UKRSIBBANK is a universal bank. Therefore, we serve 2 million clients

On July 7, Laurent Dupuch took over the position of Chairman of the Management Board of UKRSIBBANK BNP Paribas Group. Laurent Dupuch started his career in the BNP Paribas Group in 1993 and has a wealth of experience in various countries and various areas of banking. Before he was appointed as CEO of UKRSIBBANK, Laurent Dupuch was the head of Morocco region of BNP Paribas Group and the head of BMCI bank. He is well aware of the Ukrainian market. In 2006-2007, Laurent was a member of the Supervisory Board of UKRSIBBANK and worked on integrating the bank into an international Group. It is a challenge to lead a bank during the coronavirus pandemic when the global economy is slowing down and countries continually tighten quarantine measures. Nevertheless, the banker sets himself and his team ambitious tasks, which he talks about in an interview with Novoie Vremia (New Time) magazine.

About the changes

You joined UKRSIBBANK in February 2020. Before that, in 2006-2007, you were a member of the Bank’s Supervisory Board and worked on its integration into the BNP Paribas Group. From your point of view, what main changes the bank has undergone over the years. What are three key differences between the bank in 2006-07 and 2020?

First of all, I would like to state that UKRSIBBANK joined the BNP Paribas Group 15 years ago. And this year we celebrate its 30th anniversary. After my second visit to Ukraine this year, I was also thinking over the question: what has changed over the past years? In my opinion, our main achievements are the integration of the bank into the BNP Paribas Group and increasing the client base. Our bank is one of the leaders in the market, clients and partners value us for our expertise, experience, client-oriented and at the same time corporate social approach.

When I first came to Ukraine 15 years ago, I was very impressed by the energy with which the bank’s team worked. And now, when I have returned after so many years, I am again impressed with the same incredible energy and dynamics with which the bank is working and developing. I would like to note that this year UKRSIBBANK was recognized as the Top Employer in Ukraine and Europe. It is the only bank in Ukraine that has passed international certification as an employer, and one of six international companies in the country that have Tot Employer status.

I also remember that when I first arrived in Ukraine, I found myself in very cold and snowy winter. Now I see that the climate has also changed. Perhaps this is just the manifestation of global climate change both in Ukraine and around the world. And that worries me a lot.

On principles and pragmatism

UKRSIBBANK implements the principles of sustainable development policy. What are its main goals? How does this approach affect customers, employees, society in general and the environment?

The bank is an important player in the economy, and the banking system is at the center of the economy of any country. We should be sure that we are making our contribution to the development of this country and that our activities lead to positive changes. It is very important for us to help our clients and partners to develop projects that will be sustainable and have a positive impact on society and the environment. This is a significant issue to secure the future of the world. Therefore, raising awareness of people and organizations – customers, partners and suppliers – about sustainable development issues remains our priority. We are trying to convey the main idea to everyone – we are a transparent and responsible bank, which makes a positive impact to the future of the world. In achieving long-term goals, you cannot be successful alone. Therefore, we engage all players in this process: our employees, customers, partners, suppliers, etc.

It is known that UKRSIBBANK, like the Group as a whole, intentionally does not work with tobacco companies, manufacturers of harmful chemical fertilizers, fossil fuels, etc. Will this list expand? Perhaps new directions will be identified, with which the bank does not intend to associate itself.

It’s not about whether we want to work with any company or not. This concerns our sectoral approach. We always try to assess a particular sector, weigh the pros and cons and make sure whether we should work with the companies of a specific profile. Now our priority is to work based on the approved directives of the Group, and we believe that this will allow the bank to make our contribution to the improvement and development of the world.

Although we are quite pragmatic because it concerns the bank and the provision of financial services. And yet, compliance with our policies has remained our priority. We are trying to find drivers that will allow us to get positive changes. And we look at how we influence the company or the industry as a whole and how this impact ensures sustainable development.

Priority industries

What sectors are considered a priority for the bank today? Does UKRSIBBANK have any plans to develop green banking?

I would like to note that we have a pragmatic approach to this issue. We have no priority in a specific industry. Concerning “green” banking, we are planning to develop this direction. We have such ambitions. We intend to work in such three directions.

The first is limiting the impact on the environment, in particular, in terms of CO2 emissions.
The second is developing projects directly related to “green” banking – special business solutions for clients, etc.
The third area is financing operations related to green energy and energy saving.

Summing up, we can single out three areas: “green” banking at the local level to reduce the direct impact of the bank on the environment, development of business solutions for customer service and additional services, as well as helping our clients to improve their energy efficiency.

Is UKRSIBBANK going to revise its strategy in the near future? Now the bank focuses on providing services to international business in Ukraine, the IT sector and agribusiness. Is it possible that something else will be added to this list?

UKRSIBBANK is a universal bank. We are ready to offer products and services for individual clients, small and medium-sized businesses, as well as corporate clients. Thus, it allows us to serve 2 million clients.

Support for women and equal opportunities

The UN is implementing a program of 17 sustainable development goals. Companies can choose one or more of these goals and help to achieve them. What goals out of 17 UKRSIBBANK has chosen for its activity?

That is true. It is very important for us to contribute to the development of this UN program. Frankly speaking, as far as UKRSIBBANK is concerned, these are the 5th and 8th goals – “Gender Equality” and “Decent Work and Economic Growth”. It is worth noting such our initiatives as Women in Business, participation in “He for She program”, and the Top Employer 2020 award.

You have mentioned the support for women entrepreneurs. This is indeed a significant program. What does the bank offer to women in business this and next year? Will this support include training programs, grants, special loans? Are there any special package deals?

This November we launched online seminars for women entrepreneurs. We are inviting women to the seminars, so that they can get expert advice on business development. And we will continue helping women, no matter whether they are business owners or executives or managers. In my opinion, everyone in the world, including Ukraine, is well aware of the importance of enhancing the role of women in the economy. This is what we call sustainable development. And UKRSIBBANK is doing its part in strengthening the role of women. I should note that more than 75% of the bank’s employees and more than 60% of our management are women. We have demonstrated a positive experience for other banks and companies. Various studies show that increasing the number of women in business can invariably improve the economic situation in the country.

In your opinion, what is the level of women’s involvement in business in Ukraine? How acute is the problem of gender equality in business and career? What do women entrepreneurs need specifically: funding, information support, something else?

In my opinion, these indicators in Ukraine coincide with the global ones and amount to 25-26%. I should emphasize that women need different support and trust and, of course, funding. We should demonstrate that apart from developing mentoring programs for women, we are also ready to provide them with funding, if necessary. In conclusion, I would like to state that Ukrainian women need knowledge, trust, confidence and support.

About pandemic and digital transformation

The pandemic is forcing businesses to reconsider their approaches, the same is true for banks. What is the status of digital transformation in UKRSIBBANK? What goals do you set in this process and how fast do you bring products online?

The world is changing and the Covid-19 crisis is forcing us to change faster. In terms of digitalization, we have been working in two areas: digital banking and remote working. These areas are not new, but the crisis has accelerated the transformation. During the lockdown period, I visited our branches. As you know, they continued to work. I discussed this issue with our team and received very important feedback. First of all, our employees are ready for digitalization. They are ready to work with digital tools and interact with customers that way. The second important point is that customers are also ready for digital solutions. They enjoy digital banking and telecommuting – remote working. The activity of our online Internet platforms, such as UKRSIB online for individuals, UKRSIB business, for corporate clients, has increased significantly. Our digital sales, online transactions and customer communications have also grown significantly. And this process will continue. We have to stay close to the client and for this purpose, we have developed what we call a digital approach – on the one hand, it is financially beneficial, and on the other hand, it is – a convenient digital service. This would really mean transparency and clarity for our clients.

About plans for 2021

2020 was not an easy year, but let us look into the next year. What are the main competitive advantages of UKRSIBBANK in 2021?

UKRSIBBANK is continuing to grow. We have obtained good experience and the bank is a market leader and, most importantly, part of a large international Group. We continue to be a long-term partner for our customers and make a positive contribution to the economy and a better future of the country. We have also demonstrated the ability to fast digital transformation, and we will continue to work in this direction.

What dynamics will UKRSIBBANK show in the area of lending to businesses and individuals at the end of the year? What are your plans for 2021?

2020 has become a special year due to the pandemic crisis. At the end of March and April, there was a drop in business activity, but in summer we saw an economic recovery. The key rate decreased in Ukraine – from

18% to 6%
. This allowed our clients to attract financing. Our ambitions include increasing the portfolio of loans for both corporate clients and individuals. Naturally, we have all the opportunities and necessary experience for this. The priority for the bank, as well as for the whole world, is to win the fight against

. Despite the active spread of the virus around the world, we already hear good news about the emergence of various vaccines, and/ in my opinion, we will definitely win this fight. You can be sure that UKRSIBBANK will continue to serve its customers. I feel inspired owing to the support of our team. However, we should make sure that all sanitary standards and rules are followed.

You mentioned 2 million clients. What number would you like to see at the end of next year?

We want to increase this number and continue to grow our client base. But it is equally important to continue effective cooperation with our existing clients, to build up the services and opportunities that we already provide to them. Such an indicator as customer satisfaction is very sensitive for us.

What is this indicator now?

Judging by this indicator, the bank is among the top three in the market. And our customer loyalty rate continues to grow.

The article is published 10 December, 2020 on the nv.ua

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