In most countries, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are still an underserved client group in terms of both the quality and quantity of appropriate financial services available to them, and this is especially true for those engaged in agriculture, small-scale manufacturing, services, and industrial production. Analysing and serving these clients is time-consuming and complex, and demands a high level of expertise and flexibility. Scoring models, such as those used in consumer lending, are of little value for assessing these diverse businesses. That is precisely why they are not treated as a priority client group by commercial banks. We, however, have deliberately chosen to target SMEs because we are convinced that the primary duty of a socially responsible bank is to offer financial services to the productive companies that create jobs, while raising the requisite funds largely from the respective local market.
The “Hausbank” concept means that we want to engage in long-term business relationships by providing our clients with a full range of modern financial services according to their needs and with proper advice given by our well-trained Business Client Advisers (BCAs), who are not driven by a bonus system. Our BCAs are not there just to “sell products”; they are truly there for the clients, as reflected for example in the fact that they visit each of their clients’ business premises at least twice a year.
By the same token, we expect our clients to treat us as their “Hausbank”, meaning that they should conduct all of their transactions through ProCredit and also deposit their liquidity with us. Our aim is to build long-term business relationships characterised by trust between bank and client. Instead of being motivated by bonuses or short-term sales success, our BCAs consider the success of our clients in the long term, which bolsters our responsible approach to banking and helps to build trust.
We offer our clients account services such as e-banking, cards, domestic and international payments and efficient transactions; advice on liquidity management, documentary business and trade finance, as well as savings and personal banking services for the family unit.
Located at the entrances of all our Service Points and Branches, our modern 24/7 self-service areas offer our clients the possibility to make withdrawals, deposit cash (including large amounts of cash via a drop-box), and carry out various transactions such as transfers, account information retrieval, etc. These areas complement our electronic banking services, which are appreciated by our clients for their convenience and efficiency. Our internet platform ProCredit Direct as well as our Service Points with their 24/7 Zones are equipped with the most advanced technology and automation that the financial sector has to offer and this clearly sets us apart from our competitors.
We follow very strict know-your-customer (KYC) principles and anti-money laundering (AML) rules. As a group we are supervised at a consolidated level by the German financial regulators and we comply with all risk requirements in our countries of operation. We take this very seriously and believe that our default rates, which are typically much lower than the sector averages in our respective countries, clearly demonstrate this.