7 June 2019, St. Petersburg. — The Far East High Technology Fund (FEHTF) intends to invest in a digital banking platform at the premises of Almazergienbank (AEB; ranked 126th in Russia by value of assets according to banki.ru). The Framework Cooperation Agreement was signed during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) by CEO of the FEHTF Ruslan Sarkisov and the Chairman of the AEB Board Nikolay Dolgunov.
According to the agreement, the parties intend to jointly deliver a project of creating an omnichannel banking digital platform. In particular, mobile banking and Internet banking will be launched; the plan calls for transforming the operations of front and back offices via the latest developments in AI and cognitive technologies; the bank’s product line-up and loyalty programs will be upgraded.
The form of cooperation and investments in the project will be approved during the next two months. According to preliminary estimates of FEHTF CEO Ruslan Sarkisov, the amount of investments will be up to RUB 500 mln.
The new platform will provide access to modern digital services for bank customers, reducing transactional costs. The core of AEB’s business will still be corporate lending, with a significant share of retail business in the bank’s portfolio. The transformation process also involves providing customers with remote access to key bank services under limited access to the Internet, which is relevant for the Arctic territories of Yakutia.
The digital transformation strategy was developed jointly with IBM iX, with which the bank is currently negotiating its potential involvement as an advisor to the project.
«The idea comes down to creating a digital bank with the most user-friendly interface that will provide service for promising projects in Yakutia, and then in other regions of Russia’s Far East and the Arctic, through a modern digital platform that will take into account the needs and specifics of the local market, as the bank itself is a key player in this market. The platform solution will allow integrating services of third-party developers, including local companies, which, in my opinion, will give a strong impulse to the development of the Fintech sphere in the region,” said CEO of the FEHTF Ruslan Sarkisov.
“For four months, the joint team of the bank and consultants, using the IBM Design Thinking methodology, conducted a large-scale analysis of the external and internal environment, in-depth interviews with customers of retail and corporate businesses. Three major blocks were worked out: business strategy, digital strategy and IT strategy, resulting in the document Strategy 2022 — a road map of transformation supported by financial calculations of strategic initiatives and indicators of the bank as a whole, as well as KPIs for representatives of business blocks and supporting functions. I’d like to emphasize that AEB is the backbone bank in the Republic and our drive for digitalization is consistent with the shareholder’s strategy,” said Chairman of the Board Almazergienbank Nikolay Dolgunov.
The Far East High Technology Fund (FEHTF) was established in August 2018 by the Far East Development Foundation (included in VEB.RF), Rusnano and RVC at the instruction of the President Vladimir Putin regarding the development of high-tech industries and innovative activities in Russia’s Far East.
The Fund amount stands at RUB 5 bln. The Fund’s average investment ranges from RUB 50 mln to RUB 200 mln, but never exceeds RUB 490 mln per project.
The Fund invests in technology projects at the venture capital stage (Round A) and growth stage (Round B), as well as in infrastructure projects. The FEHTF is interested to invest in biotechnology, intelligent software, industrial Internet of things, alternative energy, etc.
The Fund plans to develop all of its projects in Russia’s Far East, scaling the business of portfolio companies via expansion to other regions of Russia and abroad.
AKB Almazergienbank, JSC is the largest bank in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). The principal shareholder is the RS(Y) government represented by the Ministry of Property and Land Relations, which owns 80.29% of the shares. Key Business Areas are servicing and lending to corporate clients, attracting deposits and lending to individuals. The main source of funding is deposits of individuals (61.3%).