Moscow, Russia (PressExposure) September 28, 2011 -- Taking part in the conference were George Piskov, Chairman of Uniastrum's Board of Directors, Gagik Zakaryan, Bank President, Eugene Tutkevich, Chairman of the Management Board, MB Deputy Chairmen Eugene Romakov, Vasily Kuznetsov and Sergei Larchenko, Kirill Tikhonov, Managing Director for Corporate Business Development, and Margarita Gerasimova, Vice President for Marketing. Television celebrity and journalist Dmitri Dibrov appeared as special guest.
The conference was chaired by Eugene Tutkevich, who introduced the Bank's new line-up of senior business executives. Mr. Tutkevich emphasized that Uniastrum's main areas of focus remain retail and SME operations. It was, therefore, on these matters that the conference concentrated.
Vasily Kuznetsov head of Uniastrum's retail segment, detailed the Bank's new products and initiatives for retail borrowers, simultaneously highlighting progress made in cross selling, and the start of an instant-issue card program in shopping precincts. Also announced at the conference was the upcoming launch this October of U-Bank, a new-look, enhanced-functionality online banking system. Turning to retail deposits, Mr. Kuznetsov noted that in third quarter of 2011 Uniastrum's deposit portfolio growth had outstripped the market average by 50%.
Of particular interest to the assembled journalists was the Bank's Access initiative, a consumer lending scheme debuted this July, since when personal loan applications have surged 80%. Dmitri Dibrov, who fronts the product's advertising campaign, told the audience that in his opinion the average Russian bank customer needed a firmer grounding in finance, adding that his collaboration with Uniastrum was motivated primarily by the Bank's enduring commitment to maintaining honest and open relationships with its clientele. One outcome of Uniastrum's winning partnership with Mr. Dibrov has been the Bank's decision to sponsor the tenth season of the popular television quiz show "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, to be broadcast by Channel 1 in October.
Speaking of Uniastrum's work with small and midsized businesses, Kirill Tikhonov said that the main achievements in this area had been centralizing the loan decision process and optimizing the credit cycle. Use of Internet solutions and integrating online loan applications with a CRM system continued, he said, to cut the time taken for making decisions, while also reducing credit risk. "Our aim," Mr. Tikhonov stressed, "is to become one of the country's Top-10 SME lenders. This year we plan to double our financing of this segment on 2010 and boost the lending portfolio 80%."
CFO Eugene Romakov unveiled Uniastrum's headline financials for the first half of 2011, noting a 20% increase in the Bank's assets since June 2010, due primarily to the ongoing development of the branch network. As of June 30, 2011 the Bank's assets stood at Rb 88.2 bn. Since year-start 2011 Uniastrum gave our Rb 23.1 bn in loans, Rb 18.6 bn and Rb 4.5 bn of which were issued to corporate and retails customers, respectively. In the past 12 months the Bank's credit portfolio expanded 14% to total Rb 75 bn as of August 31, 2011. Meantime, total deposits equaled Rb 53.7 bn, businesses accounting for Rb 19.4 bn, and households for Rb 34.3 bn. Over the past 12 months corporate deposits climbed over 33%, while retail deposits increased 14.7%.
"This July Uniastrum Bank secured a subordinated loan of Rb 1 bn from its parent company", Mr. Romakov said. "Before year-end 2011 we aim to negotiate another Rb 1 bn from the Bank of Cyprus Group. At present, our credit line with the Bank of Cyprus amounts to 1 bn, and we have used less than 50%.
Sergei Larchenko, head of the Bank's Operations and Administrative, and IT divisions, told the press conference of the new IT solutions currently being deployed by Uniastrum, as well as of the main changes being made to the branch network. "The Bank's branch network is upgraded on an ongoing basis. We are closing older offices and opening new ones in more accessible locations," he said. "For greater customer convenience we have introduced new business hours, and today some of our outlets work seven days a week."
Margarita Gerasimova outlined the Bank's social programs. September 26, she said, would see the start of a nationwide online drawing contest for children called Sunny Island, on which Uniastrum was collaborating with web portal Banki.ru, supported by the Cyprus Tourism Organization. "The aim of this new project is to help gifted children, and to provide Russian youngsters with a chance to find something out about Cyprus's heritage and the history of Russian-Cypriot relations," Ms. Gerasimova said. "All children aged 6-12 are invited to take part. The winners, who will be announced in early December, can look forward to a range of prizes that includes holidays in Cyprus, Apple graphics tablets, and professional artist's materials and equipment".