Banca Transilvania has made innovation its main specialty throughout the past year. Its latest break last week was the launch of the first platinum credit card in Romania.
The most exclusive credit card on the market can only be acquired by people whose monthly incomes are higher than EUR 3,500. It comes with two additional cards: Priority Pass and Priority Traveler. The two bonuses give high-end clients easier access to select hotels or clubs, golf courses around the world, various discounts and preferential banking services.
BT hopes to get the 500 richest people in Romania to sign up for its Visa Platinum card in a year or so, which would be enough to make the product profitable for the bank, said retail banking manager Gabriela Nistor.
The bank was already market leader for the premium credit card segment, having already issued 42,000 MasterCard Forte cards and 5,400 Visa Gold cards before launching its latest product. Its market share on the gold segment went up to 25 percent last year which surpassed its rivals.
Aside from the credit card business, BT has also come up with novel projects for the SME segment, aiming to become “the SMEs' bank” in Romania. Every three months, a new product for such companies is launched. Eight have already been introduced to bank clients.
A club – Clubul Intreprinzatorului – has also been set up to cater to entrepreneurs' business needs. About 110,000 small and medium enterprises have already opted for the bank's products, thus propelling it to second position on the market with a share of 14 percent.
As a general objective, Banca Transilvania general manager Robert Rekkers said this year's objective was to reach a total of one million clients that consider BT their main bank.
All in all, the bank's innovative moves, especially as regards enterprises, placed it high in the profit charts. Last year's revenues were 20 percent higher than 2005's, reaching EUR 35.3 million.
“We have grown more than 60 percent last year on the SME segment,” said Rekkers, adding that corporate loans represented 57 percent of total credit at the end of 2006.
Aggressive expansion strategies have also been employed so that BT offices number 60 percent more compared to 2005.
Continuous growth and an increased dynamic have turned BT into one of the most successful local businesses, a stock exchange blue chip and a constant target for takeovers. However, profitability makes prospects of a sale remote.