October 20, Fineko/abc.az. Interview with Evgenia Gashikulina, the Acting Chairman of the Board at AccessBank.
- Are there any changes or expectations in the bank's plans related to the increase in the discount rate by the country's Central Bank?
This decision of the Central Bank's monetary policy is aimed at limiting the risk of increased inflation. The increase in the rate, of course, should lead to an increase in the rates on savings products and deposits. But this dependency is not entirely direct. The dependence may change as a result of a short-term situation with liquidity, ambitions of banks for lending and, of course, is limited by the maximum rate on insured deposits. AccessBank projects in its financial forecasts a slight increase in the cost of manat resources, which we will try to compensate without affecting interest rates on loans.
- Does the bank consider the possibility of increasing the authorized capital in the near future? If so, how is it planned to be implemented?
This issue is part of the annual planning when the bank conducts macroeconomic analysis, determines the prospects and potential for the development of the business environment, and identifies all associated risks. Based on the results of the analysis, and also taking into account the strategic plans and ambitions of the bank, a decision on capital is made. This year, exactly the same process is expected, and towards the end of the year it will be clear whether the capital will be increased.
- What are the main plans of the bank for the end of this and the beginning of next year?
Our main plan is to build up our loan portfolio mainly in the segment of micro and agricultural entrepreneurs. We also plan to increase the profitability and efficiency of the bank.
And of course, one of our constant tasks is to improve customer focus through simplifying processes, developing new skills among our employees and introducing new technologies.
- Do you have or plan to create an online bank?
It depends on what is meant by an online bank. If the question of the possibility of carrying out the maximum number of banking operations online is being discussed, then of course - yes. We are working very actively in this direction with the support of the Central Bank and the Azerbaijan Banking Association.
But if we mean the concept of, say, Neo Bank - that is, a bank that operates absolutely without branches and only in digital format - then this is certainly not about us. Our branch network allows us to optimally serve our clients, providing them with individual advice. We understand that in the future most of the financial transactions will be carried out online, at the same time we will have branches of the bank, where clients can receive personalized service by meeting with their banker “in person”.
As you know, the term of office of the former World Bank Country Manager for Azerbaijan Naveed Hassan Naqvi has expired. In this regard, an ABC.AZ employee interviewed Nagvi, covering questions about the activities over the past period, as well as about WB’s future plans for Azerbaijan.
The main source of economic growth in Azerbaijan still is the oil and gas sector. Although the government has already focused on diversifying its economy in the recent years, the pandemic in combination with the oil price crash showed how fragile the economy still is.
The audit sector also supports these measures. Supporting the measures taken in the country, the Chamber of Auditors recommended member audit organizations and independent auditors to delay the execution of audit contracts as much as possible and to work remotely as appropriate in order to prevent the risk of coronavirus.
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