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LORES - The Innovative Tool for Agro-Financing

Minister for Innovation Mrs. Milena Harito, First Deputy Governor Mrs. Elisabeta Gjoni and Head of Banking Association Mr. Christian Canacaris

May 15, 2015 - Do what you love; innovation does not happen without passion. Innovative services, or products are not fruit of just another obligatory task; they are great solutions which arise from the desire to change things for better.

The above philosophy made one man one of the most influential and most successful entrepreneurs of our times. Steve Jobs, whose passion for innovation did revolutionize the world.
As the AppleMan reinvented the concept of innovation, this week in Tirana there were many people gathered under the umbrella of the Innovation Week.

The Innovation Week started on May 10th and will continue until May 17th unveiling present innovative achievements aiming to provide easy, efficient and transparent solutions which aim to modernize our society. Innovation in public services, innovation in the telecommunication sector, innovation in the banking sector, in tourism and innovation among youth were the main pillars of this years’ edition organized by the Ministry of Innovation and Public Administration.

Mrs. Milena Harito, Minister for Innovation said that the banking system is crucial in the creation of the formal economy. She mentioned the payment of electricity bills through the cellphone and through the unique governmental portal as the main innovative achievements in the sector. Mrs. Harito added that a big challenge the government faced was introducing these types of innovative payments to a considerable part of the population, which still does not have a bank account. She emphasized that this challenge was overcome through a successful collaboration with the Bank of Albania and US Agency for International Development (USAID). Through this initiative now even Albanians who do not have a bank account can pay their bills through their cellphone. This is an important step forward in our struggle to include this part of the population in the formal economy and introduce them to the banking system and we very much appreciate what USAID and Bank of Albania have been doing, said Mrs. Harito.

Mrs. Elisabeta Gjoni, First Deputy Governor said that the Bank of Albania, in its position as a regulator, aims to create the necessary conditions for the encouraging financial innovations and developing the financial infrastructure.

Technology has no limits said Mrs. Gjoni. As regulators we have to be careful to adapt new rules and laws so that these technologies became feasible to the consumers, individuals, businesses. At the same time we have to be vigilant for the risks following the technologies. Finding a balance between promoting innovative ideas and being alert on potential risks is one of the main challenges of the field, she said.

Important innovations in the banking sector

The event presented important developments in the banking sector in Albania. Mr. Radoy Stoyanov, CEO of Société Générale Bank held a presentation on innovation in digital security and customer experience. John McNaughton, Board Member for Business from Raiffeisen Bank talked about innovation in technology and how it impacts people. Liljana Shkodra, Vice Director of the Individual Banking Group from BKT presented the functionalities of the Internet banking Branch of BKT, while Erta Javori from Intesa Sanpaolo Bank presented the product “Intesa Mobile”. Ardiola Hristic from Procredit Bank presented the innovative features and the advantages of the “Self Service Zone 24/7. The presentations continued with Gideon Van Den Broek, Chief Executive Officer of ICB who talked about eAleat Signature and Verification Services into ICB banking and with Arlinda Muja, Director of Operations at NOA who presented on new market technologies which bring the bank closer to the clients.

CEOs, high level banks' and financial institutions' representatives during LORES presentation

LORES – An Innovation to benefit Albanian farmers and agribusinesses

Innovation to benefit Albanian farmers and agro-processors was present in the shape of LORES - the Professional Loan Referral System.

LORES, created as part of the AgroCapital program, financed by USAID and implemented by CBS was selected as one of the innovative products in the banking sector, among others presented by established banks and financial institutions such as Raiffeisen, BKT, ProCredit, Societe Generale and NOA.

Enio Jaco presented it during the event “Innovation in the Banking Sector,” organized on Thursday, May 14, 2015 by the Ministry for Innovation, Bank of Albania and the Albanian Bank Association. The event which gathered approximately 100 persons, Bank CEO’s, senior management, technologists and experts introduced innovative products which have been crucial to the development of the Albanian banking system.

Albanian agriculture, a sector with significant growth potential is still underfinanced. Access to capital and know-how are two of the major growth impediments. $750 Million in Capital is needed for Agriculture to just get even with other sectors and LORES is expected to bring $10 million in agriculture financing during 2015.
Bringing agriculture and banking together is not a simple quest. That is a job for LORES.