Damian Ragan: PJSC «KREDOBANK» is well-prepared for the period of turbulence»
PJSC «KREDOBANK» was recognized as the most survivable Ukrainian bank by Forbes magazine. What are the main reasons for that?
— In my opinion, this achievement was reached, first of all, due to the hard everyday work of PJSC «KREDOBANK» entire team during the past three years. We prepared in advance to the period of financial turbulence in Ukraine — in particular, we solved the problem of 'bad' loans and thoroughly cleaned up PJSC «KREDOBANK» balance. At the same time we did our best to minimize the influence of the situation with Crimea and Donbas on PJSC «KREDOBANK» work.
At the same time PJSC «KREDOBANK» actively developed all its businesses. And, of course, we constantly continued to fulfill all obligations to our customers and pay all costs without delays as we have done every day during PJSC «KREDOBANK» 25-year history. All these results are being recognized by the market and community — now PJSC «KREDOBANK» is on top of different Ukrainian ratings of survivability and has the highest rating on Ukrainian scale. Moreover, in February 2015, two Ukrainian rating agencies — Standard-Rating and Expert-Rating — changed PJSC «KREDOBANK» national ratings outlook from stable to positive.
During financial turbulence most banks are experiencing difficulties. What are the secrets of PJSC «KREDOBANK» profitability in crisis?
— First of all, we actively developed our business and earned new customers who trusted PJSC «KREDOBANK» as stable and serious European bank. At the same time, we optimized and shortened our operational expenses so our balance became positive. The adequate policy of assets management also helped us to minimize losses on the currency exchange rate — we formed a portfolio of capital issues in hard currency. As a result, in 2014 we received nearly Hr 83.5 million in operational profit and now we continue to be the profitable bank.
What businesses of PJSC «KREDOBANK» were the most successful in 2014?
— The biggest success in 2014 among PJSC «KREDOBANK» businesses was taken by the car loans business for retail customers — since April 2014 PJSC «KREDOBANK» became the national leader for this market and kept the leadership until the end of the year. The total amount of car loans issued for the last three years now exceeded Hr 1 billion. Good results are shown by corporate business, small and medium enterprises — both corporate customers and small businesses react quickly on problems with some Ukrainian banks and prefer to work with banks which have strategic Western capital. As a result, the deposits of big and small companies in hard currency increased 50.3 percent in 2014 while the whole banking system experienced the shortage of this value by more than 32 percent.
PJSC «KREDOBANK» is a part of the biggest Polish banking group — PKO Bank Polski. How PKO Bank Polski supports its Ukrainian subsidiary as for now?
— PKO Bank Polski, the leader of Polish banking market, continuously supports PJSC «KREDOBANK» not only with the best Polish experience, but also with resources. At the end of 2013 and at the beginning of 2014, PKO Bank Polski offered PJSC «KREDOBANK» financial assistance at Hr 220 million in equivalent. Although PJSC «KREDOBANK» has enough own resources, there are also opened hard currency credit lines for PJSC «KREDOBANK» from PKO Bank Polski which are the guaranteed channels for the bank to obtain additional liquidity in case of further turbulence.
What is the contribution of PJSC «KREDOBANK» into Ukrainian-Polish cooperation (both for businesses and individuals)?
— The fact that PJSC «KREDOBANK» is a part of PKO Bank Polski group gives us the opportunity to offer our individual and business customers exclusive services for connection with Poland. First of all we can say about fast money transfers to and from Poland thanks to our direct connection to PKO Bank Polski. For individual customers we offer unique payment card 'Zlotowka' which is nominated in Polish zlotys and has fixed minimal commission for cash withdrawal in ATMs of PKO Bank Polski in Poland. Support of joint Ukrainian — Polish business is one of our top priorities in business activity — as for now, we offer various commission discounts for newly registered business with Ukrainian and Polish stake.
What are the most successful directions of banking business in Ukraine for 2015?
— Due to the current uncertainty of the conditions caused by the economic fall due to economic and military reasons, the main activity of the banking sector in 2015 will be fighting with crisis. The banks with the best chances of survival are those which developed corporate and retail businesses in balance, have no big business volumes in the eastern part of Ukraine and can receive all necessary help from foreign shareholders. It is confirmed by the fact that none from 40 banks with problems which are under provisional administration belonged to European financial group.
February 27, 2015