HERE AND BEYOND
Next Level of Transformation is the Switch to Digital Banking
Media Room

 

GlobalMarkets: Mr. Hanesyan, what is behind the growth of the Armenian banking sector in the last year?

Artak Hanesyan, AmeriabankOne of the reasons I would like to highlight is the growth of Armenian economy over the last two years. After the Velvet Revolution, Armenia undertook political and economic reforms and a huge fight against corruption. This has greatly improved Armenia’s image internationally and helped to generate trust in our country, its economy and its real estate. Banks have also played a significant role in economic growth by financing the private sector. Armenia’s assets to GDP ratio is 83%, which is approaching that of Eastern European countries, demonstrating the increasingly important role the banks play in the Armenian economy.

  

The growth rate of the banking sector is impressive. Loans alone grew by 16% in 2018. We are pleased to note that the growth is represented in both retail and business, as well as the mortgage sector where demand is currently higher than supply.

The volume of deposits in Armenian banks increased by 12.7% during the year. The market is becoming more active by the day, and even during the vacation period, the number of operations was comparable with the highest season of the previous year. What we observe now is the synergy of banking and the economy: growth of lending stimulates the economy and economic growth in turn stimulates the demand for loans and other banking products.The Armenian banking system has faced two global financial recessions in the last 10 years, as well as the Velvet Revolution. It came through all of them without any serious consequences or bankruptcies. Our financial system is stable and our banks are sustainable, highly transparent and enjoy the trust of their clients.

 

 

We have always made a point of putting long-term projections at the core of all our strategies.

We strove to keep pace with global trends even where local  market was still centered on traditional models.

Innovation is and has always been our signature move.—Artak Hanesyan, CEO Ameriabank

 

How is Ameriabank able to remain the leader in the Armenian banking sector year after year amid such tough competition?

We have always made a point of putting long-term projections at the core of all our strategies. We strove to keep pace with global trends even where local market was still centered on traditional models. Innovation is and has always been our signature move.

Moreover, we develop Ameriabank’s products based on detailed analysis of our clients’ needs. That’s why they meet our clients’ expectations to the highest possible degree. We offer a wide palette of distance banking services, actively promoting online lending. We do everything to deliver the best service to our clients, protect their operations and save their time. This is what makes it possible to be the leader – good customer experience, upto-date methods and professional staff.

 

Moody’s has recently raised Ameriabank’s rating to Ba3. What does this mean for you?

The new rating was affirmed after Moody’s reviewed and raised Armenia’s sovereign rating from B1 with positive outlook to Ba3 with stable outlook earlier this year. Since the credit rating of a company is constrained by the sovereign credit rating of the country, Ameriabank has the highest possible rating for an Armenian company, which is the same as the Armenia’s sovereign rating.

The upgrade of Ameriabank’s long-term local currency deposit rating from B1 to Ba3 was driven by the upgrade of its Baseline Credit Assessments (BCAs) reflecting a combination of the Armenian banking system’s improved macro profile and the bank’s consistently sound financial metrics such as asset quality, strong capital position, high ROA and ROE, sufficient liquidity and diversified funding base.

Ameriabank’s long-term foreign currency deposit rating was upgraded from B2 to B1 and the longterm counterparty risk from Ba3 to Ba2. These ratings are very important for attracting equity market investments and international funds.

 

The market is always changing, from technology to consumer attitudes. How has Ameriabank changed, and what will be next?

10 years ago nobody could have imagined how impressive Ameriabank’s transformation would be during those years. From a small bank with $45 million in assets and $9 million in equity Ameriabank has grown into the dominant leader of the Armenian banking system. Our asset base is 36 times larger than it was 10 years ago, while our loan portfolio is 130 times larger. We have been the leader in terms of assets and loans for some time now; we are the 11th largest taxpayer in the country, far ahead of all other Armenian banks. Since 2008 we have raised more than $1 billion from IFIs – a strong indication of our partners’ trust. We are also number one in investment banking with a 30% share of corporate bond issuance. We have grown from a petty bank to become the leading financial institution in Armenia by financial ratios, service quality and global-level innovation. We did not grow with the market; we surpassed it.

The main change over these 10 years is technological breakthroughs. Instead of remaining a purely financial company, we decided to venture into technology, actively promoting digital solutions and distance banking. Due to robust corporate governance systems in line with best international practices and balanced HR policy we have been able to bring together a brilliant team of like-minded professionals. The success of our business rests on people and technology. As for further transformation: I am confident that technology is and will remain the key to success in banking. For Armenia, with its small domestic market, digital transformation in banking will be especially important as the foundation of development for years to come.

 

 

Source: GlobalMarkets

Updated 14.11.2019, 16:36
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