Hellenic Bank CEO Oliver Gatzke on Friday said that the bank’s performance in 2022 was very good, amidst difficult conditions, while also outlining the challenges and goals for the new year, according to the bank’s strategic plan.
Gatzke’s comments were delivered during a speech at a 2023 kick-off event held with the bank’s management staff.
Among other things, the chief executive said, Hellenic Bank achieved significantly improved financial results in 2022, combined with a number of other milestones, including the acquisition of a loan portfolio from RCB, as well as the completion of Project Starlight which saw the sale of a significant share of non-performing loans, reducing the NPL ratio to 3.8 per cent.
Also, decisive steps were taken in the direction of digitisation, as well as the rationalisation of the bank’s branch network, processes and cost management, along with the further strengthening of the digital tools that the bank offers.
Gatzke also mentioned the reinstatement of the salaries of the colleagues from the former cooperative bank, as well as the successful completion of the bank’s Early Voluntary Exit Plan, something which the bank considers to be very important.
Furthermore, Gatzke said that was also noteworthy is the fact that after ten years the bank has started paying interest to Convertible Capital Securities (CCS1 and CCS2) holders, while with new lending in excess of €1.2 billion in 2022, Hellenic Bank was one of the main drivers supporting the development of the Cypriot economy.
“The transformation plan is underway,” the Hellenic Bank CEO said.
“We are evolving into a customer-centric organisation, improving the customer experience, through digitisation, simplifying our processes and offering simple and competitive products”, he added, while also thanking the staff for their contribution to the significant achievements of the bank during the previous year.
The basic principles of Hellenic Bank’s strategic plan include the maintenance of a strong capital base and liquidity and continuing its sustainable business model, as well as focusing on the customer by strengthening relationships and further upgrading products and services.
In addition, it also involves a strong emphasis on digitisation and integration of technology in decision-making processes, a strong focus on ESG with a positive impact on society and the environment, sustainability through a reduction of costs and non-performing loans, as well as a merit-based company culture that helps to better utilise the bank’s human resources.
In terms of the bank’s medium-term objectives, these include a reduction of the NPL ratio to 3 per cent, reducing the expense-to-income ratio to 50 per cent, as well as providing new lending of more than €1.2 billion per year.
What is more, the bank’s chief executive explained that the international interest rate environment will continue to support the bank’s financial performance in the coming years.
Hellenic Bank said that it expects pre-tax earnings for 2023 to be higher, primarily due to expected changes in interest rates and an improvement in its cost structure following the successful Voluntary Early Exit Plan completed in November 2022.
Finally, Gatzke pointed out that the goal is to offer a truly digital and omnichannel experience to customers, both individuals and businesses, so that the front office can focus on service and offering the right options and products, understanding the customer’s needs and financing the transition to the green economy.