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Banks sacrifice profits for the sake of the safety of their employees in the ATO zone
06 November 2014
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Following the main borrowers of the eastern region, i.e. the representatives of large business, bankers massively scale down their activities in the area of ​​the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) in the Luhansk and the Donetsk regions. This was encouraged by the corresponding resolution No. 466 of the NBU, which prohibits the financial institution to carry out any operation in the areas that are out of control of the Ukrainian authorities.

Requested stop

"Most of the bank branches in the ATO zone do not work. Only some financial institutions are willing to risk the lives of their employees and depositors' money. The efficiency of work in these circumstances is highly questionable: there are almost no clients and business is completely frozen. Although there are a few banks that are trying to organize the work of their branches in some format. It may be work in the "closed doors" format when customers are served after a phone call or within a shortened work schedule. But these are solitary cases. Basically, the region's prospects are very vague," one of the bankers says. Business and ordinary people, he said, left the big cities, some of the banks, whose offices were located in the ​​ATO zone, have already gone to other regions or undergo this procedure now.

For example, FUIB closed about 30 branches in the troubled region and evacuated about 640 of its employees from the war zone.

FUIB began preparing for emergencies even during Euromaidan. At that time a part of employees working in Kyiv, were relocated to virtually empty Donetsk office, said deputy chairman of FUIB's Board, Tomasz Wisniewski. There were two data processing centers of FUIB, which were located in Donetsk. But when the unrest transferred to the eastern part of the country, the bank decided to bring one of the two Donetsk data processing centers (DPC) over to a safer place, and to disperse workers to the "quiet regions". "All banking processes pass through the DPC. In the spring, when the situation in the east became heated, we decided to divide the infrastructure and to move the Donetsk data center to a safe place in Ukraine. Insurance companies that insured our equipment and Visa and MasterCard payment systems participated in the process of moving. A week was needed to move the data center, six days later it started to operate. Now we have started the process of creating another data center, we hope that it will be launched before the end of the year. Its value is several million dollars, but data security is worth it", assured Wisniewski.

Work of ATMs in the Donetsk and the Luhansk regions is hindered too. ATMs were shot at repeatedly; armed men took away even the cash transit vans from part of financial institutions. It is quite difficult to refill money to the ATMs under such conditions.

To help the weak

Despite the problems in the work, banks are trying to meet customers halfway. Many financial institutions offer borrowers benefit programs of debt servicing. For example, they consider the possibility of redistribution of overdue debt, carrying forward payments of overdue interests on loans, providing vacation for payments of the principal debt, as well as the abolition of penalties for arrears (interest, double interest, commissions, etc.).

Many banks have introduced credit vacations for mobilized clients already in spring.

Taking into account the financial losses incurred by banks from the events in the east (for example, excluding operational losses, FUIB's losses are assessed in the amount of from 10 million to 30 million UAH), and the deterioration of their loan portfolio and the outflow of deposits multiplied by the devaluation of the national currency; the regulator also went to meet them halfway by making a decision in late August not to apply penalties for the violation of prudential regulations and standard limits for the total open currency position.

Read the full article on the website of the newspaper Capital


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