Small and medium business is a strategic segment of terabank, and its promotion is one of the most important priorities. That is why the bank is constantly offering new products and various supporting initiatives to small and medium businesses.
A few days ago, the bank released the successful performance figures for its SME portfolio for 2021 as well as its supporting projects and results. Konstantine Makatsaria, Head of terabank’s Micro, Small and Medium Business Management Department, talks about them in detail now.
As mentioned in the published results, terabank has shown positive growth in the field of small and medium businesses. What can you tell us about the specific indicators?
Last year showed tangible results for us in terms of small and medium-sized businesses. The financing rate for the segment increased: the loan and deposit portfolio – by 17% and the number of borrowers – by 26%.
Speaking about the results, it is especially noteworthy that terabank’s loan portfolio expanded in terms of public funding programs last year. The Produce in Georgia program of the Rural Development Agency, for example, within the framework of its Produce in Georgia initiatives, we financed 50 businesses in various fields, including representatives of local production and the tourism industry. Up to 10% of the total number of loans issued by the Agency comes from terabank, which is a very good result.
As I have already mentioned, we worked intensively on agro loans, thus being actively involved in the development of agriculture. The total loan portfolio issued to the agricultural sector is 78 million GEL.
What made 2021 stand out in terms of products and services offered to business customers?
Last year, we offered our business customers important news in this regard, among which was the support for the digitization of small and medium business activities which we focused on. It is this support that made it possible for them to offer an electronic payment system as a separate product.
In addition, we launched a universal cash in & out ATM for business clients which allows you to deposit and withdraw large amounts of money at any time.
Bank support for businesses is of particular importance, especially during a pandemic. Such supporting initiatives have been a major part of terabank’s corporate social responsibility in recent years. How would you assess 2021 in this regard?
Last year, we made one of the main focuses on sharing information and knowledge. To this end, we held information meetings and introduced our products and services to business customers who operate in different regions of the country. It should be noted that a significant part of these meetings was dedicated to the detailed presentation of the initiatives of the Rural Development Agency’s Produce in Georgia program, financing opportunities and preferential business loans.
At the same time, we highlighted the importance of sharing knowledge with business customers. We conducted webinars on various topics, including the perspective of agro-tourism in Georgia and tourism during the pandemic, business digitization, branding, information security, etc.
The year 2021 turned out to be especially important as terabank’s business support direction gained special recognition. The terabank for Business Support project, in which we concentrate a significant effort, won the Meliora Award in the responsible business competition of Georgia. We won one of the top categories – Support for Small Business and Affected Sectors During the COVID-19 Pandemic. A very important project which we implemented in 2020 was to provide a gift package of services tailored to the needs of 50 of terabank’s business customers. This brought real and tangible results to small and medium-sized businesses.
What will be the main points you will focus on in the process of supporting small and medium-sized businesses this year?
Support for small and medium-sized businesses will again be one of the priorities for terabank for 2022. The main emphasis will continue to be on the development of digital products and services, knowledge sharing and the promotion of business development.