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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good evening, Mr Kostin.
VTB Bank Chairman and CEO Andrei Kostin: Good evening, Mr President.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Kostin, you have an interesting new project underway. What is the project’s name – Summer Bank?
Andrei Kostin: That’s right, Mr President.
Vladimir Putin: Tell me about it.
Andrei Kostin: VTB Group places a lot of importance on working with the public. This is reflected in our figures: for the first time, the volume of loans we extended to individuals in the first three quarters of this year broke the 1 trillion-ruble mark, and we expect to increase this figure by a further 15 percent by the end of the year. As for mortgage loans, this year will see their volume double overall from 80 billion rubles last year to 160 billion roubles this year.
But we think that a big share of the general public, around 20 million people by our estimates, are still not getting all the banking services they could be. These people tend to be low-income earners living in smaller towns around the country. To address this problem, we decided last week to launch a new project, which we have named Summer Bank. The focus groups we conducted show that this name is a positive choice because everyone likes summer.
We plan to open around 1,000 small branches over the next three years, mostly in the regional capitals and smaller towns, and we want to attract as many as five million new customers. We will basically focus on small loans. For example, a family with a 15,000-ruble monthly income could borrow the equivalent of their monthly income for whatever needs they might have. The branches will have a new-look format. They will have a welcoming atmosphere and open layout without the usual partitions, and will look more like…
Vladimir Putin: What will this give the public? What are the advantages for them in these banking services?
Andrei Kostin: It’s about us reaching out to the public. For a start, we are bringing banking services closer to them and offering services to people who banks were never so interested in working with in the past because the loans involved are only small but each loan involves a lot of time and work, as you end up with small loans but a lot of them.
This makes speed and information technology very important. We will use the internet and cell phones so that people can get small loans, make settlements, payments and money transfers fast, without having to wait in line and come to the bigger towns and so on. They will do this through the Summer Bank, which will provide the new infrastructure.
Vladimir Putin: So, this is a bank focused on work with individuals?
Andrei Kostin: It will work only with individuals.
Vladimir Putin: I hope the project will be carried out and people will see its benefits.
Andrei Kostin: Thank you.