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"Method of perception" – interview of G. Zamanov to "Kommersant-Ukraine" newspaper


“The more often corporate manager sees its client, the better is the understanding of business,” – assures Georgi Zamanov, MB Member, Director of Corporate Business Center of Ukrsotsbank.


Born in 1970 in the town of Stara-Zagora (Bulgaria). In 19994 graduated from Sofia University of Economics with a Magister of Economics and Finance degree. The career in banking started from 1995 as an analyst of National Bank of Bulgaria. In 2012 was invited to Ukrsotsbank (UniCredit Bank) and appointed as a Head of Risk Department. Starting from 2012 has been in charge of Corporate Business Center. Except for the main position, he is a Management Board Member.

- What brings the bank the biggest income in corporate segment?
- The bank often earns at interests, as the specifics of Ukrainian business is that it is not used to paying commissions. During the last 10 years interests at the market were very high that it is not reasonable to increase them at the cost of commissions. When you earn net interest income in the amount of 5%, it does not have any sense to set a commission in the amount of 0,5%. But when the bank earns only 2%, the commission in the amount of 0,5% is a good earning. Most likely in Ukraine there will be a situation similar to European: interests will drop down, commissions – grow. So far 95% of Ukrainian market belongs to only deposits and loans. There are almost no letters of credit, guarantees; payments between companies are executed in cash.

- Which mechanism of attracting major borrowers did you choose?
- In the HQ there are 2 sales departments: for major Ukrainian companies, specializing in several segments, and for major international clients. Major borrowers need as usual sums of around 50-100 million USD, and the majority of Ukrainian banks are small ones. They cannot execute such demands of the clients, that is why they are serviced at international banks, like ours. During the last 2 years we were leaders in rendering syndicated loans: their portfolio reached 1.7 billion USD, the share of Ukrsotsbank in it amounts to 500 million USD. Concerning international clients, we have a positive experience of cooperation with UniCredit group banks all over the world. For servicing middle corporate clients there is a network of corporate centers with more than 100 corporate managers. They cover all Ukraine – from Uzhgorod to Lugansk (from West to East) and from Chernigiv to Simferopol (from North to South).

- What are the demands to managers, working with corporate clients?
- First of all a skill to build professional relations with a client. A manager should have the understanding of client’s business, a skill to hear his/her needs and to propose the best solutions. The more often corporate manager sees its client, the better is the understanding of business. Our clients, who built their business in 10-20 years, are proud of their achievements and share their plans for the future. That is why corporate managers visit clients’ manufacture to better understand their needs in financial instruments (ordinary loan, letters of credit, guarantees or bills).

- How do you train personnel to work with enterprises?
- When UniCredit group bought Ukrsotsbank, it bought not only a license or buildings, but ready-built business. Banking consists of people, who need to be developed, and that is why we invest into personnel. We organize regular studies, trainings during work, external trainings. We invite lectors from Ukrainian market, from head office, which has become a regular process. I am satisfied with my specialization and the first three years in Ukraine I’ve been managing risks. Every person should have a possibility to change direction. As bank is not a manufacturing line.

- Did you experience the situation when manager’s leaving the bank drags a loss of major clients?
- This happens often, but such practice was more popular about 5 years ago. Now the client is more tightened to the bank and wants to have a long term partner, so the client more often stays with us in such a situation.

- Which sectors of economy are the most attractive for the banks now?
- Sectors, which are stable developing – coal, metallurgy, electricity, agriculture, food industry. The development of these sectors had never stopped. Of course, crisis influenced them, but not that much as it did to construction. Working with such companies is very comfortable, as these clients continue investing into their manufacture and have a need in working capital turnover. Last year we generated an overall loam portfolio for more than 9 billion UAH, including guarantees, letters of credit, and credit lines. It is much harder to work with constructors after the crisis, as more often they do not get new loans, but have restructuring of old ones. And unfortunately there happen legal proceedings.

- What a major client focus on when choosing a bank?
- The brand, relations with manager and the rate. If something does not suit in this triangle, the client will look for other bank. It’s worth noting that if we start offering a deposit rate twice lower than the market one, no one will bring us money.

- What changes were there in product line for corporate clients?
- It is very hard for the bank to invent new products, as banking is conservative enough. In order to increase the quantity of clients we need to better understand their needs. That is why we develop package offers, which meet the demands of client’s business. The time when the entrepreneur was looking for money focusing only to the pledge cost, had passed away. The crediting culture has grown, and clients started to attract funds that meet their needs and not only the cost of pledge. We have the understanding of a client’s business and we know what he/she intends to do not only tomorrow, but in 1, 2, 5 years. Having such cooperation the client understands that we are not just an ATM, accepting and withdrawing cash, but a partner. In corporate business there is no massive production. What is important is individual approach and a complete understanding of client’s needs.

- How do you work with insolvent borrowers?
- Nowadays they are mostly constructors and clients, who invested into real estate. They have restructuring plans. If the client does not want to do anything, we should execute recovery. Unfortunately, there are lots of clients, who using the crisis did not want to pay out the loan and tried to reverse pledged assets.

- How do you appraise risks of enterprise?
- We have a special division responsible for risks. If we do not know a client, we first of all track his/her credit history and then appraise financial condition: check reporting, availability of cash flows, revenues, profits. Then we look at the business and the cost of the property, offered as a pledge for covering credit risks. Ukraine is a big country, but the market is not that big for not to track the client’s behavior: how correctly he treated other banks, financial establishments and tax inspection.

- Some clients are not serviced at international banks, which demand revealing of financial information. Do you have such clients?
- Yes, but this is not our target audience. Such client goes to a bank, because he/she is a friend of the CEO, and this is another model of servicing. There are clients, who do not work with Ukrainian banks, as their owners do not want to earn at the products. They are happy when client does not pay and it is possible to take over their business. Our activity – is a standard banking business. We do not need client’s assets, we give them money and we want to get it back.

- Do you plan to increase client base?
- Yes, we expect that our loan and deposit portfolio will grow this year for 20%. Execution of plans will depend on Ukrainian economy development. With a 3-3,5% official GDP growth forecast our budget will increase respectively. Without loans there cannot be a development of manufacture and economy, and without economy growth our business will not grow also. Our banking model is as follows: high manufacturable product line and new philosophy of relations with clients will let us reach the strategic goal of corporate business – enter TOP 3 leaders at the Ukrainian market by 2015.

Source: Kommersant-Ukraine, Addition “50 Leading banks of Ukraine” №51 dated 27.03.2013,



Ukrsotsbank is one of the largest universal banks of Ukraine, operating in the local market since 1990. The bank offers full range of services to individuals and corporate clients.

The renovated Ukrsotsbank emerged on 31 October 2016 as a result of strategic deal whereby 99.9% of Ukrsotsbank shares have been transferred from UniCredit Group to ABH Holdings S.A. (АВНН) in exchange for a minority 9.9% stake in ABHH. Thus, the bank has combined 26-year-old traditions of Ukrsotsbank’s client-centric attitude, European quality of service inherent to UniCredit, as well as international banking expertise of ABHH in a number of European countries including CIS. Thanks to the successful synthesis and synergy of the two assets of ABHH in Ukraine, Ukrsotsbank and Alfa-Bank, the banking market of Ukraine will see the rise of a new stronger financial institution. This, in turn, will spur up technological advance, increase efficiency, improve quality of service for the clients, reduce cost of banking services whereas their range will inevitably expand.

The extensive retail network of Ukrsotsbank consists of 237 branches, its headcount reaching nearly 5 thousand employees.

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