“There are risks everywhere – we need to manage them.” Risks are his specialty, and Volker Gloe has been Cembra’s Chief Risk Officer since the Bank’s IPO in 2013. He makes sure that all risks are taken deliberately, and are contained and monitored – even in times of crises.

2020 was an unusual and demanding year. How did Cembra tackle this challenge?

The year obviously did not go as we had ­initially planned in January. However, thanks to our vast experience, we were able to respond calmly and adapt quickly to the changing circumstances. We acted promptly on a variety of issues: from our employees’ workplace situation to our customers’ ­default risk. We were able to draw on our strengths and capabilities and thus again demonstrate Cembra’s resilience in 2020.

Why is resilience so important?

Resilience shows that you know what you are doing and that you are competent. Competence is synonymous with quality and thus with a certain predictability, ­stability or at least less volatility. That, in turn, inspires confidence, both among our customers, who can see that we are capable of maintaining the quality of our products and services in a difficult environment, and among our employees, whose safety and jobs are always a top priority for Cembra. In the end, resilience also helps our investors to better assess the stability of their investments.

What solutions and approaches does Cembra employ to survive in times of crisis?

Cembra specialises in financing solutions in Switzerland. We have a long history in this market segment, and our product range is limited, yet diversified. Our experience and the simplicity of our business model pay off in times of crises. Just as we did during past challenges, such as the 2008/2009 financial crisis, we took proven risk management measures to ensure the resilience of our business. In 2020, for example, we scaled back our risk appetite in certain segments, tightened our lending criteria and helped customers to ensure that they could meet their contractual commitments. Our risk department analysed our loan portfolios in even more detail and monitored their quality. Our solid loss ratio is a good indication that portfolio quality was not adversely affected in 2020. The stability and robustness of our risk indicators speak to the effectiveness of our credit risk management and are thus a core component of Cembra’s resilience.

“Resilience shows that you know what you are doing.”

Volker Gloe, Chief Risk Officer