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INTERVIEW - Easy Asset Management looks to expand outside Europe

Author MFG
INTERVIEW - Easy Asset Management looks to expand outside Europe Photo: MFG

Management Financial Group is a 100% Bulgarian group of companies whose mission is to provide easy access to finance for everyone regardless of their current social and financial condition. Some of the companies in the group have been operating on the Bulgarian market for over 16 years. MFG is active in six countries: Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Poland, Spain and North Macedonia, and plans large-scale geo-expansion in key European markets and at least one other continent as early as 2022.

The MFG group is the responsible employer of more than 8,300 people in over 450 offices in the countries in which it operates. The main focus of MFG is to offer financial and credit products for individuals and small and medium-sized businesses. The companies in the group have a total of 15 active registrations and licenses for various regulated activities - lending, credit intermediation, postal money orders, payment services and issuance of electronic money, which are issued by the relevant supervisory authorities of Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, Poland, Estonia, Ukraine and North Macedonia. The group's portfolio includes companies and brands such as Easy Credit, Biala Karta (White Card), Viva Credit, Fintrade, ACOD, Violeta, the iuvo P2P lending platform, the “buy now, pay later model” NewPay, the Rilla personal finance management app, the app for mobile payments Settle, etc.

Angel Madzhirov, CEO of Easy Asset Management, talks about the company's development plans.

Q: Business crediting has been evolving rapidly in the past few years. How is Easy Asset Management transforming its services to keep pace with the changes in the industry?

Long before the pandemic we have been aware of the constantly evolving needs of our customers and that inspired and motivated us to create an app (mobile application) for entirely online onboarding of clients – credit request, KYC (know your client) process, credit scoring, online signing of the needed documents, etc., and finally the client is transferred their approved amount in their bank account. Not only is everything in our onboarding fully digitalized for years now – without depriving our clients of their needs for human contact and personal attendance through our signature credit consultants when need be – but it can also take minutes to be approved. That is something that our competitors can hardly beat. Still we continue to develop our branch network and currently have 200+ physical offices and partner with over 10 online and offline partners with significant branch networks of their own. We believe that we have to offer our clients the full spectre of services – from entirely digital process through phygital models to the well-known and comfortable personal service and attendance.

Q: Easy Credit became the first Bulgarian company for small personal loans to expand on the international markets. How are your operations outside Bulgaria developing?  

In the Romanian market, the past year has emerged as the most successful year since the company's launch in 2011. We can rightly boast of very stable sales and extremely improved collection. This gives us confidence to plan for next year 40-50% revenue growth. Ukraine emerged from the COVID crisis very quickly and in June we made record sales, looking again at the most successful year for the company in terms of sales and revenue with very stable collection. Poland marked a steady start to the year after a successful 2020, with the only challenge facing us being to improve the collection of loans. The seemingly small market in North Macedonia has seen huge growth in consumer lending. We can safely say that everything we wished for happened in 2021 - double growth in sales and revenue with even better collection.

Q: In which foreign markets do you have highest growth and where do you see untapped potential?

In each of the markets we realize the desired growth. We see great potential in Ukraine, which we seek to realize with our current development strategy. We launched our first TV campaigns on that market, which already give their results!

Q: Do you plan to further expand abroad?

It was in the crucial year of 2021 that we prepared the start of several new markets - Russia, Albania and Croatia. In the first quarter of 2022 we will see the first loans in each of them.

All the teams working in these markets are coming from inside the group and have over the years proven to be very successful managers and have accepted the challenge of the new market. We are proud that we have always been able to identify and promote the talents among us, to support them in new and even bolder endeavors, which give them an additional opportunity to grow as professionals and individuals.

For 2022 we have planned to complete the licensing of our company for the Serbian market, and in Mexico we have licensed two companies and we are preparing a team that will resume our operations there next year after the withdrawal of our team there in April 2020, when the COVID crisis forced us to rethink our dreams of geo-expansion.

As you can see, next year we even plan to leave Europe and meet the challenges of new continents. We have even more ambitious plans, as we are in the process of also exploring Spain, Portugal, Moldova, India and the rest of the Balkans.

Q: On the domestic market, did the pandemic make you revise your growth strategy in any way and what are your short-term strategic goals?

Yes, there is no way that such a strong pandemic will not change our short-term priorities. In the very beginning, given the complete uncertainty of what lies ahead of us, we reduced our operations for a period of three months. Subsequently, it was decided that we have an obligation towards our clients and have to meet their needs for financing and we removed most of these restrictions. We were also one of the first companies – even before the banks – to offer measures to protect our loyal customers.

In the business niche of home lending, Easy Credit holds a leading positions and we continue to invest our resources in our stable and well-trained structure of managers and credit consultants that are key to our level of services, personal approach and commitment to our customers. Of course, we also continue to invest resources in further digitalization and optimization of processes and product development so that we can offer the best and most innovative services and products on the market.

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Angel Madzhirov started his career in Easy Asset Management in 2009, passing through various management positions, and in 2014 he became the commercial director of the company. In the summer of 2018 he took over the management of the Home Collected Credits Division abroad. Since October 2018 he is also a member of the Management Board of MFG. Since 2019 he has been the Chief Executive Officer of Easy Asset Management. He has a master's degree in economics from the University of National and World Economy.

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