Kazakhstan's best bank for SMEs 2021: Alfa Bank
In many countries, the success of banks’ focus on small and medium-sized enterprises is increasingly tied to their digital offerings for this group of clients. Can the SMEs avail of mobile banking services? Can they do most of their banking business online, without going to a physical branch or needing human support? Can they do this safely, through an easy-to-navigate app or platform?
Alfa Bank, led by chief executive Andrey Timchenko, has married its SME focus and its digital ambitions with great success in Kazakhstan, making it the winner of two awards for 2021: Asiamoney’s best bank for SMEs and best digital bank in the country.
First the numbers. For the first eight months of 2021, Alfa Bank’s net profit was KT24.2 billion ($55 million), up 27% year on year. In the past year, its SME customer base has doubled in number, as has its operating profit. While Alfa Bank’s lending book is not big, the management has started offering loans too – albeit still at a small scale – but it is hoping to grow its lending book by 50% to 70% every year over the next few years.