Anna Boneva on Flexible Bank Services in the interview for VAGABOND Magazine


Read about personalised approach and clients' safety as well as the socially responsible side of Tokuda Bank.


The member of Tokuda Bank Board of Directors and Executive Director on personalised approach and client's safety

Banking is among the oldest and most important columns of economy, and today it is undergoing a radical technological transformation. At such a moment it is good to know that an established institution such as Tokuda Bank is led by proven professionals. Anna Boneva is Executive Director and member of the Board of Directors of Tokuda Bank since 2016. Prior to this she has managed the Markets and Liquidity department at the Bulgarian American Credit Bank and has worked at the Bulgarian National Bank. She also has experience in real estate and is a member of the Bulgarian Dealers Association.

What defines the client experience at Tokuda Bank? How do you work to guarantee their safety and satisfaction?

I ask different people: What do you want from your bank? What do we need in these days when our phone puts us to sleep, works for us and we almost kiss it for goodnight. And why, in general, we need something outside the phone? My answer is self-evident: because we are social beings and we need human contact. We need a conversation, a collocutor, an idea to discuss regardless of the digital world of money. Digital services for everyday operations and personal contact for important decisions are the important solutions towards which we aim.

The client's experience is a concept that companies in all fields recognise. At Tokuda Bank the experience, defined in short as satisfaction and desire to work with us, is a major question to which we seek a positive answer when an old process, product or service is revised or a new one is offered. To do this, we ask questions and listen to the answers. We improve the physical environment in our offices and of electronic channels, and we aim towards ease and comfort.

For us, the concept of good client experience is important also inside the bank, where an employee or a department is a "customer" of another employee or department. The aim is to create a good team and an effective work process.

All of this is intertwined in the bank's mission that is not a formal text, but a way of work: "We support our clients to make sound decisions for their financial prosperity. We do this by listening carefully and by applying our team's skills to solve the client's needs."

How does the banking sector in Bulgaria look in 2020 and what is Tokuda Bank's position in it?

Competitive. Innovative. Challenging. This is the market in the recent years and I expect it to remain so. Tokuda Bank is unique for its Japanese ownership and small size allowing us to be transparent, flexible and quick. To be able to offer personal approach and to talk to our clients. We do not wish to be the cheapest bank. We all know that when one looks for the lowest possible price often ends up paying double the price.

What are your most popular services and financial tools?

The bank is an active lender and in this respect loans are our most popular services and tools. Our interests are in corporate and retail banking. Many of our competitive products are mortgages for individuals. We have a special product for financing homes built by developers supported by project financing by the Bank. We are good at payment operations. We have interesting saving products.

What new things to expect from the bank?

Upgraded Internet banking. Interesting advertisement presence with an animation film for our anniversary. It is our gift to everyone under the shape of a little story about 19th century Bulgarian genius master builder Kolyu Ficheto that shows the parallels of his work with Japanese culture. We will continue offering competitive products and individual service.

What is your managerial style and to what extent is it defined by you being a lady?

I would not look for a concrete definition of managerial style. I encourage open communication, critical thinking, bravery for new ideas and imagination. In order to not sound strange, because we are talking about a bank, I want to specify that bank is a business as any other, in a singularly regulated environment. In this respect I connect success with speed and innovation in decision-making. This can be achieved only with a team of thinking people with shared goal and similar views. Such team should not be managed, but inspired. Whether I am successful is a question to my colleagues. Personal managerial style is a matter of character, experience and different schools of thought. I cannot say to what extent me being a lady influences my approach to people. I think that the times we are living in ask for new flexibility and communication skills in team management.

We also live in times when employees' loyalty should be won every day. How do you secure your people's full engagement?

The question contains the answer. Loyalty is won every day. With loyalty, support and understanding. With responsibility.

We achieve high engagement mainly with perseverance and clearly defined goals that we can measure. Our main projects are widely communicated within the Bank and thus our teams feel responsible for our shared success and failures.

What defines a socially responsible company in 2020 and how do you achieve this at Tokuda Bank?

My vision for social responsibility is linked to finding the need in society you are ready to identify with and to look for ways in which this thing, person or group can develop skills that will help them survive in competitive environment when the additional help is withdrawn. Unlike single acts of donating. The socially responsible company of the future is smart, frugal on resources, investing in smart technologies and projects connected to protection of environment and sustainable development.

This is my personal understanding and a principle that we implement at the Bank as well.

The bank's corporate culture encourages ethics in relationships within the team and in everyday work. We encourage healthy lifestyle and we talk about happiness that is linked to increased productivity. We aim at clever use of resources. A small example is the fact that in our headquarters we replaced plastic cups and mineral water with glasses and filtering machines. The colleagues themselves create different initiatives to support children institutions.

In 2020 we have desire and plans connected to the reconstruction of the bridge built by Kolyu Ficheto nearby the city of Byala. We will soon share more details about those.