You can also listen to the interview in the audio version.
After three years of preparation, the new Partners Bank is about to open. Partners founder Petr Borkovec was one of the first to pay with her card. “Someone makes a payment with a card, someone has money sent to them, and a week later, so maybe on November 10, I get my card too. Probably so that I don’t break it to them or slander them in some way,” says Borkovec.
Testing whether everything works as it should will happen gradually. After management, a wider group of employees will test the system in December, and all counselors with their families in January. The bank will open to the public in March. Technical systems are currently being tested.
“One of the critical areas is reporting (transmission of information) to the Czech National Bank, including the CERTIS payment system. You test all things dry, without being in sharp systems that no longer forgive you.” 150 people work in the banking team alone to build the system.
Within two years in the black
There are currently 45 banks and savings banks in the Czech Republic. Borkovec thinks that there is still room for a new bank, albeit a small one: “If it weren’t for us, I would say that the space here is very small, very difficult and very expensive.” So far, together with his partners, he has invested almost half a billion crowns.
“I think we have spent 600 million so far, maybe 450 million net,” says Borkovec, who together with Radim Lukeš and a thousand managers, directors and employees of the Partners group owns 81.5% of the project. The remaining 18.5% are jointly held by the companies Pale Fire Capital, Reflex Capital and Tomáš Čupr.
They would like to have the money back within ten years. “We will definitely not be profitable next year, but I would like to be in the black by now. It’s not hard to make a profit in a bank, it’s hard to get to the dividend, then it’s perpetual motion. We would like to pay the dividend after five or six years. We could get back on that investment after ten years,” plans Borkovec.
The project received a license from the Czech National Bank in August. It was necessary to accumulate capital in the amount of three billion crowns. Within ten years, Partners Bank wants to have half a million clients. Partners Banka wants to gain a place on the market by combining banking and consulting services. Partners’ clients can already use the advisory services in the new mobile application, which will later be used by the bank as well.
There is no risk of a conflict of interest
Clients will be able to choose not only from the new bank’s products, but also from competitors. At the same time, Partners consultants belong to the group’s shareholders, but Borkovec does not see a conflict of interest in this. “The only area where there is a real clash is mortgages. But in the volume in which we are able to provide them, it is completely ridiculous,” says the founder of the group.
Primarily, right from its launch, Partners Banka wants to offer current and savings accounts that advisors do not offer, including payment cards or a mobile application. Withdrawals will be free from all ATMs worldwide. At the beginning of 2025, the bank will start providing loans. In 2025 at the latest, it will launch an investment platform through which it would like to offer not only funds, but also individual shares or bonds.
He does not want to compete with big banks in mortgages. “We will not lend to buildings because it is unnecessarily complicated. We won’t even have the simplest mortgages, because we can hardly offer better terms than, for example, Česká spořitelna. We will focus on clients that banks don’t care about. For entrepreneurs who find it difficult to document income. But we know their transaction history because they are our clients.”
We will lend you a pump, but not for a vacation
Instead of mortgages, the bank wants to focus on subsidizing housing and loans for small energy projects. “Pale Fire Capital, which is a partner of the bank, co-owns the pump manufacturer Acond, and we will certainly want to cooperate with them on the financing of the pumps,” explains Borkovec. These will be partly purpose-built loans. “We don’t want to borrow for vacations, cell phones, etc.,” he explains.
Borkovec wants to establish closer cooperation with Tomáš Čupr’s Rohlík. “We have a few services that Rohlík would be good for. Maybe to be able to withdraw money directly from the courier,” plans Borkovec. The next step could be the inclusion of Partners Bank’s products in Rohlík’s benefits.
Partners Banka wants to export the combination of consulting and banking services abroad. “We want to go to Slovakia very quickly. As a group, we are also looking at acquisitions in Romania, we are analyzing the German market,” Petr Borkovec plans.
A quarter of an hour about business first hand. Interviews with top Czech business leaders, company founders, experts.
From Monday to Thursday on SZ Byznys and in all podcast applications.