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The History, Foundation and Existence of Sparkasse Bank Makedonija

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TheHistory, Foundation and Existence of Sparkasse Bank Makedonija

SPARKASSE BANK MAKEDONIJA AD Skopje as a commercial bank offers a wide range of banking products and services, intended for support, development and financing of retail and corporate clients. As client-oriented, the Bank is present on the Macedonian financial market with 25-years tradition and experience in banking sector.

TheHistory, Foundation and Existence of Sparkasse Bank Makedonija

SPARKASSE BANK MAKEDONIJA AD Skopje, with its own head office in Skopje, located at Makedonija Street no 9-11, was founded as a shareholding company on the 29th of December 1992, when the National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia issued the licence to INVESTBANKA AD SKOPJE for establishing as commercial bank, with shareholding structure consisted of 72% domestic capital and 28% foreign capital. One of the biggest domestic shareholders were the following companies: PIVARA AD Skopje, Fershped AD Skopje and Makpetrol AD Skopje. The roots of the bank are funded since 1977 when it operated as a branch office of INVESTBANKA Beograd, which has own tradition in banking industry since 1862.

After the monetary independence of the Republic of Macedonia INVESTBANKA AD Skopje was among the first two banks which obtained licence for banking operations from the National Bank. Together with five other banks in Macedonia initiated and founded the Macedonian Stock Exchange and she was the first bank in Macedonia which founded its own brokerage company – Investbroker AD Skopje. INVESTBANKA AD Skopje was the first bank that obtained the licence for domestic payment operations in Macedonia and among the first two banks that introduced the e-banking operating services. Since 1998 the Bank was the only provider of IFAD 1 credit line with special division – Revolving credit fund and approved the first loan from IFAD 2 credit line for agricultural development in Macedonia.

With the transaction on the 10th of September 2008, more than 96% of the Bank’s ownership passed into the hands of Steiermärkische Sparkasse Group. During 2009, the Bank went through a transformation process according to the standards of Steiermärkische Sparkasse and Erste Group, which contributed in forming a modern way of organizing the Bank’s performances. Respecting all legal regulations in the state and the principles of the Bank’s business policy, she fulfilled the promises to her shareholders, providing entry of a known financial brand as Steiermärkische Sparkassefrom Graz, Austria.

An important part of the transformation process was also the change of the name of the Bank from INVESTBANK AD Skopje in SPARKASSE BANK MAKEDONIJA AD Skopje in the first quarter of 2010 and followed re-branding process till the end of the year.

In the following years the Bank focused its operations on creating attractive financial offers of new products tailor made according the needs of every member in the family and ensuring progressive care for the clients. The new slogan “Bank of your family” means that the Bank is considering the needs of every member of the family, from the youngest to the eldest.

Sparkasse Bank Makedonija – tradition, reliability and trust!

Tradition, reliability and trust are synonymous with Sparkasse Bank Makedonija, durable values ​​that are part of our and your everyday life, part of our common success. They give us the right to believe in a common future and in the realization of efficient and modern banking. Proof of this statement is the confidence expressed through the achieved results in the past years and the continuous development of the Bank. The bank ended the past 2017 with assets of over 305.5 million euros and nearly 58,600 active clients receiving top banking services in 26 most modern branches throughout Macedonia.

Our mother bank Staermerkische Sparkasse, through the long-standing tradition of nearly two centuries, is a synonym for stability and continuity in the work with a built-in brand Sparkasse with red S.

The red sign S means:

– Reliability, trust and tradition, which makes it a trusted partner for employees and clients;

– A solid business model of a strong and successful group that is resistant to crisis;

– An economically successful concept that follows the principles of social responsibility.

Steiermaerkische Sparkasse Group, with total assets of 15 billion euros, 233 branches and regional centers, about 2,751 employees and about 702,414 clients in Styria and Southeast Europe (according to data from the end of 2017) is the largest regional bank in the south of Austria.

The Group has a long-term and sustainable investment strategy in the region, which makes it a trusted partner and investor behind Sparkasse Bank Makedonija. As a member of Erste and Steiermaerkische Sparkasse Group, Sparkasse Bank Makedonija is part of the strongest group of banks focused on working with individuals and small and medium-sized enterprises in Europe.

Our mission and vision

VISION: a modern bank that meets our clients’ expectations and creates new values for its employees and shareholders.

MISION: positioning among the first three banks in the market by the option of its clients, a bank that realizes their needs and projects.

Objective

Key strategic objective of the Bank for the next five-year period is to continue the process of developing stable and profitable bank, in which the clients recognize a reliable and credible long-term partner mainly through insuring its clients “best customer experience”. Our objective is to exceed our clients’ expectations and build partner relation based on mutual trust and long-term cooperation.

Our strategy

The Bank’s focus incorporated in this Business Policy and Development Plan remains positioned on creating value added for our main target groups:

  • Our clients – we build strong and long-term connection with our clients who are in the center of our operations through securing long-term benefits and providing experience different from that offered by other banks;
  • Our shareholders – strengthening the capital and securing long-term stable operation of the Bank through continuous provision of adequate rate of return, accepting acceptable risk level and sound decisions on resource allocation;
  • Our employees – educated, trained and motivated employees to improve the service quality for the clients and to enhance the operation;
  • The community – raising social responsibility awareness through participation in existing and introducing new innovative projects important for the community.

www.sparkasse.mk

Banking

Mastercard Delivers Greater Transparency in Digital Banking Applications

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Mastercard Delivers Greater Transparency in Digital Banking Applications 1
  • Mastercard collaborates with merchants and financial institutions to include logos in digital banking applications
  • Research shows that ~25% of disputes could be prevented with more details

As more businesses turn to digital payments, and the number of connected devices grows, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: consumers are demanding more clarity around what they bought and who they bought it from.

Most everyone has experienced the frustration of trying to decipher confusing and brief purchase descriptions when reviewing online statements. This confusion forces cardholders to contact their banks unnecessarily to dispute unrecognized transactions, adding extra steps for consumers and generating an array of costs for merchants and banks.

A new initiative from Mastercard and managed by Ethoca, the company’s collaborative fraud and dispute resolution technology, aims to eliminate this confusion and improve the customer experience. All merchants are encouraged to visit www.logo.ethoca.com and upload their logos for inclusion in online banking and payment apps. The merchant logos will be linked to corresponding transactions, adding clear visual cues to help cardholders quickly identify legitimate purchases. Participating merchants are provided an opportunity to simultaneously extend their brand presence as well as eliminate expensive and time-consuming chargebacks. This program is also available to all financial institutions.

Mastercard Delivers Greater Transparency in Digital Banking Applications 2

A recent Ethoca-commissioned Aite Group study of the US market revealed that 96% of consumers want more details that help them easily recognize purchases, and nearly 25% of all transaction disputes could be avoided by delivering these details – including logos. It’s estimated that global chargeback volume will reach 615 million by 2021, fueled in large part by frustrated consumers turning to the dispute process unintentionally.

“With greater digital dependency, having real-time purchase details is critical for consumers, merchants and card issuers alike,” said Johan Gerber, executive vice president, Cyber and Security Products at Mastercard. “We continue to collaborate with industry partners to bring clarity and simplicity before, during, and after transactions. By enriching transaction details, merchants can alleviate friendly fraud, reduce chargebacks and improve the customer experience.”

This endeavour is part of comprehensive efforts to deliver the most efficient, safe, and simple payment experience from the minute a consumer begins browsing to once they’ve made the purchase. This includes Click to Pay, Mastercard’s one-click checkout experience, to the integration of biometrics to secure both digital and physical transactions, and Ethoca’s full suite of consumer digital experience solutions.

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Banking

AML and the FINCEN files: Do banks have the tools to do enough?

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AML and the FINCEN files: Do banks have the tools to do enough? 3

By Gudmundur Kristjansson, CEO of Lucinity and former compliance technology officer

Says AML systems are outdated and compliance teams need better controls and oversight

The FinCEN files have shown that it’s time for a change in AML. We must take a completely new approach in order to catch up with the speed of innovation in financial crime.

Despite what you’ll read in news headlines, we can’t lay all of the blame for anti-money laundering failures at the doors of the banks. The majority of compliance teams are doing what they can, and what they are being asked to do.

Historically, AML has, in large part been a box-checking exercise. Banks have weaved through mountains of false alerts, investigated cases, sent SARs, and then got on with business as usual. In some jurisdictions, banks can‘t even interfere with customers under investigation, in fear of jeopardizing cases.

But the sentiment towards banks’ responsibility in AML is changing. They are increasingly looking at AML as a corporate social responsibility issue and even a competitive advantage. Banks are looking to protect their brands from the horrors of an AML scandal, and as such are taking a more proactive approach.

They are also throwing a lot of money at the problem. Deutsche Bank claims to have invested close to $1 billion in improved AML procedures and increased its anti-financial crime teams to over 1,500 people. Most big-brand banks have a similar story to tell.

With reputation on the line, better AML controls can become good business.

So where does the problem lie?

From the thousands of SARs discovered in the FinCEN files, lack of customer oversight is evident. Banks need to establish a method of knowing their customers through their actions across the organization and beyond the organizational walls. By doing so, banks can better understand AML and compliance risk, which gives them the necessary tools to bar customers from doing business or limiting their activity.

While banks are striving to better enforce regulations by pouring money and resources into CDD and transaction monitoring, forming this type of intelligent customer overview might be the real solution. Proper Customer Due Diligence and customer risk monitoring can only be achieved by continuously tracking customer behaviour and transactional networks. With the latest developments in Artificial Intelligence – that is now possible.

But, the reality for compliance teams is they are hindered by outdated technology in their risk assessment and transaction monitoring systems and because of this, banks are fighting a steep, uphill battle against serious organised crime.

In 2019, the Bank of England issued a statement that claimed: “existing (money laundering) risks may be amplified if governance controls do not keep pace with current advancements in technological innovation.”

I know from my time working as a senior compliance technology officer that many traditional AML systems are inefficient, slow and labour intensive, and often lead to inaccurate outcomes. In fact, most of the systems pre-date the iPhone, so they are using last-generation technology and techniques to detect criminal activity.

In short, legacy AML systems are not fit-for-purpose. Legacy vendors built them for the box-checking world of the past, and they are focused on one suspicious transaction at a time – rather than looking at ‘bad actors’ in the financial system, and patterns in their behaviour.

As launderers constantly evolve their techniques to circumvent rule-based or simple statistical detection, the AML systems market has not kept up. There is a dire need for innovation.

Unless systems are updated, banks can continue to file suspicious activity reports (SAR), but if bad actors can conduct their business ‘as usual’ and shuffle money around the globe to hide its malicious origin, the effectiveness of a SAR is significantly diminished.

What’s the solution?

I believe we need to rethink our entire approach to AML. We need to empower compliance departments with better controls and oversight, and move away from outdated, traditionally rule-based systems and towards a modern, AI-enabled, behavioural approach.

While the bad guys have learnt how to evade rule-based systems, they find it extremely difficult to get around AI algorithms that search for anomalies in behaviour. The advancement of AI algorithms, especially in the field of deep learning, provide an opportunity for banks to detect more complex and evasive money laundering networks.

So the answer is to establish continuous automated risk monitoring and implement a workflow system that provides money laundering risk scores for customers.

The latest AI software could kickstart a new age of customer AML risk-based overview. Instead of relying on static and self-reported KYC data, AI systems can analyse behaviour over a period of time and compare it with peer-groups and past actions. It provides compliance teams with a continuous risk-rating of their customers, actor insights and summaries to facilitate efficient and thorough investigations, and an organizational-wide overview.

Recent advancements in AI have not only made the above possible, but also practical. Our latest Human AI models contextualize and explain the appropriate data, making it easier for banks to spot sophisticated crime.

By looking at AML not simply as a box-ticking exercise, but as a competitive advantage that can increase customers’ trust in their financial institutions, banks have a lot to gain. Moving towards behaviour-based AML systems is a move towards making money good.

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Banking

Local authorities and business networks play a key role in small business success, and must be protected during COVID rebuild

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Local authorities and business networks play a key role in small business success, and must be protected during COVID rebuild 4
  • 23% of UK’s top performing businesses have been supported by local enterprise partnerships and growth hubs
  • Similarly, 30% of Britain’s strongest businesses have obtained external finance in the last 3 years
  • New findings come as part of an independent, holistic study into small business success, commissioned by Allica Bank to support British businesses

A new study, commissioned by business bank, Allica Bank, shows that a high level of engagement and interaction with external institutions and resources, is central to SMEs’ prospects of success.

The study analysed data from over 1,000 companies and ranked their success on a scale that evaluated factors including productivity, growth, consistency and outlook. To measure SMEs’ external engagement, survey respondents were asked whether or not they had engaged with local enterprise partnerships, growth hubs, or external financial advisers, as well as whether they had obtained credit or sought re-financing advice, in the last three years.

The benefit to small businesses in making the most of external resources are clear to see, with a quarter (23%) of the UK’s top performing SMEs – those in the top tenth percentile – actively engaging their local enterprise partnership or growth hub in the last three years. This compares to just 16% of all other small businesses. With such a clear benefit to businesses, these external networks must not only be protected but prioritised by any Government plans to rebuild the economy post-COVID.

Similarly, of the top performing SMEs in the country, 30% have obtained external credit in the past three years, compared to less than a quarter (24%) of all other businesses. This figure drops even further for the weakest performing businesses – those in the ninetieth percentile – where just 12% of businesses have obtained external financial support in recent years.

Chris Weller, Chief Commercial Officer, Allica Bank, said:

“At Allica Bank we understand that no two businesses are the same. We also know that no-one knows a business as well as its owners and managers. But they can’t be expected to be experts on everything.

“In the UK there is a wealth of external advice and support for small businesses and we urge each and every business out there to tap in to the external resources around them. Third-parties, such as business clubs, chambers of commerce, local enterprise partnerships and trade bodies, can be invaluable sources of advice and further resources. And although they have excelled in their given field, business owners may still lack knowledge in many other areas of running and growing a business. Therefore, engaging with third parties can give business owners the kinds of insight – and fresh perspectives – they need to succeed.

“As the economy and the country comes to terms with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important these vital SME resources are protected and given the funding they need to continue providing invaluable insight and support to small businesses up and down the country.”

Allica Bank’s SME Guide to Success identified six ‘rules to success’ that were more likely to be displayed by top-performing SMEs compared to their counterparts. The full report contains a wealth of additional data and insight into each of these topics.

As part of its mission to empower small businesses, Allica Bank is making the findings freely available and running a series of free online workshops with relevant partner organisations for businesses to attend.

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