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.