President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon.
Promsvyazbank CEO Pyotr Fradkov: Good afternoon.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Fradkov, I can see in the first presentation slide that the bank has both maintained its profitability and increased financing activities in the current environment.
Pyotr Fradkov: This is indeed correct, Mr President. The bank is actively expanding its operations. In 2022, we became one of the five largest credit institutions in our country, with assets reaching almost five trillion rubles.
Vladimir Putin: These are very good results if we look overall at the period of the bank’s existence in its new capacity.
Pyotr Fradkov: This is significant growth; I would say the bank has shown more than a threefold rise in the past few years. And this comes with great responsibility as we are well aware that we must remain a major financial partner for the defence industry sector as well as for civilian industries, which is our main task.
As regards the defence industry, most of these loans are offered at preferential interest rates, because when the bank was just being established in a new capacity, our major focus back then was on tackling the sanctions risks and granting preferential loans.
I am talking about the advanced financing scheme for the state defence order, which we are implementing jointly with the Defence Ministry and the Ministry of Industry and Trade, as per your instructions. This loan scheme has proven very efficient. On the one hand, it allows for cheap financing without additional subsidies from the budget; these are the conditions that the bank offers. On the other hand, this means long-term financing. All the advantages are obvious to state customers – the Defence Ministry and the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and now Roscosmos as well – to receive products in advance, while defence enterprises will be provided with finances on a regular basis, without any cash flow gaps. And this essentially allows the existing production facilities to implement regular orders and solve current tasks.
We are actively making progress in this regard. Yet, as you have noted correctly, the civilian aspect is important for us as well in terms of our growth, and we are keeping up here too. This includes small and medium-sized businesses, for example. In 2022, we allocated a total of 850 billion rubles to support small and medium-sized businesses; this includes retail lending and mortgages. We are a leader in providing mortgage loans, including mortgages for military personnel. At least 60,000 military families have received such assistance from Promsvyazbank at preferential interest rates of no more than 8 percent.
As to large civilian businesses, we are also a leader in lease financing for Russian-made aircraft, such as airplanes and helicopters. This is important work.
Mr President, I would also like to report on the implementation of your instructions regarding our operations in Crimea. We started working and opened bank branches in all major cities of the Republic of Crimea. We opened a branch in Sevastopol, where an IT development centre has been set up as well. Many young specialists go there to work in this sector.
By 2024, the bank will provide at least 225 billion rubles for programmes implemented in Crimea, bringing the amount of loans provided to local businesses in line with national levels and allowing economic operators of the peninsula, the city of Sevastopol and the Republic of Crimea, to enjoy equal advantages as regards access to financial resources.
Another enormous, essential task for us is working in the new territories. We launched these efforts back in May, and we are continuing them in what are now new constituent entities of the Russian Federation.
More than 1,200 people have been employed already, including local citizens. We consider it a major, important task. The banking infrastructure in place is very convenient now for providing social security and other benefits, payments and pensions, as well as for citizens to make payments for public utility and mobile service and receiving money transfers from other Russian regions. All this is already available. We will continue this work, including the effort we have already launched to provide loans to both large enterprises and small and medium-sized businesses. We see it as growing economic activity; this is becoming a major area of our operations.
Vladimir Putin: That is very good. Thank you.