- Serhiy Pavlovych, it is not a secret that for the whole country and especially for the banking sector, this year was one of the most difficult in the history of independent Ukraine. Tell us how the banking system, in particular your bank, survived this difficult year.
- Indeed, this year has been extremely difficult for us all. Regarding the economic situation this year can be divided into two periods: before and after August. Specifically before August took place the key events that determined the current economic and political situation in the country - Maydan, the annexation of the Crimea, the beginning of military operations in the east, and the sharp devaluation of the hryvnia. In August another event occurred, which had a tremendous impact on the economy - termination of the banking system in the ATO zone. This region with the highest population density and large number of enterprises is one of key regions to the development of the banking sector. All this significantly affected the state of the banking system, in particular caused panic among the population of the region - people began to massively withdraw deposits from banks. The banking system was losing funds during the whole year. The largest outflows from the system were in April, August and November. In these months took place the most significant events, of which I have already mentioned - the annexation of the Crimea, the threat of full-scale military invasion. Under these conditions, weak banks simply did not survive - more than a dozen banks were closed; the depositors suffer from this most of all. However, despite the crisis, the banking system works, and strong banks only strengthen their positions. Today FUIB is among the most stable banks in the country. First Ukrainian International Bank is one of the five banks that have successfully passed the stress test of the NBU.
- You have mentioned that many banks faced the serious outflows of funds. What is the situation in FUIB?
- Of course, the situation is very tangible for us. Like all banks, we had an outflow of funds. However, our rates are much lower than the average rates in the market. For this the bank's management during the year has undertaken a range of measures - the transportation of data centers from Donetsk to a safe place, the organization of a special channel of work through Kiev, the decision to change the legal address of the bank, the launch of deposit campaign, etc. Thanks to these measures, we were able to reverse the situation and in September a steady increase in deposits started in our bank. Since the beginning of the year deposit portfolio of the bank rose in 1 billion UAH equivalent, while the banking system continues to lose money. This shows that we are trusted and in a difficult situation the clients appeal to us. Today new and new customers come to our bank for services, both retail clients and entrepreneurs. We have been actively working with small businesses, and today offer a range of banking services and products to small and medium-sized businesses.
- Do the customers of the banks that were closed due to their inability to withstand the crisis conditions come to you?
- Yes, there are a lot of them among our clients. Only from September to December, we received 5.3 thousand new customers who have placed their deposits in FUIB. Also the clients’ portrait has changed. If earlier depositors included mostly wealthy clients, now the bank's services are actively used by the people who place deposits in the amount of 30-50 thousand UAH. The term of deposits has also changed. Today people do not risk parting with the money for a long time and therefore make deposits for short periods up to 3 months.
- Many banks had the disruptions in connection with the events. How did FUIB work all that time?
- Despite all the difficulties of the outgoing year, we did not stop the work of our branches and ATMs for even one day, and consistently carried out all payments. Surely we had to stop our work in the Crimea and in the ATO zone. In the eastern region we suspended the work of nearly 30 offices.
We highly appreciate our reputation and the trust of our customers. That is why we have paid off every penny to our Crimean customers. By the way, in spring 2015 we will expand our banking network to 220 branches by means of amalgamation with the bank "Renaissance Credit", which will provide our customers with even better and more comfortable services and a wide range of banking products.
Source: Vechirnyi Mykolayiv
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