Alfa Bank has officially announced the launch of the new retail business under the brand name of Alfa Bank Express
Founded in 1990, Alfa Bank is a universal bank with the span of operations covering all the principle sectors of the financial services industry, including corporate, retail and investment banking, insurance and asset management. Having started retail operations in mid-90s, Alfa Bank has gained sound experience of working with retail customers, and striving to expand its retail presence, in 2001 has embarked on the project to develop a new retail business strategy, allowing it to build a long-term competitive advantage in the very promising retail banking sector of Russia.
The potential of the market can be assessed based on the fact that the amount of cash that Russian people still prefer to keep 'under the mattress' totals up to US$50-80 bln. Despite the fact that the retail deposit market was growing at the pace of 40% YOY in 2002 (this figure for Alfa Bank exceeded 70%), the retail banking market is still in the embryonic state, with a standard of service and product offering of most of the banks lagging far behind the European level. Significant opportunities are also represented by plastic cards, current accounts and consumer credits markets, which are largely underdeveloped.
To form and lead the emerging retail banking market in Russia Alfa Bank has developed an innovative retail business model based on a simple but easily understandable multi-channel product offering, effective business processes, advanced IT-platform, and strong branding aimed at bringing the new retail business closer to the customer by making it accessible, transparent and enjoyable. The new business model is largely based on economies of standard and offers standardised products, service and retail environment. This enables Alfa Bank to sustain a consistent quality of service and make the new model scalable, which is crucial for such a large country as Russia.
The new retail business, operating under the Alfa Bank Express brand name, is officially launched in April 2003 with 11 branches in downtown Moscow providing service on the 24 hour basis, fully operational Call Center and a system of field sales force calling on new customers. The nearest plans of Alfa Bank Express are to increase the number of branches in Moscow up to 20-25 by the end of 2003, to start the conversion of the existing retail network into the new format, to introduce the on-line banking facility, and to increase the range of products and functionalities available to the customers. A regional expansion strategy is being considered by the Alfa Bank stakeholders with the view of commencing in 2004.
Alfa Bank considers its new retail business to be the first retail offer in Russia capable of providing world-class service and developing competitive advantage based on its novelty, openness, attractiveness and innovative approach to IT and infrastructure, which enables it to run operations in a cost-effective way.
Prepared to compete with the leading international banking institutions, Alfa Bank sees Sberbank as the most immediate competitor in the existing landscape of the Russian market.
ABH Holdings S.A.
ABH Holdings S.A. (ABHH) is a privately owned Luxembourg-based holding company investing into several banking groups in the CIS and Europe. ABHH includes Alfa-Bank (Russia), Alfa-Bank (Ukraine), Ukrsotsbank (Ukraine), Alfa-Bank (Belarus), Alfa-Bank (Kazakhstan) and Amsterdam Trade Bank N.V. You can find more information on ABH Holdings S.A.'s website http://www.abhh.lu/