Memories of 25 years: Romanian colleagues look back

12 December 2019 ... min read Listen

It’s ING in Romania’s 25th anniversary this year. Six colleagues who have been there since the early days, share their most memorable moments with us – and even reveal what they looked like then.

Name: Maria Cristina Matei
Role: chief operations officer
Joined ING in: May 1996

Most memorable moment:

In 2005, ING in Romania launched retail services using a franchise model (for sales and customer interaction) and Self’bank (for transactions). Both these concepts were unknown in the Romanian market and we built them from scratch. The project team was mainly local, greatly assisted by two international colleagues. It was an awesome opportunity for our team, as it’s not very often that you get to build something of this magnitude. The business model has evolved and improved over the years, but still benefits from the model we apply.

Name: Mihaela Bitu
Role: country manager ING in Romania
Joined ING in: June 1995

Most memorable moment:

In a personal history of 24 years with ING, it’s very hard to choose only one special moment, since so many come to mind. One that does stand out though is the fall of 2011, when we relocated as one bank under one roof to Crystal Tower. The retail unit came together with the corporate one and we started to operate as a truly universal bank. We reinforced each other’s strengths and we learned to accept and appreciate our differences: the way we dressed, approached situations or communicated. What also became apparent to all of us was the fact that despite our differences, we shared the same values, the same moral and ethical compass, the same passion for customers, for innovation, for results. This still holds true today. There are still differences between parts of the organisation, but we all know that together we can achieve wonderful things, and that we can further build on the amazing success story of ING in Romania.

Name: Crina Patru
Role: tribe lead Payment Services
Joined ING in: November 1999

Most memorable moment:

Back in 2000, paper-based payments were the norm in Romania. Customers brought their paper payment orders to the bank to be processed and activity at the teller’s desk was intense: long queues and colleagues working hard to serve customers. I’d just finished my internship and was a junior relationship manager at that time. One of our top customers called me saying he was on his way in to make an urgent payment. Thinking creatively, I put myself in the customer’s shoes and actually stood in the queue until he arrived. The customer appreciated the ‘unusual’ support and it made me wonder how we could magically put payment orders in a queue instead of having people queue. Nowadays queues are a thing of the past as life has become instant, so now I’m striving to build an instant customer payments experience.

Name: Cristina Bulata
Role: head of Corporate Audit Services
Joined ING in: November 1996

Most memorable moment:

What’s most memorable to me is the people I’ve met, who’ve helped me and still continue to help me grow. I’ve challenged myself in diverse roles and have had the opportunity to meet many people: a Slovakian colleague, a lecturer at the Joint Vienna Institute, who inspired me to join ING, a colleague who let me in on the secrets of the Romanian capital market and all the other colleagues whose paths I’ve crossed. All of them, from juniors to the highest level, from Romania and anywhere in the group, have marked my journey and offered me endless inspiration and opportunities to learn and grow.

Name: Stefan Radu
Role: head of Dealwise (ING in Romania’s new shopping platform)
Joined ING in: February 2000

Most memorable moment:

In 2004, we launched the retail bank in one night. With a team of only 15 people we got the system operational and customers started doing their first transactions. Unfortunately, one customer’s transactions kept getting denied. He wanted to purchase boots from the US, but the transaction was rejected. Then he tried shoes. Transaction rejected. We realised there was a technical problem and we fixed it right away. Next transaction: flip-flops. Transaction approved.

We did it and now I’m initiating ING’s first shopping platform – Dealwise (more information will follow soon in 2020). For me this is also special because my daughter was born during the same period. A special moment in my life!

Name: Anca Udroiu
Role: head of Trade Sales
Joined ING in: October 1994

Most memorable moment:

In 1994, ING was the first international bank to start operations in Romania. Fifteen people from various banks became part of the most challenging journey, which was to change the way of banking. I was one of them. There were no procedures, no internet and very little was automated. But there was a lot of enthusiasm, eagerness to learn, drive for success, and above all… the orange lion in our hearts.

Twenty-five years later, ING returns to the end of the same street in a nine-floor building. Strong team and brand, market recognition, best expertise, with flexible desks and the agile way of working in place, ready to succeed in the next 25-year journey and change the way of thinking in banking. Impressive bond from start to present and on to the future.

ING in Romania in a nutshell

Established: 1994
Number of customers: 1.4 million retail customers; mid-corp: 14,000; wholesale clients: 600
Number of employees: 3,000, of which 65 percent are female. The average age is 35.
NPS score: #1 in all segments, having achieved a market share of 10%.

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