A new banking institution, Partners Banka, is set to enter the Czech market in the spring. Operated by financial advisory company Partners, which obtained a license in August, the bank will focus exclusively on individual customers, providing investment advice as a critical service. Partners see this advisory role as its competitive advantage.
According to Petr Borkovec, Partners co-founder, the bank will begin its entire operations with a few employees on November 1st. It plans to launch to the public in the first quarter of 2024. Borkovec also mentioned the bank’s expansion plans, including possible entry into foreign markets such as Slovakia.
In addition to traditional banking products like current and savings accounts, Partners Banka aims to specialize in specific target groups, such as offering mortgages for entrepreneurs and financing energy-related investments like insulation.
However, the bank may face significant competition in these areas, particularly from building societies expected to offer subsidized loans for energy savings starting next year.
Partners Banka will primarily focus on serving individuals and families rather than opening accounts for legal entities. Nevertheless, self-employed individuals, such as freelancers, can still open tabs, allowing separate management of personal and business finances. It’s worth noting that Partners Banka is a purely digital bank and does not handle cash transactions except for ATM withdrawals.
The bank plans to offer most basic banking services free of charge, including account maintenance, ATM withdrawals within the Czech Republic and abroad, and domestic and EU payments. Partners Banka aims to generate revenue through investment advisory services and interest margins.
With more than 160 existing branches and advisors from the Partners financial group, the bank intends to develop its business and customer services primarily through mobile banking. It will not provide traditional Internet banking, as this approach aims to protect clients from phishing cyberattacks.
Partners Banka sees its main contribution to clients in the investment advisory field, leveraging Partners’ extensive experience in this area. In connection with this focus, the bank plans to apply for a license as a securities trader.
The bank’s capital amounts to three billion Czech koruna and is entirely owned by Czech entities, including approximately one thousand advisors, managers, directors, and employees of the Partners group. External entities, such as Pale Fire Capital, Reflex Capital, and Tomáš Čupr, have invested in the project, collectively owning 18.5% of the bank. The remaining 81.5% is held by Partners’ co-founders Radim Lukeš and Petr Borkovec, along with other individuals from the company.
Partners Banka is not the only player preparing to enter the banking market. According to Finex.cz, the investment group RSBC also has plans. On the other hand, Hello Bank is concluding its operations, with its assets acquired by Česká spořitelna. Additionally, Sberbank faced bankruptcy last year.
In recent years, much discussion has been about the potential merger of Moneta Money Bank and Air Bank, owned by PPF. However, PPF ultimately backed out of the deal.