CEE & Central West Asia: Best Local Bank in the Region for BRI 2019
Belarus has been an important partner for China in central and eastern Europe for nearly two decades, and the level of cooperation has intensified since the announcement of the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013. This in turn has created an increasing need for financial services to support rapidly expanding trade, economic and tourism links between the two countries.
On the Belarusian side, Belgazprombank has emerged as a pioneer. The Russian state-owned lender signed a cooperation agreement in February 2018 with Great Stone, a landmark Belarusian-Chinese industrial park near Minsk, to provide a variety of banking services to investors in the park. Belgazprombank holds direct correspondent accounts with leading Chinese lenders, including Bank of China and Agricultural Bank of China, through which international payments are settled in renminbi and US dollars for trade transactions between Belarusian and Chinese entities.
It has also been authorized as a servicing bank within the bilateral current swap arrangement concluded between the People’s Bank of China and the National Bank of Belarus.
In the 12 months to the end of May, Belgazprombank issued 40 letters of credit in favour of Chinese enterprises. The lender was also the first in Belarus to offer processing for UnionPay cards. Belgazprombank deepened its relationship with the Chinese card services company in February when it became the first Belarusian entity to issue UnionPay cards.
Belgazprombank is jointly owned by Russian state-owned gas firm Gazprom and its banking arm, Gazprombank. Led by chairman Viktar Babaryka, it ranks sixth in the Belarusian banking sector by total assets and has a market share of 5.1%.