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Central Asia

Home Credit doubles down on digital

Home Credit proved to be one of Kazakhstan’s savviest and most agile banks during the pandemic, thanks to the digital transformation that it embarked on less than three years ago. Rivals have some doubts – but the shift to digital appears to be paying off.

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In 2018, the management team of Home Credit Bank Kazakhstan made a decision that would fundamentally alter its business – and prove vital for its survival when the Covid-19 pandemic ravaged the world two years later.

The bank – whose parent is investment holding group PPF Group, founded by Czech billionaire Petr Kellner – had a strong consumer finance operation in Kazakhstan, but had little to show from its banking business.

“The banking DNA was not very well embedded into the structure, logic and strategy of the group itself,” Karel Horak, chief executive of Home Credit Bank Kazakhstan, tells Asiamoney in a video call from his home in November. “But that changed two-and-a-half years ago when we got together and agreed with the shareholders that we were going to grow the banking part of the business quickly.

“We had a banking licence, which was a prerequisite, but it was more a trigger for opportunity.”

Horak, who spent three years at Home Credit’s Indonesia arm before taking the helm at the Kazakh unit in 2018, says his team recognized the importance of three things: the broad benefits of being digital, the need to execute transactions online and the importance of customer experience and customer interaction.

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