case studies
efficiency optimization

Innovative services improve efficiency and convenience for Polish university

Full range of services for AWFiS Gdansk physical education and sport university

The challenge

Akademia wychowania fizyczneg i sportu w Gdansku (AWFiS Gdansk) is a university of physical education and sport in Gdansk, Poland, with an academic staff of 188 and 4,200 BA and MA students. A change of administrative authorities at AWFiS Gdansk resulted in a new rector and financial team (chancellor and bursar) being appointed. In order to promote the university across Poland, attract more students, and strengthen the university's financial position the new rector (Professor Waldemar Moska) began a long-term programme of reforms. One of the pillars of these reforms was a change to the system of financial management of the university. The goal was to improve financial efficiency, lower costs and enhance service delivery to students. Financial due diligence showed that the university's existing bank was costly and provided a limited range of products, so the financial team began discussions with a number of banks on possible solutions that would help them to achieve their financial objectives.

The solution

Citi Handlowy proposed that AWFiS Gdansk move its operating account to the bank and use a wide range of GTS products and services including CitiDirect, debit cards, direct debit and SpeedCollect, which automates reconciliation of incoming payments. Citi also proposed the use of two innovative services – foreign currency prepaid cards and SMS confirmation for mobile phones – that had never been implemented in CEE before.

AWFiS Gdansk sends many of its students abroad as part of projects funded by the EU. The EU provides funds to the university, which then awards them as scholarships to students. Historically, remittances were in Polish zloty resulting in foreign exchange costs for students and fees were paid for each payment, which was costly for the university. Citi Handlowy proposed the use of AWFiS Gdansk-branded prepaid cards in euros or dollars so that students do not incur foreign exchange costs. Moreover, payments are sent as a single electronic transfer, substantially reducing the university's transaction costs.

In addition, Citi Handlowy proposed the use of SMS confirmation for students when AWFiS Gdanskhas receives their tuition fee. This gives the student greater visibility of their funds and provides an early indication of potential problems.

The result

Following a formal request for proposal, Citi Handlowy was mandated for AWFiS Gdansk's operating account and a full range of GTS products in September 2011. New accounts have been opened and SpeedCollect implementation is underway. It is envisaged that prepaid cards will be issued to students early in 2012. In addition to intangible results, such as better visibility of the university among students using co-branded prepaid cards and more efficient booking processes, AWFiS Gdansk expects to save a minimum of $30,000 a year as a result of working with Citi.