Management of the Covid emergency

Our response to Covid-19: more technology, more innovation, more attention to people

Innovative, digital, smart

The pandemic drives modernisation at Banca Ifis

The pandemic called for the banking sector to reflect upon its role and implement a deep change.
The healthcare emergency accelerated innovation and digitalisation in our relationship with customers and our approach to work.

The use of digital technology and the desire to innovate are the distinctive features of our growth. Also thanks to this drive, in future Banca Ifis will be innovative, increasingly digital, with a focus on sustainability, simple: exactly like the unique customer experience we are building.

At the height of the Covid-19 emergency, we accelerated a series of digital transformation initiatives and we made an important technological leap also in liaising remotely with our customers.”

Ernesto Fürstenberg Fassio, Deputy Chairman at Banca Ifis

Customer management

With social distancing, we have now become used to employing digital technologies in liaising with customers.

Working from home

The use of remote work, which was inescapable to face up to Covid-19, has led to the creation of new and effective approaches to work.

Trust in digital technology

New and entirely digital products and offers have been created: tailored to the contingent situation, but meant for the long run.

Sustainability

The emergency revealed the value of a responsible development path.
Sustainability is a strategic driver that propels the banking sector as well.

Looking ahead, by definition

The global difficulties imposed by an exceptional situation have not halted our development plans: a new brand, a new way of organising our business, substantial investment in digitalisation.
We have never stopped: we’re the Bank of real economy and we are ready to take the leading role in its recovery.

2020 at a glance

2020

The rebranding year

68.6
m €

Net profit of the Group

11.77
%

CET1

“2020 has been an unprecedented year for everyone and we have faced it with a great sense of responsibility and solidarity. We have done so by focusing primarily on human capital, we have done so by guaranteeing our support to real economy. During the course of the year, we have also seized new market opportunities. We are ready to knowingly face up to future challenges, like digital transformation and sustainable transition, projects on which we have invested and we will keep on investing.”

Sebastien Egon Fürstenberg, Chairman at Banca Ifis

A challenge shared together

The healthcare emergency has led people and companies to face unimaginable trials.
We have tackled new customer needs and provided support to communities, ensuring the health and safety of our people.
We believe that creating value means doing so together.

95% of employees worked from home from day 1 during the peaks of the epidemic.

Goodmorning Ifis daily newsletter to keep Ifis employees up to date.

  • At the end of February 2020, Banca Ifis set up a Crisis Committee to ensure the rapid and responsible adoption of decisions/measures regarding the protection of the health of colleagues and the workplace, in compliance with decrees and ministerial indications, OSM and the Italian Banking Association (ABI).
  • Working from home was immediately encouraged and promoted, with immediate application to situations involving greater ‘fragility’: Law 104, immunocompromised individuals, pregnant women, colleagues with previous diseases. It later also included parental leave and in three weeks remote work was fully applied to 93% of the Group’s workforce and gradually extended in March and April to approximately 95% of employees.
    According to a recent survey conducted by SWG, 88% of the Bank’s employees considered working from home a positive experience: 6 out of 10 believe that working from home is a form of inclusion for those with specific or family-related needs that allows them to manage their work more flexibly. It is also perceived as a good way to overcome differences, promote solidarity and increase productivity.
  • The closure of branches in the most critical areas was arranged immediately, with the simultaneous launch of all procedures to manage our customer portfolio remotely.
  • The Bank extended its health insurance coverage to Covid-19 for all its employees in the event of hospitalisation following a positive Covid-19 diagnosis.
  • An internal newsletter called “Goodmorning Ifis” was launched to provide correct information to its employees and constantly keep them up to date. The newsletter is sent out every morning at 8:30 and provides Ifis People with the main national and international news.
  • To foster a sense of community and belonging even remotely, contests dedicated to Ifis People and biweekly meetings with management have been launched to stay abreast of projects launched by the Bank.
  • Plus, a partnership has been set up with Gymapass, a wellness platform that allows you to exercise anywhere, even at home, and to take care of your health with a number of customisable digital options.

A digital platform has been created to manage the allocation of the new loans of the Cura Italia decree

97% approval rate for moratorium requests

  • Full compliance with the provisions of the Cura Italia decree, the Liquidity decree and the ABI credit agreement.
  • Constant contact and dialogue with customers: the Bank entered ‘remote’ mode, following requests and finalising new contracts, thanks to the digital signature and the exchange of documents via certified e-mail.
  • In just a few weeks, a digital platform was set up to make the allocation of new state-backed loans of the Cura Italia decree more efficient.
  • Over 17,000 requests 1 for moratoriums were received and over 97% of them were approved, 80% of which were lease loans.
  • The Bank examined the option of granting deferred payments for assigned debtor factoring, on an average of 30 days (maximum 60 days). The possibility of reaching up to 100% of the advance on existing receivables was considered for customers.
  • Banca Ifis opened credit lines dedicated to client companies that converted or upgraded part of their processing supply chains to produce face masks, sanitising gels, technical material for the Italian Civil Protection authority, machine components for patient oxygenation, plasma treatment and blood products.
  • Immediate liquidity was granted to pharmacies, if they had to be closed due to Covid-19, for the number of days they were shut down and up to a maximum of 30 days.
  • During phase 2, Banca Ifis set up leasing and rental financial solutions to manage new types of assets related to the Covid-19 emergency: body temperature monitoring equipment, contactless infrared thermometers and air purification and filtration equipment.
  • On 5 June 2020, an agreement was signed with Veneto Sviluppo and Veneto’s regional authority to grant subsidised loans to support the liquidity of local companies affected by the Covid-19 emergency.
  • On 20 July 2020, the Bank signed an agreement with the EIB for new loans worth € 50m in total to support small and medium-sized Italian enterprises. The agreement is part of the ‘Covid-19’ pan-European project.

Data as of November 2020

‘L’Italia Chiamò’ initiative: donation to the Italian Civil Protection authority for the purchase of an intensive care station.

Support for the ‘One night in Portofino’ event, whose proceeds were donated to the San Martino Polyclinic Hospital in Genoa.

Banca Ifis plays an active role in the development and promotion of the communities in which it operates, thanks to various initiatives, ranging from participation in national projects to the support of national and local non-profit organisations and bodies, up to the promotion of social solidarity initiatives.

In 2020, the Bank’s commitment took concrete form through partnerships, agreements and donations involving non-profit associations, social enterprises and charities, with a special focus on children and those in difficulty, for whom the Bank chose to intervene actively with various projects.

Far away and yet close

We like to think and act as a team.

We have done so during the heights of the pandemic, when distance might have been an insurmountable obstacle. Thanks to the launch of Ifis4you, our redesigned corporate intranet, we have developed various initiatives to involve our employees.

Every day, at 8:30am all Banca Ifis employees received – regardless of where they were working from – a newsletter with updates and news.

A digital wall on our intranet where to share daily pics from your workstation while working from home, to create a sense of solidarity, community and belonging, even remotely.

In the aftermath of the pandemic

How we see the future

The right alchemy between technology and the human

During lockdown, Banca Ifis accelerated the digitalisation of processes with a fast, efficient and single-channel approach.

The pandemic has led to a strong acceleration of digital adoption by SMEs (as also detected by our SME Market Watch of December 2020) and in the use of remote collaboration systems. As a result, these trends have generated additional demand for speed from customers. Speed ​​was already one of our distinctive features, but the investment in digital instruments will enable us to keep on heading in this direction.

We aim at incorporating new technologies into the Bank’s processes and providing customers with an experience tailored around their business. Digital technology will mainly allow for automated back office management, thus freeing up time to focus people and skills on consultancy activities with a higher added value.

At the end of February 2021, the Bank launched a new digital lending platform for SMEs: an agile and entirely digital service covering all the application processing, assessment and disbursement stages of the loan. Thanks to this new instrument, customers can request and obtain a mortgage backed by the MCC Guarantee Fund remotely and entirely digitally.

The digital lending platform, which is part of the WIfis4business” programme, comes after the extensive digitisation of the Supply Chain, already carried out in 2020 with the aim of enhancing the role of the ‘assigned debtor’ within the supply chain factoring in order to facilitate the operation of the entire supply network.

To issue online loans effectively, Banca Ifis will fully redesign processes in order to create a customer-friendly, simple and immediate environment. The approach will be truly customer-centric, with the focus on entrepreneurs and this will apply to every physical and digital channel, to give them the best possible experience. This way, the Bank will not act as a simple lender but as a partner, to support supply chains and economic recovery.

The path that Banca Ifis intends to take is the right combination of technology and human factor by applying our credit expertise to the digital world: leaving the more operational activities to technology and robotics to improve customer response times, while reducing costs, and focus people on analysis and verification activities, which have a higher added value.

The sustainable evolution of NPL management

The Covid-19 crisis has hit families and businesses hard, leading them to value to cooperation and collaboration in every activity. Ethics, interaction and transparency are, already now, the fundamental characteristics on which the daily management of Banca Ifis’ impaired loans is based.

To keep on heading in this direction, Banca Ifis will pursue, with ever greater determination, a virtuous strategic model in which every action is sustainable for the customer, for the Bank and for the system in which the Bank operates. It is about adopting an approach designed around the customer, combining the expertise of human resources and new technologies.

This goal will be pursued by improving staff training in relation to customer relationship management, increasing the use of digital technology (e.g. artificial intelligence in allocating assignments and robotics for repetitive activities such as reconciliation of proceeds) to make processes more efficient and retraining staff to carry out activities with a higher added value and, last but not least, by enhancing the monitoring and alert system to improve the collection process in terms of customer service.

Investments in NPL portfolios will increasingly focus on:

  • A multidisciplinary character, thanks to a team with vertical experience in the sector and, at the same time, legal, economic and statistical expertise;
  • Speed, which benefits from a flexible and proactive attitude towards all asset classes;
  • Solidity and continuous innovation in valuation models.

The investment goals will also be achieved through partnerships or co-investments.

“We have always had maximum respect for Businessmen and Companies and are committed daily, especially now and faced by the complex pandemic scenario, to providing an effective answer to all their requests, proposing the best financial solutions based on their needs and emergencies: from support for working capital to loans for new investments needed to sustain the growth of business and the Country’s recovery.”

Raffaele Zingone, Co-General Manager and Chief Commercial Officer of Banca Ifis

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