The online conference Banks in Russian Regions was held on Raiffeisenbank’s website, where Leonid Kachalov, Deputy Head of the Retail Private Individuals and Small Enterprises Directorate, and Evgeny Bogachev, Head of the Regional Corporate Business and Corporate Products Development Directorate, gave their perspective on the development prospects for the banking sector in various regions and talked about the regional specific features of Raiffeisenbank’s business.
Journalists from almost all the Russian federal districts took part in this conference. Many were interested to find out how the state of the Russian banking sector is evaluated, what region is the most important for the bank and what region is the most successful. Raiffeisenbank experts pointed out that on the whole the regional banking business is growing fast. To meet the growing demands of both individuals and companies for loans and services, banks are expanding by opening new points of service and developing new products. Talking about the most important regions, the speakers highlighted that there are no regions the bank is not interested in, but there are regions that need more attention.
Raiffeisenbank’s statistics confirm all the general trends of the development of the economy in the regions It is no surprise that cities with a population of over a million are the most profitable. The list of TOP 20 cities has remained unchanged for the last 2 years. However, there are some «breakthroughs» in this ranking. For example, there has of late been significant growth in cities such as Kaliningrad and Rostov-on-Don.
The Southern Federal District was said to be one of the most promising regions because of the funds invested into it by the state and private companies in the run-up to the Olympic games. The assets of Raiffeisenbank’s Yuzhny regional centre grew by 27% in 2012. The Anapa operational cash office was recognised as the best provider of retail services in 2012. In terms of the growth of the corporate loan portfolio, asides from the Yuzhny branch, experts mentioned the Sibirsky regional centre. The Central region had the highest gross revenue in 2012.
«Every region is very important; they are a part of our business and provide an opportunity to develop», Leonid Kachalov summed up. «We plan to develop our business at a steady pace in all of the cities in which the bank operates, with a special focus on regional centres and large cities».
As for the prospects for specific banking areas, the growth rates in the retail business are expected to be higher than in the corporate segment, with consumer loans still remaining the most popular retail product. More and more attention is being paid to micro, small and medium-sized business.
When asked whether regional specific features are taken into account when developing banking products, experts mentioned that both tariffs and customer requirements are developed based on these features. Nevertheless, Raiffeisenbank, like most federal players, has no products that were developed for a particular region and are not offered in other regions. Such experiments were done before — for instance with co-branded cards, but the demand for them was quite low.
It is not regional specific features that are taken into account in corporate business, but sectorial specific features. Products are «set up» individually for each customer, with due consideration for the customers’ individual needs and the specific nature of his or her business.
Local competition was another topic that was discussed. Who has the advantage — regional or federal banks? In the retail business all players have equal opportunities; in the corporate sector mainly federal banks compete, while regional players may offer faster loan decisions to local customers. Federal players have access to cheaper resources and more up-to-date technologies.
«The regional competition in all banking segments is strong, and is likely to grow,» said Evgeny Bogachev. «When every bank is willing to use price dumping on its commission products to improve customer turnover, high quality service and technological solutions become crucial.»
During the online conference, topics such as the development of certain segments in the regional banking business (private sector, small and medium-sized business, innovation projects) were touched upon. The problem of financial literacy in the regions, differences in the standard of service between central and regional offices and many other issues were discussed. You can read the full text of the online conference Banks in Russian Regions on Raiffeisenbank’s website.
ZAO Raiffeisenbank is a subsidiary of Raiffeisen Bank International AG. Raiffeisenbank ranks 12th among the Russian banks in terms of assets, based on 2012 results (Interfax-CEA). According to the same Interfax-CEA data, ZAO Raiffeisenbank ranked 5th in terms of liabilities of individuals and 10th with regard to consumer lending.
Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI) regards both Austria, where it is a leading corporate and investment bank, and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) as its home market. In CEE, RBI operates an extensive network of subsidiary banks, leasing companies and a range of other specialised financial service providers in 17 markets. RBI is the only Austrian bank with a presence in both the world’s financial centres and in Asia, the group’s further geographical area of focus. In total, around 61,000 employees service about 14.1 million customers through around 3,100 business outlets, the great majority of which are located in CEE. Raiffeisen Bank International is a fully-consolidated subsidiary of Raiffeisen Zentralbank Oesterreich AG (RZB). RZB indirectly owns around 78.5 per cent of the common stock, the remainder is in free float. RBI’s shares are listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange. RZB is the central institution of the Austrian Raiffeisen Banking Group, the country’s largest banking group, and serves as the group head office of the entire RZB Group, including RBI.