Business Review talked to Tolga Banyocu, General Manager at Garanti BBVA Consumer Finance, about the company’s initiative to launch green and sustainable lending products, market trends and consumer behavior of Romanians in 2021, and Garanti BBVA Consumer Finance’s medium-term plans.
- What market trends and consumption behavior of Romanians did you notice in 2021?
Romania’s secret to recovery after the financial crisis of the late 2000s has been private consumption, which has driven the economy back on track. Consumer spending has reached an all-time high in the first quarter of 2020, to RON 44 billion. This is also reflected in consumer lending, which increased by 57% in the last five years, until the first quarter of 2020. The main drivers in this respect were housing loans, which showed a surge of 112% between 2015 and the first quarter of 2020.
Following the first quarter of 2020, the pandemic hit the country and naturally restrictions followed, impacting consumer demand. Nevertheless, this did not last long. Some sectors were more affected, like HoReCa, but consumer demand rebounded back thanks to digitalization and e-commerce. We started seeing consumption reaching RON 42 billion during the second quarter of 2021.
In 2020, e-commerce increased by 30% compared to 2019, with a similar trend expected in 2021 as well.
Looking at the retail loans evolution, new personal loans, without mortgage, registered a year-on-year increase of 54%, while mortgage loans – 31%. This year’s figures are higher than in 2019. Moreover, the number of real estate transactions in the last quarter of 2020 and first quarter of 2021 are around 90,000, 50% higher than a year ago, just before the pandemic.
Therefore, what we see is a very high appetite for household consumption in the Romanian market, with the help of economic development, increasing wages, and also improving integration with the EU, which increases the confidence of the individuals, which is very important in this context.
- Why has your company launched green lending products?
Simply because we aim to encourage sustainable lifestyles among our customers. We can contribute to changing consumer trends towards a greener, more sustainable future, and tackle climate change. As a financial company, part of the engine that drives the economy forward, what we aim to do is divert financial resources and thus encourage more environmentally feasible projects and needs.
This is actually, what we are doing at the moment – we launched these products because we want to influence consumer demand, so it will lead to a more selective production. As part of BBVA Group, we are doing our share to reverse the climate change trend and bring our contribution for the wellbeing and betterment of future generations and the ecosystem.
- What are the sustainable lending products that the Garanti BBVA Consumer Finance have launched?
We kept the product very simple. We are now financing any type of green products, like electric or hybrid cars, solar panels, energy-efficient house appliances, isolation, electric batteries for houses, electric scooters, etc. We are even promoting this product for house purchases, providing unsecured finance to complete the missing amount for a customer, when he/she wants to buy a green certificate house.
- What options do clients have regarding green financing?
First of all, by purchasing a green product, there is a long-term benefit. A lower resource consumption (e.g. water, electricity, gas etc.) by means of a sustainable investment leads to more streamlined financial spending. A smart sustainable purchase means lower consumption of electricity or water in the house, less gas for heating since isolating the walls, less petrol for your car.
Secondly, we provide special benefits. Our loan has 1 month grace period, and once you prove the destination of the loan by providing us with relevant documents, like invoices, sales purchase agreement etc, we mark the client in the system, and when it comes to its last 2 installments, after 5 years, Garanti BBVA Consumer Finance covers them for the client. This way, the offer is even more attractive compared to many existing financial offers in the market.
- What are Garanti BBVA Consumer Finance’s medium-term plans?
We aim to address our clients’ needs and be present anytime, anywhere they need us. For this reason, we are investing heavily in digitalization. We value relationships and we will continue to create value and maximize customer satisfaction.