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Raiffeisen Bank and its role during and after COVD-19 pandemic

Evis ÇELIKUHead of Retail Risk DivisionRAIFFEISEN BANK ALBANIAA brief description of progress of loan applications and approved cases (business or retail segment, products: personal, mortgage, working capital, for investment, etc.) Loan payment holiday applications have come from both sectors: business and individuals, as well. Their biggest flow was scored over the first two months, and now its declining. Raiffeisen Bank applied the full support approach to all customers who have applied to our bank, as well as a more specific treatment for all those customers who have experienced repayment difficulties, even before the pandemic. Given the loan portfolio characteristics of the retail segment at Raiffesien Bank, the vast majority of applications (about 98% of total) came from Individuals. When it comes to loan products, we have an equal distribution of volumes between secured and uninsured loans; regarding the number of applications, the trend is inclined more towards uninsured loans, where personal loans account for 75% of the total. What problems accompanied the loan re-scheduling process? Loan repayment holiday process is a process that normally requires individual commitment between the bank and the client. The high number of applications received during this moratorium period, the bank's responsibility to respond to customers within 3 days from the application date, and quite limited movements during this period, due to pandemic restrictions, required maximum commitment from our staff, but all this would have been very difficult to cope without the help of digital platforms, the Raiffeisen ON application and the bank's website, by keeping the main focus on the health of our staff and customers, as well as on increasing efficiency, in response to such specific situation.During this period, some misunderstood concepts by the specific situation, were clarified, such as: the perception of the moratorium as a total forgiveness/cancellation of loan obligations by the bank, for the period in concern, or the automatic application of moratorium process for all clients during the such period, by not applying or showing up at the bank, which led to arrears, for a part of clients, during this period. Do you think that the postponement of loan installments will impact the bank's annual financial result? The moratorium itself has been accompanied by facilitating and supportive decisions in favor of commercial banks, thus eliminating the effects that such delays would, during normal situations, impact financial statements and risk parameters, not only by the Bank of Albania, but also by the European Banking Authority. However, we cannot say that these measures alone would fully guarantee immunity, as such impact is also directly related to further developments in the country’s economic situation, how business recovery will carry on and how they will operate under a new reality, or format. On the other hand, Raiffeisen Bank, through its established structures, has taken all measures to avoid, or mitigate a crisis situation in the future. Are there new loan applications during this period, and of what kind of nature? We remain fully supportive to businesses and individuals, by assessing the risk of the situation objectively and accordingly, especially that of industries most affected by the pandemic. Supporting programs with sovereign guarantee funds were and are very important tools for loan financing during this period. Since Raiffeisen Bank also operates online, in addition to physical branches, it has enabled getting and processing new borrowing applications. Certainly, there have got new loan applications during this period, although numbers are much lower, compared to the period before Covid-19. Their trend has been increasing since May, while a number of applications have been made upon the sovereign guarantee fund and we are ready to welcome and handle our clients’ applications.