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Hamkorbank tackles crises, from Covid to conflicts

Photo: Getty Images

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has far-reaching consequences for Uzbekistan’s privately owned Hamkorbank. The bank had just pulled through the pandemic when it had to take a hard look at exposure to Russian trade and the rouble. 

Hamkorbank sets an example for Uzbekistan’s banks. It is one of the country's largest privately owned banks with strong ties to international financial institutions, in keeping with the government’s goals of embracing the global community and funding, while still maintaining strong domestic roots. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February has rocked Hamkorbank’s foreign relations.

Russia’s attack on Ukraine prompted the EU, the UK and the US to impose sanctions on Russia (as well as its ally, Belarus). Many of their banks are now cut off from the international markets and the rouble is under pressure. Energy prices soared and other commodities followed, adding to inflationary pressures.

As a former Soviet republic, Uzbekistan has close ties with Russia, so the imposition of sanctions and the related fall-out have serious implications for the economy and for local banks such as Hamkorbank.

In an interview with Asiamoney, chief executive Bakhtiyorjon Juraev, explains what the conflict in Ukraine means for Hamkorbank.

“From the very first moment of the conflict, we started drafting a stress test. We included not only Russia, but Ukraine and Belarus as a factor,” says Juraev.

That showed that about 20% of the bank’s clients had businesses linked to one or more of the three countries.

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Jonathan Breen is a contributing editor for Asiamoney, based in Hong Kong. He is also equities editor for GlobalCapital Asia, a sister publication.
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