News Release

Erste Bank Serbia Improves Communication Infrastructure to Link Branches, Accelerate Growth

Internet and Contact Center Services to Be Enhanced for Customers
Sep 06, 2007

BELGRADE - NOVI SAD, Serbia, September 6, 2007 - Cisco® today announced that Erste Bank Serbia has implemented Cisco's Financial Services Intelligent Network Solution and deployed a new unified voice, data and video network, including 850 Internet Protocol (IP) phones, that will help accelerate the bank's growth by connecting all of its 62 branch offices in Serbia.

Financial services make up one of the fastest-growing business sectors in Central and Eastern Europe. Increasing competition means that financial institutes are looking at expanding their branch networks and enhancing customer services and Internet banking capabilities to increase their market share. At the same time, they are looking at running their operations more efficiently.

Miroslav Nicin, head of organization and information technology (IT) for Erste Bank Serbia, says: "Our vision was to develop a model that results in savings through IT standardization and consolidation. The new Intelligent Network Solution also allows us to quickly and flexibly integrate new branch offices that we are planning to open across the country. Besides providing a platform for more efficient communication and collaboration amongst our own employees, including Web and video conferencing, the new network infrastructure also means that we can enhance our customer services, especially contact center and Internet banking offerings."

Technology is playing a crucial role in supporting these objectives. The move to Cisco Unified Communications brings together the bank's various channels-local branch, ATM, contact center, telephone and Internet banking operations-onto one network platform. This will enable the bank to optimize its multichannel banking strategy by providing a single view of the customer, making it easier to capture interactions and transactions and to profile customer behavior. In turn, this will facilitate the more efficient provision of customized information for sales and marketing purposes, which can be used for smarter bundling of products and services and to provide clients with customized products according to their needs.

"Using Cisco Unified Communications, Erste Bank has been able to integrate fixed, mobile and video communication technologies, enabling employees to collaborate with colleagues over the branch network. It also provides simplified management of the network, significantly reducing the need for costly site visits through centralized administration, diagnostics, and fault-fixing capabilities. A centralized capture of usage-level metrics helps ensure that IT is providing the business with the right capabilities, at the right time, and in the right location," said Goran Obradovic, Cisco's country manager in Serbia.

The first step of the project was to deliver unified communications across the bank's existing data network at 62 local branches. The network is designed to take advantage of embedded network services such as security - a major concern for organizations, especially in financial services. It includes virtualized firewall services, leading levels of encryption, and intrusion protection that helps ensure highly secure phone lines and helps protect customer information.

Quality of Service (QoS) is supported by Cisco Integrated Services Routers that help enable the bank to prioritize telephony traffic without compromising other critical banking applications, such as domestic payments and ATM transactions. Furthermore, embedded network services such as Survivable Remote Site Telephony (SRST) minimize communications disruption by providing support for local call processing when WAN connections are unavailable.

Integration between the Cisco Unified Communications Manager and the corporate directory enables employees to use their IP phones to look up user details and contact colleagues. In addition, this unified communications platform has improved the availability of video conferencing services by enabling connectivity with a broad range of room and desktop video systems.

Having established a unified network architecture, the bank is now focusing on deploying additional IP services and applications. Miroslav Ni?in says: "We now have a simple migration path to Cisco Unified Contact Center, which will allow us to bring together operations at our five call center operations within a highly virtualized environment. This next stage of transformation will see new applications such as Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and skills-based routing, for improved customer satisfaction and call center performance."

About Erste Bank

Erste Bank is one of the leading financial providers in CEE with more than 50.000 employees serving almost 16m clients in over 2.700 branches in 8 countries. As of 30.06.2007 Erste Bank has reached 198bn EUR total assets, net profit of 566m EUR and ROE of 13,8%. The company entered the Serbian market in 2005 with the acquisition of Novosadska Banka. Today Erste Bank Serbia has 965 employees, 62 branches and 200,000 customers. The target for 2007 is to achieve three to four percent market share in key segments. Other business priorities for the bank include organic growth, revenue enhancement, cost reduction, and efficiency improvement.