The entry of Tinkoff Bank into Crimea could seriously aggravate competition on the peninsula

The entry of Tinkoff Bank into Crimea could seriously aggravate competition on the peninsula


The entry of Tinkoff Bank into Crimea could seriously intensify competition in this market. In total, ten banks now operate on the peninsula; RNKB retains its leadership; PSB and Sberbank, which came after 2022, are gradually taking away its shares in both the retail and corporate segments. However, experts believe that it will be difficult for new players to take a significant place in Crimea.

According to experts interviewed by Kommersant, Tinkoff Bank’s entry into Crimea in the future will lead to increased competition on the peninsula, although at the moment the new player “does not pose a significant threat” to credit institutions operating here. The bank launched its financial products in Crimea on February 20: it explained that now its representative can, at the request of a new client, deliver debit and credit cards to the peninsula.

Now the largest bank in Crimea, according to experts, remains RNKB (part of the VTB group, but operates under its own brand). PSB officially began operating in the region in April 2022, Sberbank – from the beginning of 2023, and since May began to more actively promote branch-based services. Including Tinkoff Bank, there are now 10 banks operating in Crimea.

Expanding the list of banks present in Crimea “undoubtedly contributes to increased competition, primarily in the retail lending segment,” says Roman Prokhorov, head of the Financial Innovations association. Thus, Sberbank told Kommersant that since May 2023, it has issued more than 4.2 thousand mortgage loans worth almost 16 billion rubles. For comparison, RNKB’s mortgage issuance volumes for 2023 amounted to 40.3 billion rubles. The issuance of PSB credit and debit cards increased over the past year by five times and two times, respectively.

RNKB assured, however, that there was no “significant change” in the bank’s share in Crimea at the end of 2023: “Even taking into account the fact that some large Russian banks provided services to Crimeans through remote service channels.” The ACRA agency confirmed at the end of February that RNKB maintained its position “in the key region of presence, despite increased competition from other large credit institutions.”

The fact is that the growth of retail lending is primarily associated with the development of ATM and office networks, experts say. Meanwhile, Tinkoff Bank is not yet represented in the region with ATMs, neither its own nor its partners. Sberbank and PSB each have about 130 ATMs, and the number of payment terminals for non-cash payments is 4.7 thousand. and more than 3.6 thousand pieces. respectively. However, RNKB’s lead is still significant: more than 1 thousand ATMs and 46 thousand payment terminals.

Roman Prokhorov draws attention to the fact that the development of one’s own ATM infrastructure in Crimea in the current conditions may turn out to be an expensive project. “If the region had long been covered by other banks, then it would be possible to use the previously created infrastructure. But this is not the case,” agrees independent expert Maxim Mitusov.

At the same time, Crimeans “could use the services of many banks before, visiting, for example, the Krasnodar region, so the monopoly of the RNKB was broken long ago,” clarifies Roman Prokhorov. Mr. Mitusov recalls “card tourism,” when “all active and adult consumers who really needed it went and received cards in neighboring regions.”

Competition in corporate business may be more pronounced. Thus, 13 thousand entrepreneurs in Crimea have already opened accounts with Sberbank, and 2.6 thousand local corporate clients have taken loans from it. The volume of approved business loans reached RUB 50 billion. The PSB noted that entrepreneurs in Crimea and Sevastopol opened “three times more accounts and took out one and a half times more loans and guarantees in 2023 compared to 2022,” without giving absolute values. The volume of approved loans and guarantees for business from RNKB amounted to 220 billion rubles in 2023, and growth is also observed: the number of active clients increased by 9%, retail and corporate portfolios – by 27% and 21%, respectively.

Kommersant’s interlocutors in the market allow new players to enter the region, but emphasize that the level of penetration of banking services in Crimea is already high, and competitors are large, strong and planning to expand. Thus, PSB expects “business development in all key areas on the peninsula in 2024, including expansion in Sevastopol, where there is a historically high density of military personnel, a line of preferential products for this category of clients, as well as the development of an IT center in the city.” In addition, the office and ATM networks will be expanded there.

Olga Sherunkova, Maxim Builov, Ksenia Dementieva


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