Simplifying to help our clients succeed

Embedding simplification best practices as we build our bank for the future


Simplifying our bank is one of our top priorities – not only to provide our people with an efficient way of working, but to ensure clients receive a seamless service and achieve their desired objectives.

In 2022, we redirected our focus to simplification and how it can be embraced at all levels of our Group. We reduced, for instance, our organisational layers by 28% – with decision making levels decreased by a further 43%. This at once streamlined the structure of our organisation and freed up our colleagues’ time – allowing for more effective, client-centric decision-making.


Our people are fundamental in driving the transformation process across all areas of our business. They are our greatest source of inspiration, and we want to ensure both that their voice is listened to, and ideas are put into action.

For example, we managed to reduce the time for new cash loans and refinancing to only ten minutes – an initiative already bearing fruit across Italy, with further progressive releases in Italy, Germany and Austria. Moreover, we have increased automatic credit decisions to almost 90% in Italy, which allowed a significant reduction of income documentation required (from 70% to 20%).

In Croatia, we launched Zaba Smart Invest – an investment advisory tool for individual clients, based on an internally developed algorithm for personalised investment proposals. This shortened the time spent having advisory conversations by more than a half.

Across Client Solutions, we have sought to put decisions closer to the client, enhancing our connectivity with front end tools whilst minimising manual work its associated risks. Take our Corporate Portal, for example. A single-entry point for our corporate clients, designed to enhance the digital experience by leveraging on simplification and harmonisation. Now available across thirteen countries, we have increased client connectivity sixfold in the last five years. Intuitive processes like these have undoubtedly been beneficial for our clients.

Finally, we have drastically lowered the number of internal reports being produced, which has resulted in our colleagues having over 300,000 fewer unnecessary emails to deal with. But it doesn’t stop there – we are fostering momentum and ownership to deliver true and lasting transformation across the bank by breaking our habits and streamlining our organisational structure.

Our simplification strategy is multi-dimensional and a business necessity, as well as a key contributor to our clients’ successes and the communities that we serve. If we are to succeed as the bank for Europe’s future, it is imperative that we all maintain a strong path on the journey of simplification together.

A conversation with...

Damir Krcivoj, Head of Products – Retail Division  


Damir Krcivoj
Head of Products – Retail Division 

To you, what did Zaba Smart Invest mean for Zagrebačka banka? 

The launch of the investment advisory service “Zaba Smart Invest” was an opportunity for our clients to receive sustainable and tailor-made advice on how and where to invest their money. To create the best investment solution and simplify a field that was considered quite complicated, we provided clients with a unique, and streamlined investment proposal.

Moreover, the implemented investment advisory service brought additional advantages for our bankers. We upgraded regular educational workshops for employees about capital markets and the existence of algorithm-based adjustment and calculations for each individual client. This way, we improved the banker-client communication as well as the traceability of the investment relationship with clients.

Why are you particularly proud to have worked on this project?

Together with my team, we have shared experience and knowledge of the development of this process that simplified clients’ interaction with Zagrebačka banka. Making the right investment decisions can be very challenging for the average retail client. The established suitability questionnaires within Zaba Smart Invest will help our clients make basic investment decisions, such as maintaining buying power, cost averaging, inflation effects and more.

Furthermore, to empower the financial literacy of our clients, we created an educational resource titled “It’s important to know,” where we explain complex terms and definitions in a simple and clear to understand way. I am particularly proud of the tool because it enabled access to investment advice and the capital market for a significant number of clients, while making the bankers’ daily job smoother.


How has this contributed to our Bank’s overall strategy?

Zaba Smart Invest has been used as a very solid base for the further strengthening of our Assets under Management (AuM) business, aligned with MiFID II regulation, and has been positively accepted both by bankers and clients. After the implementation, we had very strong AuM growth which was followed by an increased number of investors who started to invest in a more diversified way. The service helped us not only during positive market movements, but also during the market volatility in 2022, receiving very good feedback from our clients. Therefore, we improved our market position on Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (UCITS) fund market by 4% in 2022.

But it did not stop there. We are constantly upgrading the project by working on a digital solution and educational activities geared towards our clients. Our aim is to further improve the client experience by continually simplifying processes and unlocking the digital potential of Zagrebačka banka to strengthen its position in the local market.