HERE AND BEYOND
Ameriabank showed a very flexible policy during the crisis
Media Room
"Capital" newspaper:  Interview with the Head of Corporate Client Managers’ Service of Ameriabank, Yerem Shahbazyan
 
- Mr. Shahbazyan, is the opinion that Ameriabank gives preference to corporate clients true? If yes, then how would You explain it?
 
- As far back as August 2007 when the owner of the bank and its management changed and 99.7% of shares was obtained by TDA Holding Limited, affiliated with Troika Dialog, one of the largest Russian investment companies, the selected strategy was to found a powerful corporate bank aimed at investment. The target was the attraction of large and medium clients. The bank offers corporate, investment and a limited number of retail banking services, providing a full package of modern solutions. We already have a rapidly developing and active clientele. Currently, 9 out of 20 large taxpayers are our clients and we work on attracting 5 more.
 
- What do You mean by saying “corporate clients”?
 
- They are legal entities holding accounts with our bank and using our complex package of corporate services.
 
- Giving preference to corporate clients, don’t you overlook the interests of individuals?
 
- Though the bank gives preference to rendering corporate banking services, it also provides a full package of retail banking services to the employees of legal entities, participants, shareholders, as well as to those individuals, which meet the standards set by the bank. In this regard the policy of the bank is to render high-quality and individual services to every client. Considering the satisfaction of its clients to be the most important target of its activity, the bank was the first to implement and still applies the NPS system of evaluation of clients’ satisfaction level, which always improves the service quality.
 
- What new products do you offer or plan to offer to your clients?
 
First of all I would like to present our main approach to client service. We do not only sell our services. We disclose needs of every client and accordingly propose to them banking services best meeting their needs.
 
I would also like to mention that Ameriabank was the first in Armenia to establish the institute of client managers, that is every client has its private manager upon opening an account, who coordinates all the banking operations of the client, provides proper consultancy on every service, is the representative of the client in the bank and a connecting link between the client and other subdivisions of the bank. We provide quite competitive and flexible tariff plans. Offering it to clients we adjust it to their needs. We have a special tariff plan for our large, more active and loyal clients which ensures tariff stability for long run and allows clients planning for longer period of time, not worrying about market risks.
 
We are among leaders in the Armenian market by our “Bank-Client” remote control system. This is mainly due to the discounts provided to our clients, particularly, to the system users. Thus, for all clients, the number of cards of salary projects of which exceeds 50 or the number of transactions during a quarter exceeds 200 the “Bank-Client” system will be free for that period. Currently, the implementation of internet-banking system is in process, which will contribute more to the access of clients to the bank. There is also CRM (Customer Relationship Management) contemporary system in process, which is an innovation for Armenia. This system will ensure absolutely new approach to the customer relationship management and coordination, automation of all business processes of services, will contribute to better disclosure of clients’ needs and their satisfaction. Nowadays there is a need in such banking services as leasing, factoring and we offer quite competitive terms.
 
I would like to especially highlight the interest of corporate clients in investment pension schemes, which give a range of opportunities to clients. First of all it is an opportunity for the employer to motivate its employees and establish predictable long-lasting relations with them. At the same time it gives an opportunity for clients not only to plan and have future savings, but also have additional income. Truly, preserving financial means and multiplying them is important for everyone to ensure good living conditions for the old age.  
 
- During the last month, there was a noticeable decrease of interest rates in the market. How this influenced the dynamics of funds attracted by you? What is the structure of these funds in currency?
 
- The deposits of corporate clients in our bank grow rapidly. The growth of time deposits of legal entities has formed 187% from the beginning of the year by the results of eight months. Compared to the same period of the previous year, time deposits increased by 8 times. This is a significant growth, isn’t it? And this is in case that the initiative of the bank of 100% insurance of deposits covers only deposits of individuals. By the semi-annual indicators of deposits attracted from legal entities we are undoubtedly the leader in the banking system of Armenia. Of course, such growth of deposits is conditioned by the trust of investors in the bank, its owner and management. This is also due to the all aforementioned factors and opportunities that we offer to clients these days, i.e. quite competitive interest rates for time deposits and such a range of products, which fully meets all the needs of even the most hard-to-please clients. Besides, the client receives consultancy from its manager on selection of deposit type and term. The manager always keeps in touch with its clients, regularly calls and reminds about the deadlines.
 
After devaluation of dram the currency structure of deposits has changed. The majority of clients keep their savings in foreign currency. As a result the bank has excess of foreign currency, which is difficult to place as parallel to it the demand for loans in foreign currency has also decreased. The picture with the demand deposits is a bit different. Legal entities mainly use Armenian dram in their mutual settlements. Any exchange into foreign currency and back may cause losses and bears a large risk.
 
- How has the crisis influenced the activity of the bank?
 
- Ameriabank showed a very flexible policy during the crisis. The signals that the bank had already received before the crisis from its colleagues of Troika Dialog helped design an appropriate policy to operate in different conditions of market developments in advance. As a result, notwithstanding the development and aggravation of the crisis, the bank managed to have stable growth rates, becoming the leader in the Armenian banking system. Thus, by the results of the first quarter the bank was the 4th by its total capital (AMD 20.8 bln), 1st – by the share capital (AMD 18.2 bln), 5th – by assets (AMD 86.2 bln), 3rd – by net profit (AMD 0.6 bln), 3rd – by liabilities to clients (AMD 60.4 bln), etc.
 
Our bank very rapidly responded to all the changes in the financial market. The crisis led to the lack of idle funds in the financial market. However, the bank never stopped disbursing loans. It even decreased interest rates for some loans, assisting the activities of enterprises and being a deterrent for the increase of prices for the imported goods in USD.
However, independent of the undesirable developments of market conditions, our bank has sufficient financial means, experienced and far-seeing professional team to cope with the unexpected blows of the economic crisis.
Updated 25.07.2009, 11:22
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