In 2002, when Sovcombank (Buoykombank at the time) was acquired by Sergey Khotimskiy and a group of co-investors, it had one branch, 17 employees and ₽2 million equity. By the end of 2020, Sovcombank had become the No.3 largest privately-owned bank in Russia by total assets according to Interfax ranking based on RAS, had a branch network of 2 334 offices in 1 thousand Russian towns and employed 17 thousand people, whilst the Group reported ₽188 billion total equity demonstrating its ability to grow over time.
The Group has delivered on its own growth strategy by means of successful organic growth initiatives as well as carefully selected and well-executed inorganic growth opportunities. The Group has been able to carefully select underpenetrated market niches with limited competition and by a combination of targeted product offering and wide customer reach deliver strong track record of profitable organic growth. In addition to organic expansion, the Group has grown via smart acquisitions of other financial institutions and businesses operating in select market niches at attractive prices. Since 2014, the Group has executed 20 significant acquisitions and these opportunities have allowed it to diversify its product offering, customer base and deliver further growth.
As a result of the Group’s impressive growth track-record via organic and inorganic means, its asset base has grown 30 times during the period from 2011 to 2020 and has allowed Sovcombank to become No.9 largest bank in Russia by total assets as at 31 December 2020 according to Interfax ranking based on RAS.
The Group growth was partially fueled by its high internal capital generation ability: average ROE over the last ten years (2011-2020) reached 42%, according to the Group’s calculations based on published IFRS accounts. Not only did the Group deliver a strong through-the cycle profitability track-record, it also reported a stronger performance during the time of economic downturn, with average ROE of the Group during the financial crisis in Russia in 2014-2015 reaching 54%. The Group managed to achieve this by its operations being focused on strict profitability criteria, which are not compromised for additional growth, diversification of its operations and hence profitability profile, as well as prudent risk underwriting policies.
Currently, the Group’s business model is based on three key pillars: retail banking, corporate banking and treasury segments contributing equally to the Group’s bottom line. The Group’s three operating segments are complementary, generate strong synergies and provide important diversification to the Group’s income streams through the economic cycles. The diversification enables the Group to evaluate broader opportunities in complementary markets through the economic cycles in Russia and adjust its business model accordingly to take advantage of such opportunities.