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Denis Bortnikov: "Small business needs to be expanded and brought to the masses"
Why does VTB have the most difficult business segment, explains the deputy chairman of the bank
The share of small and medium businesses in the gross domestic product of Russia accounts for about 20%. VTB is actively developing special programs to support this segment and is making ambitious plans to strengthen its position in the market, said Vice-President and Chairman of the Board of VTB Denis Bortnikov to EastRussia.
- Now this business segment is very interesting for banking institutions. We have several agreements with the Ministry of Economic Development within the framework of all existing programs in the area of small business development. You are right, earlier VTB was perceived to a lesser extent as a bank that works with this segment. But starting from this year, small business becomes a focal area of our work, and we have already launched a number of projects and programs that take into account all of its wishes and requirements.
- Already have success in this direction?
- Over the past six months, we showed a record profit in this area - the bank earned 23,1 billion rubles in total in medium and small business. Our loan portfolio in this segment exceeds 1 trillion rubles, and the portfolio of funds raised amounts to 1,3 trillion rubles.
These are very good indicators. And we fully provide funding in this area. We are a universal bank, and with more emphasis on the development of regional business - not only medium, but also small. This is a massive segment of our economy. And working closely with him is the number one task for the regional divisions of VTB Bank. Our strategic goal is to make VTB Bank the first choice for small businesses.
- How exactly will the bank's strategy for SMEs be implemented?
- A new program for the development of small and medium businesses provides for the creation and implementation of a new sales model. The most important direction will be the development of remote channels and partner and agency programs. In general, we set a very ambitious goal - over the next few years to reach the number of one million customers in the SMB segment. At the same time, we will continue to pay great attention to the medium-sized business segment, to customers who have grown from small businesses in our business - there are a large number in our portfolio.
- The market for small and medium-sized businesses is one of the most competitive today. How will you compete with other players?
- We are a high-tech universal bank that is well aware of the peculiarities of interaction with various target audiences, their needs and expectations. Speaking in terms of the automotive cluster, we have a car that drives perfectly, is easy to drive, and our task is to “pump” it in such a way that it drives faster than anyone. This is what we will do. Maybe even overfulfill the tasks that we set for ourselves now.
- What is the difficulty of working with the small business segment? What should be given special attention?
- Compared to a medium-sized business that is fairly stable and structured, a small business is more volatile, mobile, and the number of employees at an entrepreneur may be minimal, and his own property is often used as collateral. Understanding all this, we make very clear proposals for different segments, which should take into account all their features. We are ready to support them with existing subsidy programs. Our task is to increase the client base due to business activity. And we have all the tools for this.
- Do you know what to offer small businesses?
- We conducted a study of customer needs and customer experience and understand what really needs a small business. We strive to make the life of entrepreneurs more mobile and comfortable and actively develop remote channels of banking services and services, which significantly save time and help you effectively manage your business. Without visiting the office, you can now make a payment or make a conversion operation, purchase cash management service packages, order cash, a certificate, sign an agreement, transfer available funds to a deposit account and much more. You can also apply for a loan or bank guarantee in an online bank and receive these products remotely using a digital signature.
Our clients have access to modern Internet and mobile banking, a marketplace that includes a whole range of services, from cloud accounting to legal assistance and checking counterparties. We also opened an online portal that allows you to register a business, send an application to open an account, undergo training and receive discounts from VTB partners. A virtual branch allows customers to interact with our contact center using chat and collaboration tools in web interfaces.
We launched the “Closer to Business” portal. This is a free informational and educational resource where current articles on business issues are published, experts tell how to create and develop a business, and our clients have the opportunity to undergo training and receive a certificate. In addition, there is a free online consultation service on any business issues. Thus, we are ready to provide our clients with comprehensive support, both in terms of lending and the provision of financial services, and in the form of advice. Also, our clients have access to the VTB Business Connect platform, which allows access to the largest international marketplaces in the single window mode. But, despite the fact that the development of digital-channels is extremely important, we do not forget about the need for personal contact with customers, providing them with quality service and support. In any case, we focus on the needs of the business, for which speed, convenience and minimization of the number of filled and signed papers and forms are important, be it a VTB branch or digital channels.
We regularly launch various special offers. The “Let's Start with the Best” promotion is now in effect, during which companies and individual entrepreneurs opening the first bank account receive the opportunity to open an account free of charge and for three months of non-commissioned service as part of various service packages.
- VTB offers corporate clients a service for opening special accounts within the framework of procurement legislation. How is this process organized in your bank?
- As one of the banks authorized by the Russian government, we have started opening special accounts of legal entities and individual entrepreneurs for conducting purchases on electronic platforms within 44-FZ and 223-FZ - today more than 4 thousands of customers have already used our service. In the short term, VTB opens for free to existing and new partners accounts in branches serving individual entrepreneurs and legal entities on the bank’s website, as well as by remotely sending a statement to the bank through a personal account on the website of the Unified Electronic Trading Platform. We also service accounts, blocking and unblocking money for trading, free of charge. The account can be used many times: in any quantity of purchases on any electronic trading platform approved by the government. VTB has extensive experience in providing comprehensive services to corporate clients participating in procurement, offering not only cash and settlement services, but also bank guarantees, financing, profitable placement of funds, banking support services and much more.