Modernising banking in Romania: the Raiffeisen Bank approach

Tuesday 25 June 2024 10:42 CET | Editor: Mirela Ciobanu | Interview

Bogdan Popa, VP of Operations & Technology at Raiffeisen Bank Romania, delves into the Romanian banking landscape, focusing on how technology enhances banking services.

Could you please portray the banking landscape in Romania, focusing on its main stakeholders: banks serving the market, consumers, and businesses accessing financial products and services?

The Romanian banking sector has a solid position in terms of capital, liquidity, and profitability, which provides it with a high degree of resilience, a very good capacity to absorb potential shocks, and important resources to continue investing.

Accelerated digitalisation, the adoption of new technologies, and sustainable financing have been key drivers in recent years, and these trends are expected to continue shaping the banking market alongside the ongoing trend of consolidation.


What do you consider to be some areas of improvement in terms of serving tech-savvy customers?

Today's banking customers seek convenience and simplicity in their financial and business interactions through increasing digital engagement. I see three major areas of improvement:

  • Mobile banking: In today's digital age, customers expect to be able to access their bank accounts and conduct transactions from their mobile device;

  • Offering an easy-to-use online account opening process could help attract and retain these customers;

  • Personalisation: Tech-savvy customers often expect a personalised experience when interacting with businesses, including banks. This could include personalised recommendations for financial products and services based on their transaction history, as well as targeted marketing and communication.


How can technology and the use of data enable these improvements? How can you ensure access to good and reliable data?

Improvements can be achieved through significant investments in developing the IT infrastructure that supports customers, including new mobile banking features and apps that make banking services convenient and easily accessible. Automation has the capacity to boost the operational efficiency of banks by reducing errors and speeding up regular operations such as transaction processing, and document verification.

Furthermore, investments in new technologies aim to strengthen the cybersecurity framework, a crucial aspect of modern banking.

At Raiffeisen, we have a special focus on cloud infrastructure. For us, Cloud isn’t just an alternative to the data centre; it serves as a catalyst for our digital transformation. It helps us increase the speed and security of our digital services and improve our ability to come up with customised, efficient, and real-time solutions for our customers.


What role does AI play within Raiffeisen Bank Romania?

As of 2019, Raiffeisen Bank has an AI department built from scratch. Now, five years later, the department has about 30 team members: ML Engineers, ML Ops, Dev Ops, and Data Engineers, and has developed 12 applications using AI models, which have been used by around 3000 of our colleagues.

One of the most recent internal AI projects is ARI an AI-based learning tool specialising in personal financial planning. It is a project we launched at the end of 2023.

Developed using AI technology and designed to significantly optimise the learning speed and efficiency of Raiffeisen's expert teams, ARI is not just an intelligent chatbot, but a comprehensive tool that offers our colleagues advice and accurate information about different services and products.  To give you an idea of how ARI can help – in banking, we have thousands of pages of rules and procedures; ARI is the tool that helps colleagues navigate through all those rules and procedures more easily and quickly.

Besides this, we are giving a lot of focus to AI usage in software development. We know that this is a long road, and we have already embarked on it, and we have already seen the first results.


What initiatives are you currently working on within the bank? What excites you most in your role as VP of Operations & Technology at Raiffeisen Bank Romania?

We went through a complex transformation process. We reorganised our entire IT structure, moving from a classic structure organised around skills to a new way of working divided into 3 areas: Data, Core IT, and IT Delivery.

The new structure is much more customer-centric, with teams dedicated to each customer segment, which adds value and has a positive impact on the business. We started investing in the cloud in 2021. The plan is to have 80% of our applications in the cloud by 2025.


Bogdan shared insights about Raiffeisen Bank Romania's digital transformation at the Unchain Fintech Festival in Oradea, Romania, on June 19-20, 2024.

About Bogdan Popa

Bogdan is the VP of Operations & Technology at Raiffeisen Bank Romania. With over 20 years of banking experience, he focuses on team growth, innovation, and digital and agile transformation.

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Keywords: banks, mobile banking, artificial intelligence, cloud services, cloud banking
Categories: Banking & Fintech
Companies: Raiffeisen
Countries: Romania
This article is part of category

Banking & Fintech


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