CHAIRMAN OF THE MANAGEMENT BOARD OF IPAK YULI BANK
Finance I Interview I Uzbekistan 2023
_BIOGRAPHY He joined the Joint-Stock Innovation Commercial Bank “Ipak Yuli” in 2005 and held various positions from 2006 to 2010. He served as the Head of the “Mirzo Ulugbek” branch from 2010 to 2018. Since 2018, he has been the Chairman of the Management Board. he holds a BSc and MA in International Monetary and Credit Relations from Tashkent State University of Economics.
“CONSIDERING THE GOVERNMENT'S EFFORTS TO FOSTER AN INVESTOR-FRIENDLY CLIMATE AND THE COUNTRY'S RAPID ECONOMIC GROWTH, I STRONGLY ENCOURAGE FOREIGN INVESTORS TO CLOSELY EXAMINE THE OPPORTUNITIES IN UZBEKISTAN AND PARTICIPATE IN SHAPING THE NEW UZBEKISTAN.”
WHAT DO YOU PERCEIVE AS YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT ACCOMPLISHMENT DURING YOUR TENURE AS CHAIRMAN?
I am privileged to have the opportunity to lead a distinguished commercial bank with over three decades of history, a dedicated customer base, and determined shareholders committed to progress. Throughout my tenure as Chairman, we have continually introduced innovative services and offerings, with a strong focus on customer satisfaction as the cornerstone of our business. One of our most notable achievements in recent years has been securing a significant foreign capital injection for the bank. In 2020, Ipak Yuli Bank successfully attracted approximately USD 25 million in foreign capital through investments from esteemed European financial institutions such as Deutsche Investitions-und Entwicklungsgesellschaft - DEG (KfW Group) from Germany and Triodos Investment Management from the Netherlands. This infusion of foreign capital has significantly bolstered the bank's position in its relationships with international partners.
The raised funds and active involvement of foreign shareholders have propelled our bank's growth, enabling us to double our assets in less than three years. With the support of our international partners and consultants, we have enhanced corporate governance, formulated a robust development strategy, implemented an advanced IT strategy, and established effective environmental and social risk management systems.Furthermore, I take great pride in our bank's prominent standing as a leading provider of financing for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) as well as retail businesses. Our commitment to comprehensive support for our clients' growth, coupled with a flexible product line, has garnered a high level of trust from our clients. We are particularly dedicated to empowering women entrepreneurs, supporting young entrepreneurs, and facilitating "green" projects within the MSME sector. These achievements reflect the collective efforts and dedication of our entire team, and I am honored to have played a role in steering our bank towards sustained success and growth.
COULD YOU PROVIDE AN OVERVIEW OF IPAK YULI BANK'S PRESENT FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE AND OUTLINE ITS STRATEGIES FOR FUTURE GROWTH AND EXPANSION?
Ipak Yuli Bank, a private commercial bank, currently holds the 12th position in terms of assets within the country. As of the end of 2022, our assets have surpassed USD 1.1 billion, and our total loan portfolio amounts to approximately USD 720 million. Looking ahead, our aim is to double these figures by the end of 2025. In line with our strategic development goals, our main focus lies in the expansion of our MSME and retail banking sectors, as well as enhancing our efficiency and embracing innovation, taking into account existing and emerging trends in the financial sector. For corporate banking, we will continue our commitment to providing high-quality services and constantly improving our customer experience, including the utilization of a broader range of communication channels.
Regarding retail banking, we plan to enhance our product offerings through modifications and introductions of new services. Additionally, we aim to expand our traditional retail product sales channels and continuously improve our remote access channels. Ipak Yuli Bank has demonstrated significant growth in recent years, earning the trust and confidence of our valued customers. We firmly believe that our customer-centric approach and emphasis on digitalization will play a pivotal role in achieving our objectives successfully.
HOW DO YOU ENVISION IPAK YULI BANK CONTRIBUTING TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF UZBEKISTAN'S ECONOMY AND FINANCIAL SECTOR?
In Uzbekistan, similar to other post-Soviet countries, state-owned enterprises have traditionally played a dominant role in the economy, with a significant portion of their funding coming from the public sector. In contrast, Ipak Yuli Bank focuses on financing micro-, small, and medium-sized enterprises in the private sector, as well as serving the general population. Our aim is to actively contribute to the expansion of financial inclusion within these sectors.
Small and medium businesses are crucial for the modern economy, as they have wide-ranging positive effects from both economic and social perspectives. These enterprises foster competition, enhance the quality of goods and services, respond swiftly to market demand, create employment opportunities, and perform other vital functions for the efficient operation of the economy. Given the government's commitment to privatization, the role of the private sector is anticipated to grow significantly in the near future.
Furthermore, we prioritize serving individuals and strive to promote financial inclusion and enhance financial literacy among the population. Our mission is to ensure that all segments of society have access to essential financial services. Micro-, small, and medium-sized businesses, along with our engagement with the population, represent our primary focus. We see immense potential in these areas and aim to become one of the leading banks contributing to their growth and development.
HOW DOES IPAK YULI BANK UTILIZE TECHNOLOGY AND DIGITAL INNOVATION TO ENHANCE CUSTOMER SERVICE AND MAINTAIN COMPETITIVENESS WITHIN THE INDUSTRY?
As a forward-thinking bank, we place great emphasis on embracing new technologies, particularly the advancement of mobile and internet banking solutions. In 2019, we proudly became the first bank in Uzbekistan to offer online microloans utilizing automated scoring through our "Ipak Yo'li Mobile" application. Since its launch, we have expanded our mobile banking services to surpass those available in our physical bank branches. The number of mobile banking users has exceeded 1 million, highlighting the success and popularity of our mobile application.
Beyond enhancing our sales channels, we are actively working on optimizing our internal processes through digitalization, aiming to provide improved and expedited services to our clients. To spearhead these efforts, we have established a dedicated unit called the Project Office, which focuses on streamlining key projects and processes within the bank. Working alongside a team of seasoned international consultants, the Project Office is engaged in numerous digitalization initiatives. These include the establishment of a corporate data warehouse, automation of back-office operations, development of a comprehensive financial ecosystem, automation of our MSME and retail lending systems, implementation of a Human Resource Management (HRM) system, and many other transformative projects. Through these ongoing endeavors, we are committed to leveraging technology and digital innovation to enhance customer experiences, optimize operations, and ensure we remain competitive in the industry.
WHAT MESSAGE WOULD YOU LIKE TO CONVEY TO INVESTORS INTERESTED IN UZBEKISTAN?
Uzbekistan is currently experiencing rapid economic growth, making it one of the most attractive investment destinations today. The government recognizes the importance of foreign investment in sustaining this high growth trajectory and is committed to providing the necessary conditions to attract foreign direct investment. Extensive economic and political reforms have been implemented to stimulate development across various sectors while safeguarding investor rights. Within the banking sector, notable examples of successful reforms are the establishment of two new banks with 100% foreign capital and direct investments in existing banks, including Ipak Yuli Bank. Demonstrating their satisfaction with the return on investment and confidence in the Uzbekistan market's future development, DEG and Triodos Investment Management made additional capital investments in our bank in 2022 following their initial investment in 2020.
Considering the government's efforts to foster an investor-friendly climate and the country's rapid economic growth, I strongly encourage foreign investors to closely examine the opportunities in Uzbekistan and participate in shaping the "New Uzbekistan." By capitalizing on the favorable investment climate and contributing to the country's transformation, investors can play a significant role in the continued growth and development of Uzbekistan's economy.