In just over two years of our operations in the Far East, we have managed to open more than 800 sales outlets where residents of the Far East can get financial services, which include opening an account, applying for a loan, making a deposit, etc. And it covers 473 communities in the Far East — Maxim Taluk, Head of the Far East Macroregion, Post Bank.
As of 1 July 2019, the payment infrastructure also changed significantly: the number of ATMs increased by 3%, and the number of electronic terminals went up 15%. Improved access to Internet allowed us, among other things, to start applying alternative methods of raising financial accessibility. In particular, the Post Bank’s project <...> has spread around the country: as of 1 July 2019, the Far East had almost 3 thousand terminals for withdrawing and depositing cash — Sergey Belov, Head of the Far Eastern Main Branch, Central Bank of the Russian Federation.
We have developed a three-year programme that will help our services cover 100% of the territories and be accessible. We will reach 75% in terms of getting discounted financing — Maxim Lubomudrov, Deputy Chairman of the Board, JSC Russian Agricultural Bank.
Basically, our pilot project started in August 2018. <…> The objectives of the pilot project were fairly simple: to raise the level of financial accessibility for residents of the Far East and make Internet-based financial services – the so-called remote services – more accessible. <…> As a result, presently the quality of Internet access helps financial services – the tool of the Bank of Russia – cover over 2 thousand communities, which is over 82% of communities in the Far East — Sergey Belov, Head of the Far Eastern Main Branch, Central Bank of the Russian Federation.
State-of-the-art digital financial technologies can be most in-demand here because of communities’ remoteness and low population. An increment in cashless operations can be driven by such products as the virtual card. <…> Our bank launched such a card last year — Ekaterina Reznikova, Vise President, Member of the Management Board, Head of the Digital Business Unit, MTS Bank.
The main focus of financial accessibility is, of course the digital – digital technologies. We see a growing interest and more and more people ready to use such channels. <…> Over 50% of the population use digital channels as primary, and the increment in the use of digital channels is annually very high, which meets the trends and people’s needs — Mikhail Mamuta, Head of Service for Protection of Consumer Rights and Ensuring the Availability of Financial Services, Member of the Board of Directors, Central Bank of the Russian Federation.
The government and business implement various programmes. <…> One of them is the so-called ‘Fighting digital inequality’ that ensures connection in communities with less than 250 people. Next year, we will complete it. Then, per our agreement with the Government, we will switch to communities with over 100 people — Mikhail Oseevskiy, President, Chairman of the Management Board, Rostelecom .
We have done a lot of financial literacy days to address fraud. And over the last two years, we have covered about 9 thousand people and spoke to them about different aspects of financial literacy — Maxim Taluk, Head of the Far East Macroregion, Post Bank.
Digital channels work only in places with stable Internet. <…> Secondly, they work in places where people are mentally prepared to use digital channels. Thirdly, they work in places that have at least one bank office for withdrawing/depositing cash and using cashless or cash-based transactions — Mikhail Mamuta, Head of Service for Protection of Consumer Rights and Ensuring the Availability of Financial Services, Member of the Board of Directors, Central Bank of the Russian Federation.
453 communities still have troubles with Internet, including <…> 260 with less than 100 people — Sergey Belov, Head of the Far Eastern Main Branch, Central Bank of the Russian Federation.
People are mentally not prepared for using financial services, and it is natural. These are new products for people from remote communities, and secondly, some of them have low incomes — Sergey Belov, Head of the Far Eastern Main Branch, Central Bank of the Russian Federation.
Going back to a rural resident, their need for speaking to a bank employee is even higher than in a city. That is why we have been developing new formats in addition to traditional ones. First of all, remote cash desks with 300 vehicles that cover 9–10 communities. <…> Secondly, our travelling account managers that come to the municipality. <…> We are pilot testing the cash out format, and we call it the agent network. <…> We have started with giving out cash through our partnering entrepreneur. We have two goals here: first of all, you give entrepreneurship another opportunity to develop; secondly, it is making a banking service accessible. The pilot testing has proved that there is a fairly high demand for it — Sergey Maltsev, Senior Vice-President – Head of Sales Network Department, Sberbank.
We believe that our task is to create platforms and services that would be convenient for people, so that a card could combine payment functions with a number of other services and opportunities that can be implemented — Vladimir Komlev, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, National Payment Card System (NPCS), the operator of the Mir payment system .
When it comes to small business, self-employed people and entrepreneurs, our Group has a unit – basically it is a bank that allows a customer to open an entrepreneurial account remotely and then fully manage it remotely with no need to go to the actual bank office, not even to open the account. Secondly, we are developing the Sky office, which is an institution that allows customers, including entrepreneurs to verify all their payments by phone, to verify what is happening to the company’s finance. This includes remote access software that we use to help entrepreneurs, our customers prepare their reporting — Anatoly Pakhomov, Mayor of Sochi.
We have chosen the cheapest and the most efficient way in terms of three channels of accessibility. These are the so-called <…> remote workstations, virtual offices that exist in 12 regions of the Far East. <…> Moreover, we have a network of agents that we have started: <…> currently our bank has 328 agents, including 19 in the Far East — Roman Kapinos, Deputy Chairman of the Board, SME Bank.
We place our hope on remote identification. The Russian Federation already has 395 points, including the Far East — Sergey Belov, Head of the Far Eastern Main Branch, Central Bank of the Russian Federation.
The current biometrics situation in the Far East is the following: we have set up some of the offices. There are 76 remaining points where it is not up and running yet, but it will be before the end of the year. Over 600 customers have voluntarily submitted their biometrics, and we know how to deal with it — Mikhail Bolonyaev, Senior Vice President, VTB Bank.
We were able to launch biometrics, which allows us to get financial services remotely. <…> We turned into a somewhat of a provider of cutting-edge banking services. If a community has a port office and a high-speed Internet, we go there and give people an opportunity to get financial services. We install our own equipment and cover the territory of the Far East — Maxim Taluk, Head of the Far East Macroregion, Post Bank.
There are communities with less 100 people. <…> We are talking to the regional and federal authorities about ensuring people’s access to Internet and modern communication through various technologies, including satellites. Satellite communication is getting cheaper and more high-speed, that is why we are confident that in the near future and in mid-term satellite Internet will be fairly efficient for the territories that are too remote for optics — Mikhail Oseevskiy, President, Chairman of the Management Board, Rostelecom .