NEIGHBORLY LOVE

Kazakhstan 2014 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Aleksandr Ilyasovih Kamalov, Chairman of the Management Board of Sberbank, on entering the Kazakhstani market, the implementation of new strategies, and expanding the customer base.

Aleksandr Ilyasovih Kamalov
BIOGRAPHY
Aleksandr Ilyasovih Kamalov attended the Perm State University to study Management in 1997, before heading to the Higher School of Economics in 2009 to study his MBA. He began his career in 1995 at the Western Ural Bank of Sberbank of Russia as the Director of the Corporate Customers and Budget Department. He soon became the Deputy Chairman of the Management Board in 2008, the Adviser of the Chairman of the Board of Directors, and then First Deputy Chairman of the Management Board, before taking up his current position as Chairman of the Management Board.

Sberbank commenced its operations in Kazakhstan in 2006. How much has the Bank grown since that time?

In fact, the bank has achieved some strategic objectives. When the subsidiary bank came to Kazakhstan, it had a short-term, three-year strategy to tap a 1% market share, and to win trust and create a solid reputation among citizens and the clients of the bank. One year later, having demonstrated qualitative growth in all indicators, Sberbank became one of the 10 largest banks in the country. The strategic goal of the bank's development until 2015, for example, to occupy a 5% market share, was achieved ahead of schedule in 2012. In regard to assets, the current share is 6.8%. According to the results of 2013, the bank's assets grew by more than 40% to KZT1.035 trillion. As of today, Sberbank has the fourth largest assets among Kazakhstani banks. It should be noted that for the entire period of its operations in Kazakhstan's financial market, Sberbank has not paid any dividends; however, it has reinvested its profits in infrastructure, IT development, the introduction of new products, and service quality improvement.

Could you describe the 2018 strategy that you recently implemented?

We have now commenced the implementation of a new strategy for 2014-2018. This process does not involve only the subsidiary bank in Kazakhstan, but the whole Sberbank Group. A customer-oriented approach, efficiency, up-to-date technologies, responsibility to clients and the community, and decision-making maturity are what we will rely on to move forward. Clearly, the numerical indicators will be pronounced; however, it is critical that we achieve qualitative objectives through efficiency. We are going to become the leader in Kazakhstan's import/export operations in those countries where Sberbank has its resource groups. Today, Sberbank is present in more than 20 countries. The development of relations with regional countries, such as Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, are very significant to us, too. Our clients' business interests are focused in these countries, and we will make every effort to provide them with convenient, high-quality services.

Sberbank JSC is a member of the Sberbank international group. What benefits is this associated with this, and are there any preferences for your clients' servicing in other countries?

Our membership in the Sberbank international group is evidently associated with a number of benefits. Therefore, the parent bank's brand ensures our high recognition and a safety margin, which is significant for the ratings, if required to back up liquidity. On the whole, the Group follows a policy according to which every subsidiary bank must ensure its continuous and sufficient liquidity on its own. This approach allows for the avoidance of risk multiplication. At present, we have maximum ratings, whereas the loan portfolio delinquency ratio is minimum and the liquidity cushion is large. Besides, we can conduct banking transactions via the Sberbank Group, which in fact gives us an additional advantage in terms of speed and cost of the transactions. As to preferences for services available to our clients in other countries, in 2013 we extended the coverage of the Unified Tariff Area (UTA). Now, it is possible to withdraw cash from Sberbank cards for free at the Group's banks in five countries: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Turkey, and Croatia. Sberbank's clients have duly appreciated this advantage, as the number of payments has grown by 200% within UTA.