|Date joined:||22 July, 2019|
|Initiatives:||Principles for Responsible Banking|
Total assets: USD 15 billion (As of 1Q2019 IFRS)
Founded in 1990, Sovcombank is one of the largest in terms of assets and most profitable banking groups in the Russian Federation. The Bank has leading positions in the retail segment and offers a range of commercial and retail banking services to large corporations, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), government entities and individuals.
The Bank actively invests in technology and infrastructure. With 2,434 offices, Sovcombank operates one of the largest retail distribution networks in Russia, covering 1,025 towns and villages across 75 Russian regions.
Sovcombank is among the most profitable credit institutions in Russia with sustainable ROE of 32% for the past decade. The shareholders of the bank include its management, a group of Russian businessmen and sovereign wealth funds of Middle East countries (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE and Bahrain), the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and SBI Holdings, a financial group based in Tokyo, Japan.
Summary of sustainability strategy
The Group has been one of the first banks on the Russian market to incorporate environmental and social governance (“ESG”) principles into its core business strategy. It believes that sustainable investing (including by broadening its analysis beyond strict financial factors to take into account environmental, social and corporate governance ones) allows for a longer-term approach and increased efficiency and that this feeds into its fiduciary duty to achieve the best returns for our shareholders. The Group develops its sustainability / ESG strategy by adopting the best international practice of the leading EU banks.
It focuses sustainability efforts on the following areas:
Transparency and corporate governance
Sovcombank reports that it applies standards of reporting and transparency exceeding those typical for large listed corporations.
Responsible and sustainable investment
Sovcombank supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals (“UN SDGs”) by developing new financial instruments and by investing in socially- and environmentally efficient projects.
Bloomberg ranked Sovcombank as the No.1 privately owned arranger of domestic bonds in Russia for a number of years. The bank built a dedicated team to issue green bonds for clients, the largest Russian corporations. Green bonds enable investors to direct funding towards environmentally-friendly activities with a comparable risk-return profile to traditional bonds.
Renewable energy and energy saving projects
Sovcombank extended credit lines and bank guarantees of €1 billion in total to the projects related to zero carbon dioxide emission energy, including wind and solar power, renewable energy, clean water, and energy saving.
Support for micro-, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs)
The bank owns a digital platform that enables 514 thousand MSMEs to supply goods and services to the public sector. The digital platform provides access by issuing bank guarantees which MSMEs require in order to participate in online tenders for public procurement. The bank also operates the largest online platform for state and municipal procurement.
Sovcombank is committed to lending in a responsible way. Treating customers fairly is at the heart of the bank and this means offering value, understanding clients’ needs, being transparent and generally helping our clients to make informed choices.
Access to banking for low-income clients in rural areas
Sovcombank provides a broad suite of financial services and products to predominantly low-income customers in underbanked rural areas and remote locations of the Russian Federation. The bank has 2,434 offices located in 1,025 predominantly rural, remote towns and villages in 75 (out of 83) Russian federal subjects. Sovcombank operates by far the largest retail network among privately owned banks in Russia.
Financial literacy for older generation and low-income clients
Sovcombank is committed to providing public access to educational materials about money management, budgeting, saving and spending for our core clientele – 4.4 million clients of predominantly older age and having low income. The bank supports inclusive access to finance and improving financial literacy in rural areas.
Why the bank joined UNEP FI
Joining UNEP FI crystalizes the Sovcombank’s commitment to sustainable development and corporate social responsibility and reflects the ban’s intention to adopt best practices. This partnership will allow Sovcombank to promote sustainable banking and its role in Russian society.
“For Sovcombank, value creation means a delicate balance of the long-term sustainable returns to our shareholders, provision of good living for our employees, great banking services to our clients in rural areas and contribution to the community and the nation. We are pleased to commit to the UNEP FI objectives and to become the first founding member from Russia. Sovcombank will contribute to UNEP FI’s success by extending the adoption and implementation of sustainability practices in Russia, by sharing our expertise, and by providing a prominent example to other banks. Sovcombank will also benefit from a broad range of UNEP FI’s resources, activities and its global network. ”
Dmitry Gusev, CEO, Chairman of the Management Board
FY 31 December 2018 (April 2019)