BTA management press conference25.03.2009
On March 25, members of the BTA management team met with the media at BTA’s Almaty headquarters and told them about the bank’s current situation and future plans. From BTA, present at the press conference were Arman Dunayev, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Genrig Kholodzinsky and Abylakim Zhumakhmetov, Deputy Chairmen of the Management Board, and Kunsulu Kapbasova, Managing Director and Member of the Management Board.
In his turn, Mr. Dunayev had this to say: “Today, BTA serves the payroll accounts of 6,323 businesses, which represent 620,000 regular retail customers of the bank. This March, a total of KZT 17.2 billion was paid into these payroll card accounts.
Our deposits are back to normal. Not only have we not had any outflows since the beginning of March, but the number of depositors is up. Next month we’ll be launching attractive new offers for depositors, namely, Preferred Rate and Bonus+1%, which will help us bring in more deposits.
Payments by retail customers are back to normal, too, after a 21% drop in February. Now, in March, we are where we had been in previous months, at an estimated KZT 8.5 billion. We plan on increasing our share of the retail payments and transfers market through our joint, together with Pension Disbursement Centres, implementation of the Kamkor programme (for pensions and benefits) and by being more active in utilities payments and by this I mean our promotion for pensioners, which is starting in April.”
Mr. Dunayev went on to remind that, as a primary operator under government programmes related to, among other things, mortgage refinancing, BTA Bank has received a total of KZT 40 billion divided into KZT 28 billion deposited with the bank itself and KZT 12 billion with BTA Ipoteka. The plan is to have these funds drawn down before mid-June. By today, 66 mortgage refinancing applications totalling about KZT 300 million have been approved and another 466 totalling KZT 1.9 billion are being reviewed. Overall, 3,644 applications have been received totalling KZT 14.8 billion, out of which 24% are claiming “social” status.
For SME support, BTA received, on February 25, KZT 22 billion in four equal tranches at 8.0% a year to be re-lent at an effective rate of 12.5%. A total of KZT 5.3 billion has already been drawn down under the programme.
But it was matters related to the restructuring of foreign obligations and their possible acceleration that topped the agenda of the present media.
“We have always remained current on all of our obligations, whether domestic or foreign, and will continue to do so in the future as they come due in accordance with their schedules. This, in essence, is the position of the bank and that of Samruk-Kazyna as its principal shareholder”, pointed Mr. Dunayev.
Responding to questions on the possible sale of the shareholding in BTA to Russia’s Sberbank, Mr. Dunayev said that the matter was under discussion and could only proceed after the completion of the KPMG audit.
As far as Islamic banking was concerned, Mr. Dunayev reminded that the bank was uniquely positioned to develop the business and planned to increase its share of the Islamic financial services market by, among other things, using technical assistance from Islamic banks with partner links to BTA.
Of great interest to the media were also the future strategies of the bank and its subsidiaries. Key subsidiaries, such as BTA’s insurers, pension fund and Temirbank, it was stated, would be provided with certain financial assistance. According to Dunayev, this was also the case with BTA subsidiaries abroad: one example was the recent decision by BTA’s Board of Directors to boost, in accordance with existing commitments, the capital of Turkey’s Sekerbank.
According to Dunayev, any long-term solution would include finding a strategic investor as a matter of priority, because the government had no intention to stay a BTA shareholder for long.
“That was never our intention. I will tell you more: if consensus is found with Sberbank or another strategic investor, we will, without a doubt, try to make such a sale go through”.
The meeting was attended by 42 different media outlets: 6 news agencies, 14 television and radio stations, 20 print and 2 foreign media.
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