Gránit Bank was established in 2010 to provide high quality financial services for Hungary’s small and medium-sized enterprises and retail clients. Until then, it had been operated as a subsidiary of Westdeutsche Landesbank from Germany.
Today, Gránit Bank is majority owned by Magyar Tőketársaság, a holding of the construction industry magnate Sándor Demján. Further on Ms Éva Hegedüs, deputy Chairperson and CEO of the bank became shareholder and later on five other Hungarian private investors acquired shares. In 2013, the Hungarian government invested into the bank according to EU market economy investor principle.
“Hungarian State purchased newly issued shares as a private investor and Mr Sándor Demján keeps all the management rights,” explains CEO Éva Hegedüs who has many years of experience in both commercial banking and public administration in top executive positions. “A number of banks are rather concerned with balance sheet adjustment and handling of non-performing loan portfolio due to high ratio of FX denominated loans rather than focusing on new business, providing a good opportunity for smaller lenders like us to gain market share quickly.”
Since its foundation four years ago, Gránit Bank has developed very successfully. Having had to start almost from scratch, the commercial bank has managed to grow its balance sheet total more than ten times to 72.8 billion HUF. “We have cash holdings of more than 35 billion HUF, which makes us one of the most liquid banks in Hungary,” states Ms. Hegedüs.
Gránit Bank aims to operate as a direct bank without a costly brick and mortar network to offer the most attractive, competitive conditions. Believing that banking can be simple, quick and convenient, it has introduced Hungary’s first live VideoBank which earned it the 2012 Master Card Europe award as Hungary’s most innovative bank. “Through our VideoBank, the customer can contact personally with a consultant using his PC, tablet or smartphone, receive documents online and conclude transactions,” Ms. Hegedüs describes the unique, convenient banking solution which is available to the bank’s customers from 8 am to 9 pm.
Gránit Bank also offers new clients a very convenient way to change their bank through the bank’s website. “It only takes six minutes to set up a new online account with us,” says Ms. Hegedüs. Gránit Bank is a full-service bank covering the full range of banking services, from current accounts and savings plans to overdrafts and mortgages.
The bank offers retail banking clients customized accountkeeping solutions and a wide variety of value-added services such as the Platinum PayPass Debit Card, which includes comprehensive accident insurance for customers who travel extensively or practise high-risk sports, or a Priority Pass offering special services at more than 600 airports around the world.
The marketing strategy of Gránit Bank is rather conservative and targets retail and commercial banking customers with an immaculate track record and excellent credit worthiness which are open to innovative, easy-to-use, convenient banking forms. Gránit Bank has ambitious plans and aims to generate a profit this year. “We are very confident to achieve this goal which no other greenfield investment in the Hungarian banking industry has managed to this date,” explains Ms. Hegedüs.
The bank’s expansion strategy also includes acquiring foreign investors as customers. “Through our VideoBank, we are perfectly equipped to cater to clients outside Hungary, too,” says Ms. Hegedüs. Gránit Bank also has plans to go public within the next three years to finance the bank’s uninterrupted growth. “Our objective is to become one of the leading fullservice banks in Hungary,” states Ms. Hegedüs.
In developing its ambitious growth strategy, Gránit Bank can build on a unique combination of assets: a majority owner who had the courage and farsightedness to establish a new lender in the middle of the European financial crisis, an innovative business model reconciling the services of an all-purpose bank with the opportunities of the Internet and mobile technologies, a professional management with profound experience, excellent reputation and above-average commitment and – last but not least – highly qualified, motivated employees in key positions in both retail and commercial banking.
Gránit Bank is operating in a sector which is currently characterized by low profitability, which is mainly a result of imbalanced portfolios, believes Ms. Hegedüs: “Banks need to have a more longterm orientation and invest more conservatively. One should never forget that banking is a conservative business. Those who forget will pay a price. Those who adhere to the principles of conservative investment will benefit in the long term.”
As one of the fastest evolving commercial banks in Hungary, Gránit Bank is a very attractive employer. The bank has rigorous selection procedures, though, to ensure that only the best are hired – for every area of expertise. “Our business model demands a great deal from our staff,” says Ms. Hegedüs. “Those who want to succeed need to enjoy their work, consider it an enriching experience and regard problems as challenges.”