Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Debt collecting gets…er, sexy?


Bank employees working in call centers and reminding clients of their overdue loans used to be as far to the bottom of the banking food chain as you could be. Not any more.

Raiffeisen International, the second-biggest lender in eastern Europe, has ramped up staff in its collections and risk management departments.

Active in 17 countries between the Czech Republic and Kazakhstan, it is exposed to a region that is among the hardest hit by the global financial crisis. Rampant loan growth of the last few years has turned into an equally rapid rise of bad debt.

“We substantially increased resources in our call centres, started new ones,“ Martin Gruell, Raiffeisen’s CFO, said ahead of the Reuters Central European Investment Summit in Vienna. “There are 40 percent more employees working in Collections than before the crisis.”