The year 2011 heralds a year with a variety of new requirements for both leasing companies and banks. New regulations have already take effect since the beginning of the year and Basel III is already casting its shadow. S & N talked to Sieghard Wolf, head of the credit department with GEFA Gesellschaft für Absatzfinanzierung mbH, who demonstrates how in addition to the standard business, complex financial commitments can be structured more efficient. GEFA is part of the international Group SociétéGénérale and as part of the business unit SG Equipment Finance offers extensive consultations and other services for manufacturers, traders and investors in Germany.
S&N: Mr. Wolf, why in particular do complex financial commitments offer a great potential for increasing efficiency?
Sieghard Wolf: Complex financial commitments are characterized by the fact that the credit analyst needs to evaluate a large amount of very current data in order to make a timely decision. In the past for the analysts it was often the case that, borrowers in complex financing commitments, did not have suitable detailed data in electronic form and the necessary information had to be assembled through time-consuming manual work. With the CreditApproval System (CAS), we have solved this problem. All data is obtained by CAS, are calculated and are provided electronically for both the agent and for the inventory management systems.
S&N: That will be your topic at Marcus Evens "Effective Credit Processing" conference on the 31.3. in Mainz. What are the main points you will addressing?
Sieghard Wolf: At the conference I will elaborate on the different requirements during processing and the automation of financing in different complexities and volumes. These factors have a decisive influence on the design of the overall credit process and the automation of the individual steps. The big challenge is the balancing act between high quality and the cost-effective credit decisions.
S&N: What experience did GEFA gain during the CAS project, particularly in the field of efficiency improvement?
Sieghard Wolf: In particular the standardization and automation of processes has made a major impact on our improved efficiency. This approach, combined with a precisely controlled support of CAS led to a reduction of both the processing duration and the decision time for funding requests. The amount of manual work could be reduced to an absolute minimum, media breaks no longer occur. All necessary information is available in one system, which not only alleviates the daily work load on employees, but also increases system acceptance.
S&N: What are the consequences on the daily work with the customer?
Sieghard Wolf: The customer can be informed about credit decisions substantially faster than before. Besides the time advantage, our sales departments are up-to-date regarding the situation of the customer. A sales call can therefore be better prepared and controlled by the salesperson.
S&N: What are the essential steps GEFA has carried out on the way to lowering costs?
Sieghard Wolf: First of all, all processes had to be analyzed, including the favored ones. We have worked very hard with the S&N Consultants to get an unbiased and objective view of the existing potential for improvement. This allowed us to streamline processes and further standardize them and also led to a significant reduction in processing costs.
Presentation of the interviewee
After completing his bank training and a business study Sieghard Wolf began work in 1983, the professional development in the credit office and subsequently worked as a corporate customer supporter for the DG BANK. This was followed in 1989 by the entrance to the SociétéGénérale Germany as the head of group credit, later as divisional director and manager, and most recently as director responsible for several business units. With the transfer within the GEFA corporation in 2001 he became head of risk management department and subsequently after completing the Basel II project head of the credit department, previously interrupted by two years in Paris at the Head Office of SociétéGénérale Equipment Finance.