Mr. Sukiasyan, the government is taking concrete steps to stir the construction sector and the mortgage market up, which is reflected in the mitigation of the terms of the individual loan programs and income tax recovery. What kind of approaches are available at ARMECONOMBANK OJSC related to the crediting of construction companies and mortgage lending to individuals?
The steps taken by the government have visibly activated the mortgage market. Certain steps are being taken by our Bank too to develop this direction. The Bank, under special conditions, finances construction companies and works within all state lending programs. Recently, ARMECONOMBANK OJSC, "National Mortgage Company" RCO CJSC and SIL INSURANCE ICJSC have launched a joint project which gives the customers applying for a mortgage loan an opportunity to provide only 10% of previously required 30% prepayment.
With a 20% pre-payment, the client can make prepayment insurance through SIL INSURANCE ICJSC and secure only the acquired property. By the end of the year, we expect 20% growth in mortgage portfolio.
Times are changing. After the years of Soviet Union we have appeared in a new reality, and now we are experiencing a new situation- a new reality. How should be the bank today? How should be today’s customer?
Today, a client should be more knowledgeable and informed to be able to correctly interpret and understand the provisions of the agreements with the banks, not to be fascinated by seemingly attractive suggestions of different banks which usually contain a concealed context. Customers usually give in to the temptation of lower interest rates, not even suspecting that in that case they mainly pay extra fees. Unfortunately, some banks provide misleading information to their customers through their advertisements, announcements, and the "best bank", "first bank" and similar expressions can simply misguide them. That's why it is important to make analyses of indicators of different banks which allow to accurately assess the real position of the bank and not to rely on advertising. Today's reality has shown that our country has a brilliant youth, a people who is a competent citizen of this country and who decides the future of his/her country. For 20 years, we have dreamed and struggled to have such a situation in our country, it means that today all of us must participate in further development of our country- within our capacities, consciousness and knowledge. Banks should help the customers to make right decisions while managing their finances, avoiding the use of unscrupulous competition methods.
As we talked about the current situation in our country, I would like to know your opinion about investments. What should be done to increase the investments in Armenia?
Indeed, today we have the opportunity to make Armenia an attractive platform for investors. Due to the non-violent revolution, our country has a high rating on international platforms and this should be used for the benefit of economic development and prosperity of citizens, but domestic political stability and effective anti-corruption struggle cannot stimulate investments. I think, it is necessary to reduce taxes, consolidate them, simplify the tax payment mechanism as much as possible. Lower taxes and their reduction will contribute to the increase in the number of taxpayers. Investors always prefer to invest in a country where laws do not prevent business development and there is confidence that these laws will not be changed for at least 5-10 years.
Mr. Sukiasyan, in 1991, ARMECONOMBANK OJSC was registered as the first bank of the newly established republic and has been in the market up today, but it has never stood out by its aggressive policy. Will this practice, in the severe competitive environment, become a guarantee of success in the future as well ?
You are right, ARMECONOMBANK OJSC has never been aggressive and attacking in the financial market. “The end justifies the means” ideology has never been either mine or the Bank’s management objective. We are for fair competition, and the obsession of making profit through breaking market rules and ruining the market is simply unacceptable for me. Also, I do not think that attracting customers through dumping, making deals with customers having bad business reputation, and sometimes even providing loans to insolvent customers are the right ways for sustainable development and stable growth of the bank. It, first of all, damages the depositors and clients trusting us. Banks have their own internal control mechanisms. Over the years, we have attached great importance to the application of these mechanisms and have built development programs of upcoming years based on the proper risk assessment. Proportionate growth to risks, not anticipation of current profit, that’s the guarantee of sustainable success.
-Currently, a lot of people strive for working in credit and financial institutions, believing that salary in the banking system is higher than in other sectors of the economy. ARMECONOMBANK OJSC has 50 branches, about 900 employees, what kind of qualities are required to work at ARMECONOMBANK OJSC and become a part of your team?
First of all, I would like to state that it is possible to work at ARMECONOMBANK OJSC exclusively in a competitive way: "friend-relative-acquaintance vicious model" does not work in the Bank because our goal is to have knowledgeable and experienced staff. ARMECONOMBANK OJSC's doors are open to all those who have appropriate knowledge, desire to work and internal culture. The latter, perhaps, is not a less important feature than profound professional knowledge or long-term work experience. Moreover, we give preference to newly graduated candidates, considering that stereotype-free young people can give new breath to the bank's activit