mBank founder was too ambitious

20-03-2008, 11:34

Warsaw (Puls Biznesu) – BRE Bank’s strategy is not going to change but priorities will be different. Slawomir Lachowski, BRE Bank ex-CEO wanted to promote mBank abroad. This could be the reason of its clash with Commerzbank.


mBank, the online bank founded by Slawomir Lachowski, was doing so well in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, that Slawomir Lachowski wanted to build quickly further outlets in Europe: Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. He also wanted to follow Polish emigrants in the UK, Ireland, Germany, France and Austria.
“Lachowski wanted the Poles to prepare the business, launch it and come back. BRE has limited labor and capitals. That’s why foreign expansion was based on local employees”, one of BRE Bank managers explained.

The idea proved well in the Czech Republic and Slovakia where four months since the launch, only one Pole is employed.

“This model requires trust towards new employees. The main shareholder believed it was too risky”, PB source said.

It looks like Commerzbank liked the general strategy of foreign expansion but had objections as to how implement it.

“Like in a marriage which breaks after many years: there is no one reason for the departure. You just come to a point when everybody has to follow his own way”, Martin Blessing, BRE Bank deputy chairman and Commerzbank member of the board said.


He says that the strategy outlined by Slawomir Lachowski will remain the same although priorities will be slightly changed. The Polish market will be priority, followed by the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Then, possible investments abroad will be considered.

“First, we need to make the fast growing business in Slovakia and the Czech Republic stabile”, Martin Blessing said.

Before, Slawomir Lachowski, used to say that mBank brand could appear in Hungary, Germany and Ireland as early as this year. Commerzbank does not say it won’t be like that.

“We indicated neighboring markets as the ones in the scope of our interest. We are going to use the model adopted in the Czech Republic and Slovakia”, Blessing explained.

He stresses, however, that before final decision concerning further investment is made, the bank will evaluate its assets.

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