institution performed more functions and had greater financial independence than the BPK. However, its mandate did not include the formulation or implementation of a monetary policy, since Kosovo has adopted the Euro as legal tender for all payments. In June 2008, by an act of the Kosovo Assembly, the CBAK was succeeded by the Central Bank of the Republic of Kosovo.
During 2009, Kosovo joined the IMF and the World Bank, creating new opportunities for economic development and for meeting macroeconomic challenges. In 2013 Kosovo became a member of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
Today, the financial sector in Kosovo continues to perform on a highly sustainable level. In 2012, domestic credit to the private sector was equivalent to 37.4% of GDP (source: World Bank, Country at a Glance Kosovo, http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/kosovo, and World Bank, Domestic credit to private sector (% of GDP), Kosovo, http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/FS.AST.PRVT.GD.ZS). The financial sector’s key stability indicators and the quality of its lending portfolio remain satisfactory. The unfavourable financial developments in the Euro zone have affected Kosovo’s economy and financial sector to some degree; however, the country’s low level of integration into the global economy has significantly decreased the impact of the global financial crisis in Kosovo (source: Central Bank of the Republic of Kosovo, Financial Stability Report, December 2012).
On January 12, 2000, ProCredit Bank (originally named Micro Enterprise Bank (MEB)) became the first bank – and for a considerable time, the only bank – to be licensed by the BPK in post-war Kosovo. It was founded by ProCredit Holding and several international financial institutions, including the EBRD, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO), and Commerzbank AG.
In November 2003, MEB was renamed "ProCredit Bank Kosovo". Both customers and staff appreciate the benefits they derive from the bank's status as part of the ProCredit group and the opportunities that it offers for integrated services through collaboration with the other ProCredit banks.
ProCredit Bank Kosovo has benefited from being the pioneer in all areas of banking in post-war Kosovo, and the staff has successfully managed the institution's rapid growth. As of December 2012, it was the largest bank in the market in terms of net loans to the non-financial sector and in terms of the volume of customer deposits (Kosovo Bankers Association http://www.bankassoc-kos.com). ProCredit's current challenge is to build on the successful initial phase by maintaining its leadership role in the banking sector as the market grows more competitive.
ProCredit Bank aims to continue to serve a diverse client base that reflects the full spectrum of individuals, enterprises and institutions in Kosovo – from local businesses, salary-earners and pensioners to international governmental and non-governmental organisations. Today the bank positions itself as a house bank for very small and small businesses and as a savings bank for private clients. At the end of June 2013, the bank had a network of 68 branches covering all the main towns and regions in Kosovo, including rural areas.
ProCredit Bank is maintaining its innovative role in the banking market by introducing technology that makes it more convenient for our clients to use a wide variety of services. These innovations include Internet banking, mobile phone banking, and card payments via ATMs and POS terminals. Recently ProCredit Bank introduced e-Commerce to the Kosovo market, enabling local businesses to sell their products and services online for the first time. E-Commerce is supported by the 3-D Secure platform, another innovation introduced to the Kosovo market through ProCredit Bank. Based on iPIN technology, 3-D Secure makes online shopping even safer for our clients. In 2013, ProCredit Bank also introduced Self Service Corners in its branches, where clients can take advantage of a number of services without having to wait in line.
We are aware that good client relationships and the quality of the services we provide depend on the competence and the ability of our staff to understand the needs of our clients. For this reason, we make significant investments in the recruitment of new staff via the Young Bankers Programme and by supporting the professional development of our well trained and experienced staff members.