1. In 2015, the financial deleveraging continued. On the other hand, the economic growth surpassed expectations. How have the two tendencies affected the market in which you activate?
From the financial leasing market perspective, the increasing trend (+16%) of new business volumes registered so far in 2015 is the proof that customers are still interested and confident in our product and associated services. Financial leasing remains a suitable financing solution for short and medium term investments, being a flexible product, adaptable to the requests of a dynamic market, like the one in Romania.
The economic growth had a considerable contribution to the improved results of 2015, being a positive sign that the companies started to invest again. For the financial leasing market, the focus was on the vehicles sector, especially passenger cars and heavy commercial vehicles. As per customer type, leasing companies are mainly targeting small and medium enterprises, which shall play a significant role in the economic growth in future years.
2. What have leasing services users learnt in this new stage of economic growth, compared to the time before the crisis? What have leasing companies learnt?
Compared to the period before the crisis, leasing customers are more and more sophisticated and increasingly educated in terms of financial services, some of them already starting to pay attention to the quality and promptness of the complementary services provided.
The leasing market collapse during the financial crisis was the starting point of a new business model assessment among the major players in the industry. The focus was primarily on developing and implementing new risk strategies based on the past experiences during this period. Although leasing is an asset-based product, the leasing companies started to be more careful in selecting their counterparties, trying to maintain a balance between the financed asset and the customers’ financial statements and forecasts.
On the current Romanian market, it is more difficult to find customers and provide them interesting financing offer, as they are mainly price oriented. Financial institutions are now concentrated on building customerfocused and loyalty strategies by ensuring a high quality level of services, in order to maintain a healthy portfolio and increase its profitability margins. Hopefully, the crisis lesson will not be forgotten soon.
3. What challenges is the leasing market currently facing?
Currently, the leasing market needs the implementation of new legislative/ fiscal changes that bring added value to leasing, in order to create a package of real benefits for the end-users. New initiatives meant to support a sustainable development will create opportunities for the companies to invest.
On the other hand, uncertainty and lack of predictability characterizes predominantly the business environment in Romania, which has a direct impact on the leasing market evolution.
In the upcoming period of time, the leasing market can analyze the opportunity to lower the concentration on one sector of activity, respective car market, thus creating a balanced portfolio of financed assets. Romanian economy growth is relying on leasing for the equipment financing in order to restart or develop certain key sectors.
4. What is the current structure of the leasing market? What is your forecast for the next period of time?
At the end of the first semester of 2015, more than 77% of the leasing market was represented by the vehicles segment, 20% by the equipment financing, while the real estate reached only 2.5%.
The evolution of the financial leasing market will not register major changes for the next period, both in terms of structure and new financed volumes. As noticed within the last years, the vehicle market evolution has been the main driver of the leasing activity in Romania. It is known that the vehicle market shows its peculiarities, respectively the cyclicality in the consumers’ decision to change their fleets, the economic conditions favoring consumption and the type of financing chosen.
Although the car market is the leader, we cannot forget there are many other fields of activity to be explored or developed in future years, such as agriculture, medical sector or constructions.
5. What differentiates you from your competitors, considering that the crisis, on one hand, narrowed the market and, on the other hand, transformed it in a place where consumers play the decisive role?
From BRD Sogelease’s perspective, the advantage of experience and expertise generated by affiliation to Société Générale Group has contributed significantly to the rapid evolution of the company on the local leasing market, being a constant presence within the top leasing companies affiliated to a banking group in Romania.
BRD Sogelease IFN SA is the leasing subsidiary of BRD - Groupe Société Générale, the second commercial bank in Romania in terms of assets, one of the major financers of SMEs, as well as one of the most important players in corporate banking market of Romania.
As part of BRD group, we can identify a number of benefits such as: providing integrated financing solutions, professional and prompt reaction in handling customer requirements, in order to maintain a stable and durable relationships. Also, the opportunity to have a national distribution network for the financial leasing product through the BRD commercial network, together with our own Sales Representatives, is a significant advantage compared to non-bank competition.
BRD Sogelease’s experience, gained in over 10 years, recommends us as specialists in providing tailor-made financing solutions to our customers, and as a reliable partner. Moreover, our customer care services are continuously improving in order to be more efficient in granting prompt and professional answers.