A Digitized World and Georgia’s Integration
Is Georgia ready to adapt to the digitized world? What does the country do to develop digital services? In an interview for Business Partner, TBC Bank Deputy Directors General Nikoloz Kurdiani and Amiran Sherozia talk about these issues.
Nikoloz Kurdiani says that TBC will serve 10 million clients on various platforms. According to the 2018 report, TBC served 2.3 million clients. In late April, 1.4 million new clients were added, and today the figure makes up 3.7 million clients.
“A user, i.e. a consumer, implies that we serve clients on various platforms, in various directions, including on our real estate platform – lilo.ge. Today, a person may not be the client of TBC Bank, but they use our services and we consider this category as our users. In the future, we plan to serve 10 million users. Georgia is populated by 3.7 million people, but we have entered Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan to serve 10 million users. We plan to expand our geographic coverage”, Nikoloz Kurdiani said.
In response to the question of whether TBC is a financial institution or a technological corporation, TBC Bank Deputy Director General Amiran Sherozia noted that, today, TBC is at the stage of transformation into a technological company.
“This means that we have always directed huge investments and efforts to develop technologies. This policy enables us to introduce wider opportunities to the market. The ecosystem means that you operate on the market not as a single player, but, as you arrange a chain of partnership, it’s a place where a lot of various players are interconnected and services are supplied to users in an integrated way”, Sherozia said.
In practice, this is a platform and mechanism for partnership and interconnection, he added.
Georgia is a developing market, and TBC Bank’s advantage is that we are very curious people, Nikoloz Kurdiani explained.
“We should know what users will need tomorrow. Therefore, we make a lot of trips, learn, explore, think, replenish our ideas, and localize. All of our innovations are successful. For example, the first chatbot was introduced by TBC. In that period nobody knew whether users would be interested in it or not, but today it is very popular”, Kurdiani said.
As for the digital technologies and services in Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, the current development level, competitors, and Georgia’s role in these countries, Amiran Sherozia noted that there is much potential for promoting these technologies in the Post-Soviet space. In general, digital technologies are developed at a high pace worldwide, he said.
“Today, many citizens of Georgia make procurements on foreign websites. The process includes the transportation of products, time, expenditures. This process means a lot of discomfort. We want to erase barriers and create new values. In this way, we will attract consumers throughout our ecosystem”, Amiran Sherozia said.
As for Georgia’s prospects in 5 years, Sherozia noted that the current fundamental challenges for commercial banks and technological companies call for promoting business, opening borders for industries, players, and between various channels. The development of the various ecosystems and platforms will enable us to act not only as financial players on the market, but also ensure the synchronization of various industries. “As a result, we will be able to assist many companies in various fields to arrange for shared innovations of new services”, Sherozia said.
As for security in this period when the internet is gradually leaving gadgets behind, and things become digitized, TBC Bank represents Georgia’s major financial institution and adheres to a firm technological development policy, Nikoloz Kurdiani noted that the company understands their roles in our society very well.
“Namely, we represent a commercial bank, an institution with great creditworthiness. Therefore, we understand this problem very well, as well as the technological risks related to information storage in the technological space. Therefore, we have to take on a huge task, to take all these components to a high level”, Nikoloz Kurdiani said.
TBC Bank is represented in both the banking sector and electronic commerce, research and so on, and, therefore, the company may face the temptation to hold non-core assets, but Nikoloz Kurdiani explained that there is no such problem, because TBC differentiates non-core assets clearly.
“The regulator supervises all businesses and steps, and everything is agreed in this context. We have no problems in terms of non-core assets”, Kurdiani said.