EBA Personality : Hmarska Iryna,Manager of Direction of JSC “Diamantbank”in Lviv
Can we start with an introduction of yourself and an overview of your company? How do you position yourselves on the market?
I have over 7 years heading the regional unit of “Diamantbank” in Lviv. In 2005 started working in this bank as a director of the branch, now head of Direction, which has seven branches. It should be noted that Diamantbank over 18 years working in the financial market of Ukraine by the rules of civilized market and build customer relationships based on legal and ethical business standards, according to professional standards. Maintaining a constant dialogue with our customers, we develop our products according to their requirements, improve management processes and operations to achieve the highest degree of excellence of our cooperation. Realization of social responsibility for Diamantbank is very important, also. During the years 2007–2012 Diamantbank purchased and delivered vital medical equipment for 30 children’s hospitals in 17 cities of Ukraine as organizer of the Ukrainian program “Think about life!”.
Do you have any plans for expansion? What are your growth ambitions?
Over the past two years Diamantbank branch network has increased by one third. Very impressive development, consider that these were very difficult years for Ukraine, where even large foreign banks closed the branches. Today the network is optimal. Diamantbank entered TOP – 30 Ukrainian banks by the number of branches according to the ratings of “50 leading Ukrainian banks in Ukraine,” by publishing house “Kommersant-Ukraine”. Now we want to focus on the quality service rather than quantity of branches.
What key market drivers are positively impacting your business?
This is actually a very complicate question that requires a complex answer, but briefly – money likes tranquility, and no bank, no matter how reliable it is, can not stand if the majority of depositors suddenly wish to withdraw their deposits. Accordingly, there can not be credit activities of banks during the depositors panic. Therefore,
healthy economic and political situation is the key to proper functioning and dynamic development of the banking sector.
What is your top priorities for the next 12 months?
First – the development of a new level in Private banking, which involves providing perfect service, financial and technological professionalism of customer service. Second, - optimization of the Bank activities: start up the simple and convenient system of customer service at branches. The introduction of remote services – improvement of Internet-banking, expansion of call-center functions, online sales etc.
Which business sectors presents the most interesting investment opportunities in today’s Western Ukrainian market?
Consider the current economic situation in our country in general and in our region in particular, providing for the stability of our banking institutions, to ensure our customers and depositors, we try to implement loan projects with companies that are not concentrated in one area – the negative trends in some areas will not cause adverse trends in the Bank. Today the largest portion of our loan portfolio are customers who are engaged in wholesale trade, mining industry and different services (accounting, legal, marketing, etc.), car trade and fuel, construction and related services. Interesting and promising in our region are business projects that can be implemented using bank resources in agriculture, wood processing, paper and printing.
What is the most important management lesson you have learned?
Probably you’ve heard the proverb: “There is safety in numbers “? Working for many years as a manager, I’ve repeatedly persuaded how true these words are. For seven years in Diamantbank I’ve endured quite difficult periods, solved difficult problems, but any difficulties can overcome and achieve the results when you work in a team-minded, highly skilled, experienced, competent professionals.
Could you share your business success story?
In my life I just use two advises of my grandmother, who worked all her life as a dressmakers: “treat people the way you want them to treat you” and “do nothing anyhow: do everything best you can or do not do it at all”.
The EBA focuses its actions on 7 vectors of economic development- Corruption fighting, Court system and Land reform, Currency regulation, VAT refund activation, Customs Procedures simplification and Technical barriers to trade elimination.
Which one(s) so you foresee as the most vital and why?
Clearly, each of these areas is important, but I think the biggest problem and even trouble of our society is corruption. I say nothing new about this, because this topic is often discussed at all levels and in all media. Sadly, but chronic corruption has become a regular part of our lives, and directly affect the interests of everyone who lives and works in our country. Last year I visited Georgia twice and after personal communication with ordinary people, businessman, and civil servants, I’m convinced that the fight against corruption can be effective. I hope that the contribution of EBA will be significant to combating corruption and Ukraine will be able to repeat the “feat” of Georgia.
What in your opinion can be done to improve investment attractiveness of Ukraine?
I think the problem we discussed in the previous question will significantly improve the investment attractiveness of Ukraine. And of course a series of economic reforms, stabilization of the political situation, etc. Everything else: human, natural and cultural potential of our country, in my opinion, is quite attractive for investors.
How could you see the future for your sphere of activity in Western Ukraine ? What are the prospects in this sphere in general? Can the infrastructure support planned growth?
The banking system is very sensitive to all economic processes in the country. Therefore, the banking system as a whole will depend on the effectiveness of the reforms conducted in Ukraine. In this context it should not allocate any regional peculiarities. Today, the banking system again stands at a crossroads: what will happen to global and domestic economies, exchange rate and the banking system? Experts carefully consider the banking sector in Ukraine, although he has a clear positive potential. Last year showed positive dynamics of profitability, as banks resumed lending to the real economy. Although the system still suffered from losses, they were reduced relative to 2010 by 40,8% Overall, the profitability of the banking system in 2012 improved relative to 2011 by solving the issue of problem loans and subsequent restoration of money lending, but will remain limited due to lack of working capital, tight monetary, credit policy and expensive financial resources.
What are your personal recommendations for anyone who wants to be successful in business?
You know, there are many ways to financial heights. As in love, everything is very individual. For someone starting point was an inheritance, for someone - an innovative business idea, for someone – perseverance and incredible performance, while others simply found themselves in the right place at the right time. So, apparently, important is the ability not to miss your chance.Western