The bank strengthens the position of a leader through professional acknowledgement as well
Media Room

Interview of ‘’ with Lusine Balasanyan, Head of Payment Instruments and Special Accounts Unit, Ameriabank CJSC

2012 results of trade finance program contest were published in the latest edition of TFP magazine by European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). You as Ameriabank’s representative were among the gold winners. We are happy to see our compatriot among the winners of a contest arranged by such an authoritative institution. Please accept our congratulations on this occasion and provide the details of the contest. Why did you decide to participate?

During 2012 EBRD touched upon lots of issues related to trade finance program which were published in EBRD’s TFP magazine under Trade Finance Clinic heading. Trade finance specialists from different countries of the world shared their professional opinions and offered solutions to the problems. All problems raised were related to situations occurring during the work process, they were pressing and interesting for any trade finance specialist. The contest is based on international professional experience, rules and practice. Study of the raised issues enables you to advance your knowledge and professional background.

As per 2012 results, 66 participants with highest scores from around 16 countries were shortlisted and were awarded with special gold, silver and bronze TFP prizes by EBRD. I won 2012 TFP GOLD WINNER prize. As a whole, participation in the contest was a perfect opportunity for me to develop my professional skills.
This contest is significant also in terms of its being the first.

As to participation, I must say that Ameriabank constantly encourages professional growth of its employees. While working in an institution like Ameriabank, which experiences aggressive development, a specialist cannot afford marking time. You can never feel yourself confident in the team without continuous professional growth. This was a good chance to test my abilities, get acquainted with new approaches in international practice and develop skills for assessment of non-standard situations.

Have you ever participated in other contests or was this your first experience?

This prize was preceded by success I had in 2011 when I participated in online training arranged jointly by EBRD and International Chamber of Commerce. I would like to thank EBRD for this opportunity since it was due to sustainable and mutually beneficial cooperation between Ameriabank and EBRD that I was offered to participate in the high quality training held by leading specialists of International Chamber of Commerce, who shared with us the important principles and innovations of international practice. I got a qualification of an international specialist and received certificates of ICC uniform rules and practice of trade finance products, INCOTERMS and Environment and social issues in trade.

How do you assess application of trade finance facilities in Armenia as a specialist? It’s no secret that often people apply to bank for trade finance basically meaning to get a loan. What achievements did Ameriabank have in trade finance as one of the leaders in that field?

First of all I would like to state that before the economic collapse in 2008-2009, main part, i.e. 75-80% of international trade was performed through down payments and open accounts and only 20-25% of the trade was made via special trade finance instruments of banks. Yet during the collapse risks in business environment drew greater attention and contributed to growth of the number of transactions executed via trade finance instruments, mainly via LCs and guarantees. As a result, weight of the transactions executed via the mentioned instruments grew to reach 35-40%.

Businessmen in Armenia mainly apply to banks to finance their import and export transactions. So along with growth of the awareness of businessmen and increase of the demand in financial advisory services rendered by banks, the demand for trade finance grows, too. Banking system of Armenia still has little experience in application of trade finance instruments, yet businessmen start getting adapted to application of financing tools and begin to appreciate their benefits. For businessmen engaged in international trade application of trade finance instruments is preferable in terms of management of risks inherent to cross-border transactions. This benefit enables growth of demand in LCs and guarantees YoY.

Armenia is more an importing country, so application of international trade instruments has large growth potential. At the same time I would like to mention that while considering loan investments per branches of economy it becomes evident that trade is prevailing and is followed by industry. Currently there are instruments for financing of these spheres which will mitigate to the minimum the risks inherent to international transactions.

Ameriabank is among the leaders in Armenia by trade finance transactions the volume of which experiences unprecedented growth. Particularly, in 2012 total volume of import and export transactions executed via trade finance instruments comprised about 151 million US dollars, exceeding the same indicator for the previous year by 75%. According to Q1, 2013 results, Ameriabank’s portfolio of LCs and bank guarantees grew by 90% as compared with the same period of the previous year and totaled 49 million US dollars as of March 31, 2013. Volume of LCs grew by 115% and that of guarantees by 56%.

By the way, major part of financing was directed to acquisition of imported equipment for industrial and processing plants. It’s evident that industry and processing sector entered a development stage thus triggering further development of economy and growth of the employment rate.

I would like to stress the role of international financial institutions in trade finance as well, which was especially highlighted after the growth of crediting rates and toughening of lending terms due to economic crisis. They ensured availability of necessary financial resources to countries in development or transition stage.

Updated 18.05.2013, 17:47
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