MEDIUM AND SMALL BUSINESSMEDIUM AND SMALL BUSINESS

The Medium and Small Business (MSB) global business line specialises in serving legal entities and individual entrepreneurs with annual revenues of up to RUB 25 billion per group of companies.

Moreover, the following client subsegments can be distinguished based on client needs for banking products and service models: upper, standard and mass. The main (but not the only) criterion for this segmentation is the volume of annual revenue: the upper segment includes clients with revenue from RUB 1 billion to RUB 25 billion; the standard segment is for clients with revenue from RUB 120 million to RUB 1 billion; the mass segment is for clients with annual revenue of less than RUB 120 million.

Small and medium-sized enterprises are playing an increasingly important role in the economy of the Russian Federation; therefore, work with clients in the MSB segment is an important strategic direction for VTB Group.

The MSB segment is one of the most competitive sectors in the banking market, while the small-business market is characterised by high volatility: with a relatively steady number of customers, there are new companies in the market every year, and a significant portion of customers change banks, which further intensifies competition among banks.

Lending to small and medium-sized businesses largely depends on general trends: in difficult economic conditions, companies reduce their borrowing, but they pick up the pace during periods of economic growth. Despite the difficult economic situation and the impact of restrictions, the Group managed in 2020 not only to maintain, but also to improve, its key performance indicators. The extensive work carried out to provide lending support for clients will have a positive impact on VTB’s results in the MSB segment in the long term. We remain focused on improving access to financing for Russian businesses.

In 2020, VTB increased its MSB client base by a quarter, which speaks to the high demand for the Bank’s products and services. In line with our strategic goals, we continued in 2020 to improve the quality of both our service and the customer experience, while also accelerating the implementation of new digital solutions.

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Customer experience quality management

In 2020, VTB carried out its first-ever assessment of MSB customer loyalty and satisfaction, which enabled the Bank to determine its competitive position in the market in terms of the quality of the customer experience. According to the survey, the degree of loyalty among customers who indicated that VTB was their main bank was 58 points, which is an average score for the Russian market.

During the survey, about a thousand of the Bank’s customers assessed the quality of all service channels and the convenience of interaction in the context of key product processes (payment processing, lending, acquiring, payroll projects, etc.). In response to the survey, the Bank developed an action plan to improve the quality of the customer experience for its Medium and Small Business customers.

In 2020, the Bank also began introducing a system of key performance indicators concerning the quality of the streams operated by its Medium and Small Business global business line.

MSB lending and documentary business

The main trend in 2020 in terms of lending remained the provision of concessional loans through state programmes, as well as digitalisation of the process of providing products with credit risk.

State-run business support programmes

VTB is an active participant in all state support programmes for business, offering preferential financing terms through these programmes. Efforts are being undertaken to simplify access for businesses in the MSB sector to preferential lending by liberalising a number of requirements for borrowers and expanding the possibility of restructuring existing loans, which will give a boost to businesses in the MSB sector as well as individual entrepreneurs.

The largest loan portfolio is concessional programme 1528, offered by Russia’s Ministry of Agriculture, the volume of which exceeded RUB 190 billion as of 31 December 2020, including RUB 167.7 billion in loans to companies in the MSB segment (an increase of 152% for the year). As of 31 December 2020, the programme had about 2 thousand loan agreements worth a total of RUB 283 billion, including about 1.9 thousand agreements for RUB 228 billion for MSB customers. In 2020, more than RUB 100 billion in loans were issued to MSB customers, and more than 1.1 thousand new loan agreements were concluded in the segment. Loans are provided to agribusiness companies at an annual rate of no more than 5% with a drawdown period of up to 15 years.

In second place are concessional financing programmes offered by Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development (Programmes 674 and 1706, transactions under which were concluded in 2017–2018, and Programme 1764, covering the period from 2019 to 2024). Within the framework of these programmes, more than 4.4 thousand loan agreements were in place for a total amount of about RUB 286 billion as of 31 December 2020; the loan portfolio at the end of the year was worth RUB 167.5 billion (nearly a twofold increase over the year). Under loan agreements included in Programme 1764, about RUB 192 billion in loans was issued at preferential rates in 2020 (more than double the previous year).

Close cooperation with the SME Corporation continued in terms of working with existing and potential SME customers. For example, VTB relaunched its SME Corporation programme, which allows SMEs to obtain loans at a preferential rate not exceeding 8.5% per annum. In 2020, this programme included 106 loan agreements worth a total of RUB 9.8 billion, and the volume of loans issued exceeded RUB 6 billion. In total, VTB had issued 171 loan agreements through the programme as of 31 December 2020 for a total of RUB 19.8 billion; the loan portfolio is worth RUB 11.7 billion.

VTB Bank continued to finance housing construction through escrow accounts in line with Federal Law No. 214-FZ dated 30 December 2004. As one of the first banks to start operations in this sphere in 2019 (pursuant to changes in the law), VTB has been able to take a leading position in the market for financing housing construction. In the MSB segment in 2020, the Bank quadrupled the amount of financing it provided for developers (to RUB 38 billion), while the total amount of funds deposited in escrow accounts increased sevenfold (to RUB 71 billion).

In 2020, VTB Bank, in response to Government Decree No. 629 dated 30 April 2020, provided loans at preferential rates to legal entities whose controlling entitles were included on the list of strategically important companies in the construction sector. As of 31 December 2020, 19 agreements were in force under this programme with companies in the MSB segment for a total of RUB 24.2 billion; the loan portfolio is worth RUB 12.3 billion.

In addition, as part of the increased digitalisation of the lending process for clients in the MSB segment in 2020:

  • a new pilot online lending product was launched called PACL in one click online; this product involves a pre-approved loan that enables a business to receive up to RUB 4 million for any business purposes without collateral and without visiting a Bank office;
  • a pilot product called express credit online was launched, which makes it possible to get a loan for up to RUB 10 million without collateral for any business purposes without visiting a Bank office; the decision-making process takes five minutes, and the funds are credited to the borrower’s current account within 24 hours.

Documentary business

The main objectives of the Bank’s documentary business in the MSB global business line in 2020 were to maintain and expand the documentary portfolio amid decreased demand stemming from restrictive measures introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to maximise the use of digital technologies and products in order to bolster the Bank’s leading market positions (building a leading digital bank for MSB clients).

The fulfilment of these goals made it possible to greatly increase the number of operations for which customers do not have to visit a Bank office, while also reducing the time required for internal document flow involved in the lending process for documentary transactions. Several new guarantee products were introduced that can be issued remotely based on an automated review and financial analysis of the application, which greatly reduces labour costs on the part of customers when submitting an application and the time needed for the Bank to respond. The range of channels enabling customers to obtain documentary products was expanded, including online banking.

Work continued on the sale of classic products in an updated format: technologies were created for the provision of paperless tax guarantees, a portfolio of uncovered letters of credit with the possibility of early payment to the recipient was in development, and cooperation was developed with the biggest guarantors vis-à-vis the Federal Customs Service for customers specialising in customs transit.

Taken together, these measures contributed to a 5% increase in the MSB segment documentary portfolio in 2020 despite the difficult market environment, volatile demand and the numerous challenges caused by the pandemic.

MSB transaction business

In 2020, a targeted customer path was built in terms of onboarding – the reservation and opening of a first and subsequent accounts for new customers, which, thanks to the unification of the Bank’s IT landscape, was made available to all customers. As part of onboarding, the Bank made it possible for customers to reserve a current account on the Bank’s website by providing only a small amount of information; in addition, it is now possible for individual entrepreneurs to open a current account in person in only 20 minutes.

The unified line of service packages for payment and cash management services for clients of the MSB global business line in terms of price positioning and optimal content remains one of the best among similar offers from other banks, attracting the attention of almost 244 thousand new clients in 4Q 2020. Altogether, more than 413 thousand clients chose VTB Bank’s package services.

The For Starters package remained the most popular among new Bank clients: to date, more than 250 thousand clients have signed up for the package. VTB developed the package in order to support small and medium-sized businesses. The package enables clients to open and maintain a current account in roubles for up to 12 months free of charge, and it also provides remote banking services, an unlimited number of intrabank transfers and up to five external payments.

Not only have VTB’s clients shown appreciation for the benefits offered by the Bank’s new line of packages, but so have independent experts. According to a study conducted by MarksWebb, VTB continued to lead in terms of service advantages for micro and small enterprises in the retail and service industries at the end of 2020.

VTB Bank regularly offers preferential terms of service to businesses. In 2020, more than 30 thousand clients took part in the Let’s start with the best! campaign, whereby companies and individual entrepreneurs who opened their first settlement account with the Bank were able to do so free of charge, and they also received three months of commission-free services as part of the Most Important of All and the All-Inclusive packages. Clients with a For Starters package were offered two new stimulus measures in 2020 providing attractive conditions to continue their service with a higher-level package: a discount on the Most Important of All package and a promotion on the Test Drive package. Also, a new referral channel called Partner Recommendations was launched especially for MSB clients, which allows clients to receive discounts for recruiting business partners to sign up for banking services; the discounts are available to both existing and new Bank customers.

A pilot product called VTB Kassa was launched in 4Q 2020: this is a state-of-the-art mobile solution for business that combines the functionality of a cash register (including online data transmission to the Federal Tax Service) and a terminal for accepting bank cards, while also enabling customer payments through the Faster Payments System. The device, which has been registered in accordance with Federal Law No. 54-FZ dated 22 May 2003, can be provided to customers, at no additional cost, during their first visit to the Bank. The cost of related services depends on the selected tariff plan.

In 2020, in order to develop its special accounts, VTB implemented a service that allows the exchange of electronic documents between the customer and the Bank via the remote banking system as part of the service for purchasing goods, works or services through e-commerce.

The Bank carried out serious work to make the use of business cards as convenient and affordable as possible:

  • A new card product for MSB clients was created: a virtual universal card with the possibility of issuing a plastic companion card with the same details;
  • The holders of VTB universal cards now have access to a service for setting spending limits: the service is activated free of charge at the request of the customer at a Bank office or through the remote banking system (the technical requirements can be confirmed by the Bank’s call centre). VTB customers can demarcate expenses on a card account and set limits for any of the cards linked to it. The service allows customers to limit the amount of cash withdrawals, set restrictions on non-cash transactions online or in retail and service enterprises; it is possible to turn the card into an instrument only for depositing money into a current account (self-encashment), setting a zero limit for all cash transfer and withdrawal operations.

Building a digital business

The development of the digital ecosystem is especially important in view of the unfavourable economic situation that developed in 2020 due to the spread of the coronavirus.

The Bank continues to develop its remote sales channels, including by acquiring MSB clients through partners. The number of clients that were acquired through partners in 2020 increased by 67%; more than 2.6 thousand agreements with partners were concluded.

In 2020, the Bank continued to develop its on-site service, which allows customers – legal entities, individual entrepreneurs or individuals engaged in private practice – to open a current account without visiting a Bank office. One of the service’s main focal points for development is to increase its efficiency and attractiveness for customers. At present, the on-site acceptance and registration of electronic documents that a customer has received from the Federal Tax Service is possible; this enables the Bank to make the service more competitive.

In the reporting period, the quality of the on-site service improved every quarter. Customers submitted a mistake-free document package at 98.8% of on-site meetings held in 2020.

The On-Site Service mobile application was introduced in 4Q 2020, making it possible for the Bank to work with requests from potential customers. Measures were taken to expand the service’s geography to a number of cities in the Moscow region (Korolyov, Mytishchi, Ivanteyevka, Sergiev Posad, Pushkino, Krasnogorsk, Odintsovo, Podolsk) and the city of Voronezh. In addition, permission to accept a package of documents for the opening of a current account during an on-site visit was granted to customer acquisition managers in all regions where such managers are in place (more than 70 cities) in addition to on-site specialists.

In 2020, a new use case was developed and launched for the main page of the MSB global business line on the corporate website with a new menu and new information sections – State Programmes and Self-employed; additional pages were created to attract free-of-charge search-engine traffic to the site, and the site’s ranking in search engines was improved. In addition, dynamic markup of Google Analytics events was introduced to analyse user behaviour on site pages, and an audit of user behaviour on some pages was carried out; requirements were developed based on the results and then optimised.

VTB upgraded its Closer to Business information and training portal, which was created specifically to support entrepreneurs and business leaders. The portal now enables users to complete free online training taught by market professionals, to read expert articles on the principles of business process formation and to get free access to an electronic library. The number of entrepreneurs who underwent training in 2020 through VTB’s special Closer to Business portal increased twentyfold. More than 50 thousand people took part in courses and webinars through the VTB information and training platform. The average number of monthly website visitors in 2H 2020 increased tenfold to 35 thousand people.

Non-banking services ecosystem

In 2020, services for nationwide partners in key areas (accounting and reporting, business management and security, legal support, etc.) were added to the site for non-financial services; the design was updated, multiservices were launched, and a page was created for co-marketing offers of payment and cash management services with partners. A number of services operate directly on the platform prior to registration and authorisation (express services), offering maximum discounts on services for VTB customers. During the year since the launch of VTB’s platform for non-banking services, https://marketplace.vtb.ru, over 30 thousand entrepreneurs have visited it. In 2020, the number of connected services increased by 70%.

Cifra

Digital non-banking services aimed at helping entrepreneurs were developed in 2020: a Digital Accounting service (the Cifra mobile application), which was launched during the pandemic, occupies a special place among them. Digital Accounting helps individual entrepreneurs to fully automate their tax accounting without the involvement of a full-time accountant. Since its launch in March 2020, the Cifra mobile application has become one of VTB’s most popular remote tools for MSB clients. The application has already been downloaded more than 72 thousand times.

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VTB Business QR

Following the success of the pilot project, a new mobile application called VTB Business QR was launched, which is already operating in more than 300 Russian communities and allows entrepreneurs to accept payments from individuals using a QR code through the Faster Payments System using only a smartphone. The main advantages of the service are its low commissions and the fact that funds are credited to the target account within 15 seconds. More than 3 thousand VTB clients in the MSB segment accept payments from individuals using a QR code via the Faster Payments System.

The Digital Accounting and VTB Business QR services help small businesses to move into legal business activities, to quickly launch a new business and to start accepting cashless payments through a QR code, thus making them more mobile in solving urgent problems related to developing their business, which is especially important during the pandemic.

The business registration service at www.start.vtb.ru was updated in 2020. MSB clients now have access to online business registration free of charge without having to pay state fees or having to visit the Federal Tax Service. With the help of the service, entrepreneurs with limited-liability companies and individual entrepreneurs will be able to generate the necessary package of documents, obtain a qualified electronic signature on their smartphone, sign prepared documents in one click and send them to the Federal Tax Service. If customers need assistance, they will be able to register a business by visiting a VTB office that serves legal entities. The Bank’s employees, if necessary, will help the client fill in all the necessary documents for registration and carry out in-person identification in order to issue a qualified electronic signature and sign the documents.

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VTB Business connect

VTB’s e-commerce service, the VTB Business Connect B2B platform, has been further developed. In 2020, a digital distribution platform for non-food products for MSB customers was added to VTB Business Connect and gradually expanded to other regions; a new design concept for the ZaPokupki purchasing platform was developed and implemented, which covers more than 650 stores in six cities. The product mix was established, contracts were concluded with the largest manufacturers to provide the products, and the complex process of accounting for the movement of goods and funds when buying and selling through the company’s balance sheet was automated. A new supplier search function was also developed for the VTB Business Connect platform. The search function operates throughout Russia and enables users to quickly and efficiently search for new partners from different regions of the country, providing more than 100 competitive procedures per day.

In addition, the Bank makes extensive use of the VTB Business Connect platform for its own needs in terms of making low-cost purchases, which has made this intrabank process more manageable and more transparent. Purchases worth RUB 680 million were carried out on the platform; due to competition on the platform, the Bank’s current savings on low-cost purchases amounted to RUB 60.2 million. Also in 2020, 11 pilot projects were carried out with customers that use the service to place orders, which made it possible to gather feedback on the platform and adjust development priorities.

Internet banking and mobile banking for business

Over six months in 2020, a new Internet bank was created from scratch for MSB clients on an omnichannel platform with a unique design, a basis for product integration (some are already available to existing customers), a universal marketplace, a navigation system and an intelligent assistant, including customer communications.

Until they are migrated to the new Internet bank, most MSB clients will work in the VTB Business Online system. For the convenience of clients working with special accounts in the VTB Business Online remote banking system, an enhancement was introduced that makes it possible to work with accounts under Federal Law No. 44-FZ dated 5 April 2013 – the publication of special accounts was implemented (transfer and display of an account in the VTB Business Online remote banking system) with customised names, as well as a notification of blocking service for special accounts.

In 2020, large-scale regulatory improvements were successfully implemented within a short time frame on establishing and sending budget payments in the VTB Business Online, iBank and Telebank remote banking systems. This made it possible for customers, beginning 1 January 2021, to make payments to new treasury accounts while maintaining the functionality of sending funds according to the old details.

In addition, in 2020 VTB launched a new mobile bank for entrepreneurs, VTB Business Lite, which MarksWebb included in its top 10 rating. In 4Q 2020, a major application update introducing new functions was published in the App Store and the Google Play Market. They included invoicing as well as simplified payments to legal entities and individuals or between a customer’s own accounts. In December 2020, the VTB Business Lite mobile application also appeared in the official AppGallery application store, which is available for owners of Huawei and Honor smartphones.

The number of active users of the mobile bank for business more than doubled in 2020. By the end of 2019, the mobile bank for business had about 40 thousand active monthly users. Thanks to the application update and intense work carried out in the second half of 2020 as part of the mobile bank promotion strategy, as of January 2021 the number of monthly active users had increased by more than 2.5x and was approaching 100 thousand.

VTB subsidiary banks in the CIS countries and Georgia

The traditional lending and deposit model with high capital consumption and sensitivity to economic cycles does not provide the necessary competitive advantages in the current environment; therefore, VTB’s subsidiary banks in the CIS countries and Georgia have set out to achieve full self-funding in the local market, to develop their transaction business and to move clients to digital service channels.

In 2020, VTB Bank (Azerbaijan) received a limit from the Russian Export Center to support Russian exports to the Republic of Azerbaijan. A digital bank (chat bank) was also launched based on the Facebook and WhatsApp messengers; the service is available to all customers. The digital bank provides advice on various banking products (and it can also report balances on cards, loans, etc.), and it also sells products (business cards and loan applications).

In 2020, VTB Bank (Armenia) worked intensely on the development of its transactions business. New channels for money transfer systems – payments through payment terminals – were introduced. For the first time in the Republic of Armenia, projects were implemented for signing loan documents with an electronic digital signature and for online POS financing.

In the Republic of Belarus, VTB’s subsidiary bank developed and implemented more than 30 new services for retail remote banking services, which made it possible to more than double the mobile bank’s number of active users. In addition, remote banking services for MSB clients were updated; online deposits, personal accounts for customers for factoring, and a payment service through the mobile application were all added.

VTB Bank (Georgia) remained in third place in terms of the volume of documentary transactions in the local market. The bank transferred more than 90% of all retail operations to digital channels and began issuing loans to individuals remotely through a video bank.

In 2020, VTB Bank (Kazakhstan) carried out work to promote its remote service channels and process automation; it also migrated 100% of MSB clients to the new VTB Business Internet bank. A service enabling the remote opening of current accounts was launched on the bank’s website. In addition, the process of applying for financing within the framework of the small business lending process was automated.