This year we will discover and examine in more detail how financial services for small business customers are developed in different markets in the Central & Eastern Europe region. In this issue you can read interviews with István Fetter, Head of the Small Business Division at CIB Bank, who offers some insight into the Hungarian market; Arton Celina (CEO at BPB), who discusses what it takes to be a specialized bank for small businesses in Kosovo; and Michal Pawlik (SMEO), who talks about the online factoring market in Poland.
Also, we’ve scheduled a series of events that will help you learn in detail how banks in Hungary are approaching SMEs – during a Study Tour to Budapest on March 30-31, and how FinTechs are approaching SMEs in different markets – during our Study Tour to Berlin on June 22-23. In Berlin, among others, we’ll visit Spotcap, an online lender operating in five countries since 2014. Read our interview with their CEO, Jens Woloszczak.
Additionally, we plan to host a series of local events and webinars, which we will announce on our social media pages. Please follow us there.
Our 6th Annual SME Banking Club Conference will take place on November 25, in the beautiful Zofin Palace in the heart of Prague. The event will provide participants the opportunity to explore, among other topics, insights into the SME banking sector in the Czech Republic.
This year we are also launching the CEE SME Banking Awards – the only SME Banking Awards in the region! The best SME bankers from the CEE region across 5 categories will be awarded during the Awards Ceremony on November 25 in Prague. Join the Ceremony for free to celebrate it together!
As a separate topic in this issue, we focus on artificial intelligence in banking, as this is one of the biggest drivers for change in the financial service industry at the moment. Daniel Huszár gave a snapshot of the paradigm change in computer science decades and how exactly AI is changing factoring services. We also talked with Erik Brieva (CEO at Strands) about how AI is transforming the customer experience in banking and dived deep into some of the most innovative technologies leading the revolution.
I wish you pleasant reading!
CEE Regional Director at SME Banking Club