Saturday, 8 October 2022

Croatian KEKS Pay App Exceeds Impressive 300,000 Users

October the 8th, 2022 - The Croatian KEKS Pay application (app) has only been gaining in popularity ever since its arrival on the domestic market, and it has now exceeded an extremely impressive 300,000 users.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, more than 300,000 users use the Croatian KEKS Pay app, which the popular bank Erste bank launched a little less than four years ago. Compared to around 230,000 users at the end of 2021, this is a more than encouraging increase of 30 percent. The total volume of transactions which took place through this app over the three quarters of 2022 we've gone through so far amounted to 642 million kuna, 80 percent more than were carried out back during the same period last year, when that sum amounted to 355 million kuna. The average rating of 4.8 on the Google Play Store and 4.9 on the Apple App Store is the best indication of the app's user satisfaction.

From the initial sending and receiving of money between friends, the Croatian KEKS Pay application has developed more and more the last four years, now offering the various options it currently boasts, with just a handful of them being the purchase of GSM vouchers and payment of tolls, the payment of parking, the possibility of making donations and payment in webshops and stores that support KEKS Pay payment.

One of the most popular functionalities of this application is the free payment of utility services from more than 65 bill issuers in over twenty Croatian cities, and new bill issuers, primarily local self-government units, utility companies, kindergartens and others, are continuously added to the KEKS Pay service.

The main advantages of KEKS Pay are simplicity, security and the fact that users are exempt from paying any fees in most cases. The Croatian KEKS Pay app enables the quick and secure sending and receiving of money without the need to pay any fees, and is also the first banking solution present here on the Croatian market intended for all interested users, regardless of which bank they have an account with.

As such, of the total number of users of the KEKS Pay application, 75 percent are clients of other banks, and 25 percent of them have an account opened in Erste bank itself. The app is particularly interesting because of its simplicity. Anyone can install it for free and send or request money from friends without having to enter any irritating account numbers. 

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Made in Croatia section.

Friday, 2 July 2021

Issue of Croatian Bank Bonds on International Capital Market Successful

July the 2nd, 2021 - The first issuing of some Croatian bank bonds on the international capital market has proven successful, seeing the popular Erste Bank take another brave step forward at both the national and the EU level.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, these Croatian bank bonds were issued with an annual interest rate of 0.75 percent and a yield to maturity of 0.835 percent. With the realisation of this transaction, Erste Bank made an additional step forward and added its first international euro bond to its existing securities in circulation on the Croatian capital market. This made it the first bank in all of Croatia to successfully issue its own bonds on the international capital market.

The primary purpose of this Croatan bank bonds issue is to meet the regulatory requirement with which the bank must comply by the 1st of January 2024, and the first binding requirement in the transitional period must be met by the 1st of January 2022. This regards the so-called MREL requirement (Minimum regulatory capital requirement and eligible liabilities).

MREL is part of the European Union (EU) regulatory framework aimed at strengthening the financial system, with a focus on credit institutions, in order to increase resilience to shocks, unforeseen stress scenarios and prevent systemic risk. The funds raised by this Croatian bank bonds issue will be used for general financing purposes and to encourage green and sustainable investments, and will also contribute to the further diversification of funding sources.

The issue was intended for institutional investors in the international market, and in the final allocation the largest share was played by international financial institutions with a share of 39 percent, followed by investment funds with 32 percent, banks with 15 percent and pension funds and insurers with a 14 percent share. Over 70 institutional investors participated in the issue, with a very pronounced European geographical diversification (the UK and Ireland with 41 percent, Germany and Austria with 27 percent, CEE countries with 11 percent, France with 6 percent, and Switzerland, the Benelux countries and others with smaller percentages of shares).

The joint agents of the issue were BofA Securities Europe SA, Erste Group Bank AG, Landesbank Baden-Württemberg and Societe Generale.

"Erste Bank is the most active issuer of bonds among financial institutions in the Republic of Croatia, with this Croatian bank bonds issue being the sixth in a row, and also the first on the international capital market.

After we successfully realised the edition of the so-called senior preffered bonds in the amount of 45 million euros, which was the first such issue on the domestic capital market within the so-called MREL regulatory requirement, and with the successful issuance of an international euro bond, we're continuing on our planned path. In accordance with our financing strategy, we've further diversified the sources of funds by issuing bonds, and we'll use these collected funds for our core business, continuing to build a sustainable and successful business path for Erste Bank on the Croatian market,'' said Kresimir Baric, the CFO of Erste Bank.

For more, follow our business section.

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Zagreb Company Perpetuum Connects Keks Pay with Magento

As Gordana Grgas/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 26th of October, 2020, the Zagreb-based IT company Perpetuum Mobile has developed, in cooperation with Erste Bank, a software solution that enables payment with the Keks Pay mobile application in web shops based on the Magento platform.

As Ivo Spigel, co-founder and member of the board of Perpetuum, revealed, this platform is among the strongest and most popular for medium and large clients, it is used by more than 250 thousand web shops across the world, and by about two hundred here in Croatia.

The software solution they developed (the so-called extension that allows merchants to accept and customers to pay using Keks Pay) is free for all companies that want to use it.

The first web shop where it is already in operation is the Fraktura publishing house, which has been selling books online for years through the Magento platform. The point now, as Perpetuum's Ivo Spiegel explained, is that their mobile application solution drastically simplifies the payment process - and thus significantly reduces the percentage of cancellations, making payment much easier for customers.

Of course, now everything depends on the market, ie on how many merchants here in Croatia will be accept Magento, ie how many banks will gain a user for their payment application, and currently there are more than 150 thousand of them.

"From our perspective as an e-commerce company, we can see that the interest of Croatian businessmen in e-business has been growing strongly in 2020, not only in B2C (business-to-consumer) but also in the extremely important B2B (business- to-business) segment,'' explained Perpetuum's co-founder. He added that it is very important for a merchant to be able to use the highest quality e-commerce software for their e-business, and in professional circles, it's most often called a "platform".

Magento is from the portfolio of Adobe, one of the global software giants. Erste already has one payment software solution, implemented for another platform, WooCommerce. For Perpetuum, this is an important step, Spiegel emphasised, in the long-term strategy of connecting various new, innovative payment systems with various e-commerce platforms, both through cooperation with "fintech startup" companies and established companies in the world of finance.

Some more solutions are already in the plan and preparation stages, specifically for the Keks Pay platform. The company is one of the oldest in the IT sector in the country, today with about 40 employees, and last year it had a revenue of 30.4 million kuna, which was mostly generated through licensed software services, as a partner of Microsoft and others.

Perpetuum has also previously developed the integration of the "independent" mobile payment applications Settle and Magento platform, of which the results are still awaited.

"Settle hasn't yet hit the market, but we hope that it will develop, because the company plans to make the Settle application available across all EU markets," Spiegel stated. Settle launched the Oslo-based startup Auka a few years ago, and in March it received a new, significantly improved version for Android and iOS. In addition to Keks Pay and Settle, the Aircash application for mobile payment is also being affirmed here on our market.

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Sunday, 5 April 2020

Erste Bank and Erste Card Club Donate 1.3 Million Kuna to Zagreb Hospitals

Following donations from INA and many other companies who are determined to make sure Croatian hospitals get the equipment they need, more generous donations to Zagreb hospitals have been made in the united fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc with the global economy, not to mention public health. In Croatia, the effects of the outbreak on the economy have been dire and the outlooks continue to look bleak, but when it comes to the health system, the measures put into place to protect lives by the Civil Protection Headquarters have been second to none.

That being said, respirators and other equipment are desperately needed for those who are suffering more seriously from coronavirus, and more and more companies are stepping up in this time of great need.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 4th of April, 2020, Erste Bank has decided to donate a generous sum to to the now very well known ''Dr. Fran Mihaljevic'' Clinic for Infectious Diseases in Zagreb in the amount of one million kuna, with the aim of assisting with the procurement of the necessary medical equipment in the current tense situation where enormous efforts are being made to curb the spread of coronavirus.

In addition, the Erste Card Club decided to donate a massive 300,000 kuna to the Children's Diseases Clinic in Klaiceva street, to help repair the material damage caused by the devastating earthquake that struck Zagreb recently, of which Zagreb hospitals were also a victim.

''The seriousness and complexity of the situation we're currently in requires a responsible reaction from all subjects in the community. In this way, we want to contribute to the efforts to overcome the challenges that lie ahead of us all, and at the same time support physicians and nurses, whose role in the current circumstances is extremely important and deserves great respect,'' said Christoph Schoefboeck, Erste CEO banks on this occasion.

Make sure to follow our dedicated section for information and updates on coronavirus in Croatia, as well as scientific texts by eminent Croatian scientist Igor Rudan.

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Croatia and the Eurozone: Next Two Years Crucial for Adaptation

Unlike the United Kingdom, which used an opt-out, one of Croatia's obligations upon joining the European Union was the eventual introduction of the euro as the country's main currency. While many are against the plan, it will go forward regardless. Erste's main man has warned that Croatia's time to adapt properly to the imminent change is slowly slipping away, and the cooling of the global economy is expected. How will the relationship between Croatia and the Eurozone progress?

As Tomislav Pili/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 13th of December, 2018, even though the banks are expected to experience falling revenue due to the loss of currency trading, Croatia's eventual entry into the Eurozone is likely to bring a lot of benefits to Croatian society, said Erste Bank's CEO Christoph Schöfböck on Tuesday. The statement comes among continued mixed feelings from the public on Croatia and the Eurozone.

"The path towards the euro can't be a purpose for itself [a self-serving purpose], it must have a reason, and that's the prosperity of society," Schöfböck stated. Reflecting on developments in the global economy, Erste Bank's main man stressed that the world economy would "cool down" in two years, so Croatia must use that time for economic adjustment to finally enter into the Eurozone. As for movement on the domestic economic plan, this year Croatia can expect GDP growth between 2.5 and 2.8 percent, according to the director of economic research, Alen Kovač.

"We're growing at a faster rate than the European Union, but also slower than comparable countries," he stressed. Concerning the next year, it is estimated that the positive features of the Croatian economy will remain as they are, such as the further growth in the inflow of money from European funds, investment growth and personal consumption. However, in 2019, the risks that come from abroad - the trade war, Brexit and the issue of the Italian deficit - will be more pronounced. Therefore, next year the growth of the Croatian economy will slow down and will reach between 2.5 and 2.6 percent.

In addition to presenting macroeconomic forecasts, Erste Bank also used this opportunity to launch its new payment application, KEKS Pay. The application is the result of the internal startup of the bank and is described as "the first real digital wallet in Croatia". It serves to transfer money to friends or family's accounts, regardless of which banks they respectively use, and also allows for the collection of money from within a chat group. It functions as a "financial Whatsapp", so it's not necessary to open an account to transfer money, only the recipient's mobile number is required. Use of the application is completely free, as is initially downloading it.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and politics pages for more information on Croatia and the Eurozone, the domestic political scene, doing business in Croatia, and much more.


Click here for the original article by Tomislav Pili for Poslovni Dnevnik

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Bank’s Gay Couple Ad Campaign Draws Fire from Conservative NGOs

The supposedly “controversial” part is the fact that a gay couple is seen for a second.