Visiting OTP Bank as a part of the „Parents at Work” project

A group of Savremena Gimnazija students visited OTP Bank on Tuesday, 24 May. The students of the Combined and National programme who expressed interest to visit the bank were led by Nađa Ćirović, Cambridge Business teacher and Aleksandra Rakić, a consultant and a psychologist.

Our students learned about different banking sectors and basic banking vocabulary

Svetlana Pajević, our student’s parent and the director of the Global Transaction Banking Directorate, welcomed and enabled us to have this fantastic experience. Our students could learn about different banking sectors and basic banking vocabulary (interest rates, loan etc.), about services such as m-banking and e-banking, which have been more in focus regarding client-related operations. The students could also find out about the digital transformation of banking.

Our students met the representatives of different sectors (human resources, PR etc.) which made them realise that in banking there are various professionals apart from those related to economy. The visitors could see the VIP room and the part of the premises designed for employees’ relaxation. All the professionals the students met demonstrated their positive attitude and a highly motivating approach to their field of work, thus inspiring young people to think about their own career path.

We have the most positive impressions and feel thankful for being given the opportunity to see the bank from the inside and meet great representatives of different professions. We talked to Svetlana Pajević, the director of the OTP Global Transaction Banking Directorate, who opened the bank doors to us.

Svetlana Pajević (OTP Bank): We’ve been hiring young people for different forms of internship

What does a bank officer day look like?

A work day of colleagues working in the bank is quite different, as it depends on the scope of activities associated with their specific positions. Our team consists of the colleagues who work in a number of branches, those who work with small and large clients or develop new products and improve the existing ones. Besides, there are those colleagues who take care of employees, the IT sector, than those who are responsible for our safety, but also for the bank image, promoting it and working on its positioning on the market achieving ever better results every quarter. The most important advantage of working in such a large system is that it is’t necessary for a person to come from the banking industry, nor that their education should be finance- and banking-oriented – the systems as large as this one need professionals who have experience, skills and knowledge of various industries.

What makes your bank stand apart?

Given the fact that my career at the bank is 16 years long, I can honestly say that learning opportunities, working in small and large teams, implementation of modern digital solutions are the things OTP Bank offers to everyone who belongs to its system. Looking from the outside, taking the market into consideration, we are the bank which is the major lender to the economy and public and it is the leader in the factoring, leasing and e-commerce service market in Serbia. Being digitised-operation oriented, we introduce innovations with the focus on improvement of digital banking that will enhance our users’ experience. We are especially proud of our strategy of green transition, i.e. dedication to sustainable operations and eco-projects. 

Have there ever been robberies like those in Hollywood films?

We have never witnessed such film scenes as the branches have relatively small amounts of money in their safes. Besides, they are prevented by a high level of safety.

What is actually a bank vault and what is its purpose?

A bank vault is a specially equipped physical space for processing cash. The access to the vault is constantly under surveillance and allowed only to authorised personnel. There money is received, counted, and from there it is distributed to the branch network. From the vault extra money is sent to the National Bank of Serbia or other banks (for example, foreign cash currency which is forwarded abroad).

What are the qualifications needed for your position?

Undoubtedly, I’d single out varied experience in the banking industry, working with various teams with colleagues responsible for major clients in the economy sector. I believe that necessary traits are similar to those required for most positions: good organisational skills, ability to respond in a timely manner, consistency and perseverance in our work, and most of all, love for the work you do.

What are the career prospects in banking open to the young people?

We actively hire the young for different internship programmes, thus giving them the opportunity to familiarise with the banking system. Our experience so far has shown that a large number of these interns continue to grow professionally in our bank. We don’t expect you to have a significant experience at the very beginning of your career, only great motivation and willingness to learn.

Is Internet banking the future of banking?

I am so glad that you asked that. Internet banking is the present and the future of the banking industry. Our m-Bank and e-Bank apps are an excellent example of the benefits online banking provides. The 24/7 access for all the natural and legal persons and entrepreneurs, fast and safe apps, insurance purchase, submitting loan requests, cash loan approval, possibility to use e-wallet, favourable currency exchange rate, communicating with your bank through video-calls and text messages – fancy how much easier your day may be if you can sort out all of the above through your mobile or computer!

How safe is Internet banking?

Safety is at a very high level regarding the services and products alike. For better functionality, a two-factor authentication is used, which means creating a one-time only token for additional data and transaction protection.

What are the challenges arising from this financially unstable global situation and how do you cope with these, keeping the bank stable and reliable for its clients ?

Stability and reliability are at the core of our business, and the satisfaction of our clients is the basis of our operations. We constantly listen to what they need while adapting to the market requirements. Since 2020, when the pandemic started, up to the current developments that affect the whole world, we have realised the key is adjustment. The products and services are shaped with regard to the current situation and, at the same time, we try hard to meet the expectations of our clients and follow their pace, especially as we want to keep our bank the universal one.

Your bank was one of the first which introduced incentives for small and medium-size businesses, such as easier payments abroad, scheduling the market payments without waiting as well as e-counters. How important all of these were to your clients?

Besides all the above mentioned, there is also an ATS option, and when it comes to payments abroad, we are the first bank to have the foreign currency purchase platform, which speeds up the process and offers better exchange rates to clients. The e-counter is a kind of service that enables clients to submit certain operational requests via email or mobile phone, which are then processed by special teams that swiftly and efficiently respond to the clients’ requests. The e-counter allows clients to request bank account statements, open and close their accounts, request various certificates, ask for the loan payment plan etc.

One of your services that we liked a lot was the support for individual experts in the field of healthcare wishing to start their practices and clinics? Could you tell us more about it? How do clients react to your digital assistant Oti and can he make your work easier?

Oti has been with us only for a few weeks so it’s too early to give any comments, but what we do know is that it helps our clients a lot in doing their everyday banking. He is there to inform them about their account balance or about the ATM and branch locations, to help them activate their m-Bank or e-Bank apps, to calculate cash-loan-related requirements, to open the bank account or change the service package, to make an appointment with a personal bank officer etc. A special advantage is that Oti gets in touch with our clients through Facebook, Messenger and Viber. He is so cool that we expect to see him soon on Instagram as well.

If I am not mistaken, your support for the Serbian Olympic Committee has lasted for two decades. Could you tell us more about it?

Support for sport and investment related to it , as well as promotion of the Olympic values present some of the most important segments regarding corporate policy of our bank. I will share with you something interesting that you may not have known: our cooperation with the Serbian Olympic Committee is by far the longest standing sponsorship in Serbian sport. Over the years, we have done our best to promote the Olympic values, sports spirit and a healthy lifestyle, outside the professional sport arena, predominantly among school age students for whom we have organised more than 70 Olympic practice sessions. We have promoted the Olympic values among our employees and bank clients.

What are the benefits that OTP bank offers to farmers in order to support Serbian economic potentials?

We offer substantial support to farmers through our agro-account package and special account offer dedicated to registered agricultural holdings. According to what they need, our clients can opt for working capital loans, investment loans for different purposes, investment loans for purchasing land and overdraft. Using an innovative operating concept that saves clients’ time and funds, new possibilities are created allowing cheaper and more efficient distribution of financial means, available to agricultural producers.

Your bank offers news and information from the world of business and finance through its unique internet magazine Finnovations. Could we expect to see its paper version or maybe introduction of another way of providing info?

I have already mentioned that our strategy, as well as our signature colour, is green. Therefore, we do make an effort to optimise everything that leaves a carbon footprint, whether it refers to our bank or our clients. For that very reason Finnovations will stay in digital format, meaning that you can read them wherever and whenever you want – in your free time, at work, on holiday, on the other side of the globe. The bank-operation-related information we have also been delivering digitally for years, through our publication The News. Besides these two magazines, once a month, through Viber, our clients receive short info entitled Five minutes for Excellence. As its name suggests, this publication was created out of desire to offer exciting current news on events and topics from all over the world, valuable recommendations which are not bank-related, but are there to spark excellence.

I am extremely pleased and proud to be the parent of a Savremena student. During my first encounter with the school management, when I asked about my child’s potential enrolment, I saw how much love, enthusiasm and professionalism you put in your work. I was impressed by your approach, ideas and methods. I couldn’t believe something like this existed in our country! It doesn’t take long to realise that this is a school you would recommend to everyone. Creativity, modern technology, top-quality education, and most of all, the humaneness that can be seen throughout the school, make it truly different and worthy of its name – Savremena Gimnazija. With such an approach, the success of this school and, consequently, our children’s success, is unavoidable. Congratulations! Jelena Đorđević, Andrija’s mum
Contemporary in any sense of the word, our school offers functional knowledge and quality preparation for tertiary education in Serbia and abroad. Implementing modern and creative teaching in the classroom, where the teachers’ pedagogy and students’ performance are aligned with the highest academic standards for the high-school finals, our school develops linguistic, mathematical, scientific, artistic, cultural, technical and ICT competence, which is a prerequisite for further education and professional development. Teaching is supported by the interactive whiteboards and educational software, whereas practice exercises research and critical thinking.