Address of the Bank of Albania Governor, Mr. Ardian Fullani, at the regional meeting with managers of commercial bank's branches, businessmen and lectures of the Economics Faculty in Korça

Publication date: 16.12.2004


Good day to everybody !

It is a special pleasure for me to visit the city of Korca any time I am given this possibility and I feel well to state that I have this feeling even at this moment. The purpose of today's meeting is very simple. It has to do with the launching of a new vision on restructuring the Bank of Albania, its branches in various cities of the country also being its part.

It's a long time since our economy has entered into a continuous process of qualitative and quantitative development, including an ever larger geographical extension. In this sense, even the south-eastern region of the country, Korca city being in the center, is estimated to provide an important contribution and I feel well to have the presence of most of the main protagonists of this development in this meeting.

As I mentioned in a meeting of some days ago with representatives of businesses and banks, both communities need to cooperate more closely with each-other, and to make this cooperation efficient, we deem that we as a Bank of Albania have our active role, not only by establishing a safe macroeconomic environment, but also by ensuring a number of other activities, which on the one hand will encourage the lending activity of the banking system and on the other will impact on orienting the business more accurately towards safest projects and investments.

  • Therefore, in our short-term and mid-term plans we have projected to assign to our branches a different role from the one they have played so far. We deem that it is just the time for our branches not to be only storage houses for and distributors of cash. Some operations which are not of the central banking nature will also be abandoned and they will naturally be absorbed by commercial banks.

Our intention is to transform these branches into an advanced model of the presence of the Bank of Albania in various regions of the country. They will be genuine stations for collecting information on economic-financial activity of the region, preceding further analyses and studies. This research will serve not only for clearer monetary policy projection but also for modernizing the transmission elements of this policy from the centre to the basis.

I think that this campaign of the Bank of Albania to monitor the economic activity not only in the metropolis but also in other regions of the country has a special interest for all the groups of interest present in this hall, including the academic representatives of University of Korca. Therefore, I invite you in this transformation process, suggesting that you give us not only the "raw material", i.e., the necessary information but also you use our data basis, conclusions of our surveys, periodic analysis and other research works without limitation. I hope that the indispensability of this analytical work is high and in this process we should be assisted by and cooperate with the academic staff of the University of Korca. Meanwhile, even the students of the Economics Faculty may be assisting, especially in various surveys.

In the following I would like to add some other comments regarding recent developments of the banking system, which I think have created good premises for a real expansion of this business, an expansion which will positively impact even on the performance of your activities.

We were here in Korca some time ago to inaugurate a new bank branch. After this new entry, the number of bank branches in this city reached to 6, while the number of branches with agencies is 13 in the whole region. I think that this interest of the banking system to be extended in your region represents specific developments of this region in relation to other districts of the country. I personally think that this region has a great economic potential, moreover, I emphasize that this region is among the fewest having a multy-sectoral potential, including the agricultural one. Also, I deem that even the inter-bordering relations are a good opportunity for intensive development of the region, and generalizing what I said above I would encourage the banking system to be more aggressive in this region, with concrete plans and objectives to support your economy.

After the completion of the large value payments RTGS), the Bank of Albania inaugurated some time ago the initiation of a very important project having to do with automated electronic clearing house. The functioning of this new system will significantly increase the payments speed among banks' users, an element the absence of which has kept businesses far away from banks. I avail myself of the opportunity to make businesses aware of the benefits that will associate the functioning of this system, since, interalia, both systems together will help achievement of international standards of ATMs and POSs (automatic and electronic equipment for payments) per population number. The encouragement of the public to use them remains the challenge of the banking system and businesses, but also of the Bank of Albania.

To make what I previously said a reality, I will encourage the banking system to be more active, implying that the banks should go towards the population and businesses with ready and clear products, with fast and efficient services. Assessing the recent developments of the banking system either in the increased number of branches or the increased banking services at the counters, I think that the banking system will be more attractive in 2005. I deem that the optimistic signs of the year we are passing by will be followed by energetic activities of the banking system in the business of payments by electronic cards, and in this sense I would state that the banking system solutions will be in the favor of a unified card.

Of course, the steps in this direction will be more complex and naturally some of them require even inter-institutional cooperation. The Bank of Albania is already paving the way towards a large use of cards in Albania. The credit card service not only will contribute to reducing cash in economy, but also will provide a positive impact on reducing the informal economy.

However, what I regard as important in the context of this meeting is the encouragement of the banking system, so that this level of services be present uniformly in the whole territory of the country where banks exercise their activity. Only in this way will the benefits of electronic payments and all other facilities be uniform in the whole territory of the Republic, either for you or for the public at large. Following up this logic, I think that we will create real opportunities for a harmonized development geographically, providing a genuine contribution to increase the welfare of the country.

Honorable participants,

In conclusion, having nothing else to say, I would like to express once more my personal sympathy for the tradition and culture that has characterized your region in years. Furthermore, I take advantage of the opportunity to wish you season's greetings, stating that today's meeting is only the first step in our long dialogue. Allow me to thank you once more for your presence in this table of discussions.

Thank you !