Ladies and Gentlemen,
In 2014, the ING Bank Śląski S.A. Capital Group continued its organic growth strategy by further improvement of its offer and customer service quality. Achievement of the set objectives is demonstrated by further increase in business volumes and the number of clients using the services provided by the Group. Last year, over 380 thousand clients decided to start relationship with the Bank and as at the yearend their total number exceeded 3.7 million. At the same time, the scale of Group’s operations also rose – the balance sheet total went up by over PLN 13 billion y/y, or up by 15%, from the previous year. It resulted from the dynamic growth of both the lending and deposit portfolios. Credit receivables from customers exceeded PLN 57 billion and grew by 17.5%, while the funds deposited on accounts reached almost PLN 76 billion, which means that they went up by over PLN 10 billion, or by 12%. The Group solidified its market position as its volumes were growing faster than the market – its share in deposits exceeded 8% (versus 7.8% as at the end of 2013) and in loans arrived at 5.7% (versus 5.2% the year before).
We attach great importance to service standards and in particular we appreciate opinions of clients. We perform customer satisfaction surveys on an ongoing basis. Clients’ voices and opinions are taken into account when modifying and developing our offer. It was the case for example in the design stage and during initial works on the new internet banking system My ING. We are hoping that the system will be exceptional and will fully respond to the needs of users.
We were developing service channels and access tools for banking services to ensure clients’ convenience. As many as 450 ATMs have been equipped with readers for NFC transactions, the number which represents more than half of those machines in the Bank’s network. New functionalities were added to the mobile applications for smartphones (ING BankMobile) and tablets (ING BankMobile HD) to make daily operations and personal finance management easier for clients (Receipts and Split your expenses features). Here, it should be noted that the mobile application has been very popular and until the end of 2014 it was downloaded almost 800 thousand times. In December 2014, clients made 1.3 million transactions through this application (transfers and mobile phone top-ups). The Bank also offered a convenient tool to make online payments – V.me Digital Wallet and launched contactless payments for NFC-enabled smartphones. Furthermore, thanks to a fully integrated brokerage account, brokerage services were added to the internet banking functionality of ING Bank Online.
Last year, the Group also intensified its actions as regards corporate clients service. Functionalities of the internet and mobile systems were further developed. The Bank introduced, among other things, an electronic sign-off of credit agreements and an option of sending documents through ING BusinessOnLine. Online credit applications also enjoy continuing popularity – as at the yearend they represented 83% of all applications filed by businesses. Clients also use the internet channel for trade finance products intensely. In December 2014, that channel was used to submit 97% of instructions to open a letter of credit, 91% of receivables purchase applications and 86% of guarantee applications. Furthermore, in 2014 the Bank implemented more machines to facilitate cash management for entrepreneurs: mini CDMs, electronic depositories, light depositories and fee collection machines. Until the end of 2014, the ING BusinessMobile application was downloaded 35 thousand times.
The Bank’s actions in the area of service quality, new solutions and technologies were recognised in key rankings and competitions. In the ranking Przyjazny Bank Newsweeka (Newsweek Friendly Bank), the Bank was ranked first in the Mobile Banking category and third in the Internet Bank category. ING Bank Śląski was named the Most Innovative Bank in Poland at the Financial & Banking Awards competition. The Aleo platform for businesses was named the Product of the Year in the IT@Bank 2014 ranking. The Bank received the title of the Best Bank in Poland in the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2014.
The Group’s companies running leasing and factoring operations also recorded a dynamic growth. ING Commercial Finance S.A., providing factoring services, should be appreciated in particular. In 2014, its volume of transactions reached PLN 16.9 billion, which represents an increase of PLN 4 billion (or 31%) from the previous year. Thus, ING Commercial Finance S.A. positioned itself as the top factoring company in Poland. Over the year, ING Lease (Polska) Sp. z o.o. increased its portfolio by almost 8%, focusing on lease of machinery and equipment.
The strong organic growth of the Group was achieved while keeping a prudent approach to risk assessment, which is reflected in a very good quality of the lending portfolio. As at the yearend, the share of receivables with impairment triggers settled at 4.1%, which stands for an improvement on the previous year by 0.5 p.p.
Thanks to higher income, triggered by a bigger scale of operations, optimal management of operating expenses and stable loan loss provisions, for the first time in history the net financial result of the ING Bank Śląski S.A. Group exceeded PLN 1 billion and amounted to PLN 1,041 million. Concurrently, the total capital ratio, calculated under the CRD IV/CRR (Basel III) guidelines, was 14.2%. Those two factors were taken into account in the decision of the Management Board to recommend that the General Meeting pass a resolution on allocating approximately 50% of the Group’s net profit for the dividend for shareholders.
Consistent delivery of the Bank’s strategy and open communication with the market were appreciated by stock exchange investors, which is best reflected in the shares quotations benchmarked against the sector index. Throughout 2014, the share price of ING Bank Śląski S.A. went up by 23.4%, while the WIG-Banking sub-index went down by 0.7%.
Apart from delivery of business goals, the Group attaches importance to the initiatives rooted in the key values applicable in internal and external relations – integrity, respect, openness, accountability and common sense. All these actions as well as the fact that employees have a chance of continuous development made the Bank receive the Top Employers Certificate for the fifth time. A corporate culture scan, carried out on a yearly basis, is an important action for the Management Board to foster bilateral communication with employees. Like in previous years, the results of the 2014 scan confirmed high employee engagement and good assessment of conditions and relations at work. Compliance of the Bank’s actions with the ethical values, respect for environment, community and other stakeholders were confirmed by including the Bank for the eighth time in the composition of the stock exchange RESPECT Index. The Bank has been continuously present in the RESPECT Index since its very beginning.
Business and financial results posted prove the proper direction of development adopted by the ING Bank Śląski S.A. Group. Therefore, we are planning to continue the growth strategy in the following years. We do want to build long-term relationships with our clients, we want to be part of their daily lives and support them in their daily routine and, if possible, in taking life-time decision. We aspire to grow faster than the market, both in the category of granted loans and accepted deposits. We are still going to stand out in the market in terms of service quality and the modern touch of solutions we offer.