The FINANCIAL -- VTB Bank Georgia increased its assets by 18.2% in 2015. The loan portfolio of the Bank has increased by 23.1%, in comparison with the previous year. Well-known for its active support of Georgian sport, the Bank is involved in culture and charity as part of its CSR activities. VTB Bank Georgia chooses to support long-term social projects, focused on investing in a better future for the nation. The Bank spent more than GEL 3 million on its CSR projects in 2015.
“The whole year has been very successful for VTB Bank Georgia. We have maintained a growing trend. VTB Bank Georgia entered the top five of the Georgian banks. Assets grew by GEL 191.2million. That is 18.2% more compared to the previous year. Our loan portfolio grew by 23.1%.,” George Barkalaya, Vice-President at VTB Bank Georgia, told The FINANCIAL.
“There has been a growing trend in the deposit portfolio as well. We successfully positioned ourselves in the corporate business direction, as well as in regard to SME business. So, VTB Bank Georgia has been growing in every direction: retail, small business and corporate. We plan to continue our growth and our success in the upcoming years.”
“Year by year we are improving our results and 2015 was no exception. Accordingly, the budget for CSR activities was higher last year than in 2014. VTB Bank Georgia spent more than GEL 3 million on its CSR activities in 2015. It is one of the highest figures spent in Georgia. Our CSR activities incorporated a wide range of directions, including sport, culture and charity. The budget per each direction was indeed quite solid,” said Barkalaya.
During the last year the Bank donated 1% of its profit, worth GEL 207,000,to the victims of the 13 June Tbilisi flooding. VTB Bank Georgia also donated GEL 1,200,000 to the Gymnastic Federation which had been fully destroyed. In March of the current year the newly-renovated building of the Federation is due to be officially opened.
Q. Please can you tell us about the CSR activities that you have been implementing?
A. Our CSR activities are quite diversified. The Bank is supporting various fields. We are proud to be the partners of the national teams and federations of various sports. VTB Bank Georgia has been a general sponsor of the Rugby National Team. We are sponsors of the National Water Polo Team. We are glad to bear witness to their great success. Our national water polo team participated in the European Championship. We support the Aquatic Sports Federation of Georgia, Gymnastic Federation of Georgia, and Equestrian Sport Federation. For the first time in history our sportsmen obtained a license for participation in the World Cup. The Football club Saburtalo, as well as the kid’s rugby team Chokhosnebi, are also in the list of those which we have been endorsing for years and will continue to endorse in the future. VTB Bank Georgia became a general sponsor of the Business Champion’s League in football. We wish success for all athletes and we hope that the financial support of VTB Bank will play an important role in the development of Georgian sport, will promote its advancement and achievements. Last year we decided to start financing a kid’s ski school. We are proud to support a healthy lifestyle among Georgian children.
In addition to our financial assistance, the Bank tries hard to promote these activities of sport. I can recall our campaign #Iam16 which was launched for the support of our rugby team. There was unprecedented activity and involvement of society in this campaign, irrespective of age or borders.
Culture is a field in which VTB Bank Georgia tries to provide significant assistance. Among the projects funded by the Bank are: Rustaveli Theatre, Griboedov Theatre, and Telavi DramaTheatre.
The number of projects financed by VTB Bank determines the high corporate and social responsibility of the Bank. We are pleased that with the financial support of VTB Bank many interesting projects have been implemented and this relationship has been largely successful.
We are doing our best to be active in Georgian society.
Q. 2015 was quite a difficult year. Devaluation had a negative impact, especially onthat segment that had loans in a foreign currency. How did you try to bring relief to your customers?
A. VTB Bank Georgia has always been supporting its customers as we have always been focused on building long-term relations with them. Devaluation indeed had an impact on citizens. However, there were also the victims of the Tbilisi flooding that required our assistance too. So, the Bank gave help to all of its customers that appealed to us. Considering the scale of damage of the Tbilisi flooding, we even annulled loans for some of our customers. As for the borrowers that had debts in a foreign currency, the Bank offered restructuring, prolongation and also a reduction of interest rates.
Q. What are your plans for 2016?
A. This year we plan to expand our CSR projects. The types of sport supported by VTB Bank Georgia will continue to increase. We will strengthen our assistance for involving children in sport. We are proud to see that other businesses started following us in carrying out CSR activities. We are optimistic that any sport which we will start financing will also become successful.
From 2016 the Bank will have a new slogan -Where People Matter. We will continue further assistance and strong support for our customers that really matter to us.
Q. How is awareness of CSR growing among Georgian society?
A. The involvement of businesses in CSR activities is growing annually. If we compare the current activities of companies in socially responsible projects with 2010 we will get radically different figures. However, I think that this policy is still in the period of development. Funding CSR activities is becoming more important for Georgian businesses. I am sure that the activity will bemuch higher in the next five years.
We are proud to witness how social responsibility is increasing among each of our employees. Our staff members established a charity foundation “Generation. On Fridays employees can come into the bank dressed in casual clothing. However, when participating in this they agree to transfer part of their wages to charity. The charity foundation of VTB Bank Georgia workers targets helping vulnerable citizens. Over 100 citizens benefit from this foundation annually.