Latifundist.com: In this sense, it is increasingly said that traditional banks will die, and only those who will go online will survive. Are you preparing for such development of events?
Oleksiy Volchkov: Several years ago, some experts said that everyone would ride electric cars. The trend of electric cars is evident, but the majority continue to ride the traditional cars. The same is the situation with the banks. Talks about the death of classic banks, were there already 10 years ago. Today, the transition to the online is obvious, we are also developing the Digital. But this does not mean that all conventional banks will disappear.
Firstly, as the world practice shows, people want a face-to-face contact. It is important for a person to understand that they work with a person whom they trust. In a literal sense, I have to look into the eyes of a person who I entrust my money to, from whom I take a loan or receive a consultation. It is important for me to get this not from a robot. In this issue, at first glance it may seem strange enough, but the emotional component that Digital cannot give is important. Although, of course, more and more will be done by robots, this is already happening.
At the same time, I believe that the role of a branch will change. This will be more of a place for "talking and socializing", a place for mutual learning, enriching with knowledge, emotions. Roughly speaking, I need a loan, and as a businessman I want to share my dream with the banker, so that he supports me in lending. This emotional part cannot be replaced by machines yet.
Latifundist.com: Mr. Volchkov, let's move on to the day-to-dayness, or rather, to the results of the year. What was the year 2017 for FUIB?
Oleksiy Volchkov: With pride I can say that this year we entered the development stage. If during the two past years, we were thinking about how to save the business, now we decide how to develop it. At the end of the third quarter, the results are very good, the bank's operating income doubled up to 3 billion UAH, profit rose to 760 million UAH. We are in the top-five of most profitable banks, the number of clients (both retail and corporate) is growing.
The loan portfolio of the bank doubled. That is, we entered the phase, which journalists talked about for a long time "When will banks start lending to the real sector of the economy?" The economy did not enter the rapid growth, but it stabilized, which allowed banks to feel more confident and to begin their development. Therefore, the year 2017 is quite successful for the bank, and it creates a good springboard for the next one.
Latifundist.com: Was agro-industrial complex one of the priority sectors for you this year?
Oleksiy Volchkov: Agro-loans have grown by an average of two times. In general, the share of agricultural loans in the total portfolio of the bank remains at the level of 20-25%. The bank's position is to diversify the operational-retail business somewhere at the level of 50 to 50. The same applies to sectoral approaches. We are very fond of agriculture, but we believe that trade, and industry, and other sectors will also develop in the country. Therefore, 25-30% is the share of agriculture that we would like to keep in our portfolio for today. Then we will look around.
In general, FUIB was created as a bank supporting exporters. In fact, it was an industrial bank for export-import operations. And we still remain in the top three in this segment, we are not going to leave it. Most of the exporters and importers of Ukraine in one way or another cooperate with us. And this is a very wide range of industries. Both we and I personally really want machine building, including agricultural machinery, to be restored in Ukraine, so that the country stops being dependent from raw materials. More than 60% in our export is a raw material component.
Recently, our representatives have traveled to the Western Ukraine to a sugar refinery, which our client built. A couple of days ago, our managers went to Kropivnitskyi for an opening a sunflower oil plant. We also visited the largest flax factory in Europe recently, where we participated in financing. Wherever there is a deeper processing, we try to be present there.
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