Nerses Karamanukyan: “The strategy of Anelik Bank will change”

08.10.2013 | 09:46 Home / News / Articles /

Exclusive interview of the Chairman of the Board of “Anelik Bank” CJSC Nerses Karamanukyan to Banks.am

- Mr. Karamanukyan, the Lebanese Credit Bank has recently become the sole owner of “Anelik Bank”. How will this affect the bank’s strategy?

- First of all I would like to note that Credit Bank acquired the share of “Anelik Bank” in 2009 and over several years it has increased its stake to 90% in 2012. Recently Credit Bank has acquired the rest 10%, thus becoming the sole owner of “Anelik Bank”. The strategy of the bank will definitely change given the vision of Credit Bank.

I would also like to note that Credit Bank is the most rapidly developing bank in Lebanon. As part of its remarkable growth, Credit Bank has received the prestigious awards for “Best Financial Growth” and “Fastest Growth" over the past ears. We will certainly take every effort to reach the indices of Credit Bank in “Anelik Bank” as well.

- “Anelik Bank” used to focus on the financing of small and medium entrepreneurship (SME). Are you going to give a new impetus to this direction?

- You’re right, “Anelik Bank” indeed was one of the first Armenian banks to start financing small and medium entrepreneurship back in 1996 in cooperation with “Eurasia” Foundation within the framework of a loan program aimed at SME development. Afterwards, the bank continued financing this sphere within the framework of loan programs of the German-Armenian Fund, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and other international and local financial structures.

At this moment I can’t evaluate the bank’s steps aimed at financing small and medium entrepreneurship as satisfactory. We will take every effort to increase the share of SME in our credit portfolio by means of new banking services and instruments and make it one of our main crediting directions. We have necessary financial funds to do this, and we are ready to offer conditions for speedier, wider and mutually beneficial cooperation to our clients.

- “Anelik Bank” is better known as a bank that serves corporate clients. It was not that active in providing retail banking and consumer crediting services. Do you think it’s possible to apply a new strategy for a retail banking business?

- “Anelik Bank” is a universal bank providing services to all clients, including corporate ones. The bank has been passive lately and has not focused on programs directed to the development of the retail business. The priorities of the new strategy will be the banking retail and SME crediting. In this regard, the practical assistance of Credit Bank, such as experience exchange, software and other technical support, will be definitely very important.

- What is the position of Credit Bank in the Lebanese banking system and how is it involved in international banking markets?

- While talking about the Lebanese banking system one thing should be taken into consideration. In a country with a population of 4 million people, the GDP volume makes $37 billion, the assets of the banking sector make $180 billion, and the deposits- $130 billion. These figures tell much. The Lebanese banking system is overdeveloped and extensive. Over decades Lebanon has been the financial center of the region, and Credit Bank is the bearer of formed traditions. As I have already said, Credit Bank has registered the fastest growth in the Lebanese banking system. It is included into the top 10 in terms of the volume of assets.

Like other representatives of the Lebanese banking system, Credit Bank has distributed 25% of its assets abroad- in the Middle East, African and other countries. I should also add that Armenia’s business environment has much in common with Lebanon. In both countries the private sector has a significant share in the economy.

- Given your rich experience in the financial and economic sphere, how would you assess the efficiency of cooperation of the real and financial sectors in Armenia? Is the relationship between these two sectors satisfactory?

- This issue should be viewed in dynamics. Some 10 years ago the credits-GDP correlation in Armenia made 12%. Today, thanks to the efforts of the government of Armenia, the Central Bank and the whole banking sphere, thanks to a large-scale work aimed at increasing confidence between the banking system and the real sector, it already makes 45%. These results are far from being satisfactory of course. I believe that thanks to joint efforts of the banking and real sectors, the relationship between these two sectors and with the population can be further reinforced.

- The conversations about the lack of qualified personnel have become more frequent recently. This is a serious challenge for any business-sphere, including the banks. Is it a painful issue for you and how can you fill in this gap?

- Unfortunately you are right. There is a lack of qualified personnel everywhere. But in Armenia the banking sphere is one of the most transparent ones and its representatives are paid relatively high. The banking sphere is also the most regulated one. Of course, parallel to the constant development of the banking sphere, there is a lack of some narrow specialists. However, this deficit is compensated by the graduates of higher educational institutions and the Financial-Banking College, which was set up based on international agreements to promote the development of the financial sphere.

It’s noteworthy that numerous international financial institutions in Armenia conduct training courses, as a result of which it becomes possible to have qualified, educated and skilled specialists who are well aware of the international experience.

- Every new appointment entails “own” management approaches. What changes are you going to make in the bank management?

- I am an advocate of a collegial management. First of all the systemized work of the team led by a manager is very important for me.

The management system of “Anelik Bank” will be changed by early 2014. A new structure will be set up. To this end, Credit Bank has invited an external consultant. The new structure will be consonant to the management system of Credit Bank to ensure an effective cooperation of two banks’ relevant departments and branches.

Khoren Ormanyan talked to Nerses Karamanukyan.

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