The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2021 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.
Capital Markets

Kazakh banks hit the capital buffers

Kazakhstan's banking system is a success story whose rapid growth brings a need for capital injections, hence growing foreign interest. But while the banks are operationally transparent, ownership is opaque. What's more, a small population might limit foreign participation beyond investment banking.

Halyk: the retail leader

TIMUR ISSATAYEV, THE chairman of ATF Bank, Kazakhstan's fourth largest, collects old maps of central Asia. There are eight in his spacious office, some dating to the 16th century. "I bought most of them in London and I noticed that they tend to cost half of what comparable maps of Europe cost," he says. "But the dealers tell me they are beginning to appreciate."

Like the maps of this once opaque region, Kazakhstan's banks are beginning to catch European  eyes – not just as borrowers but also as takeover targets. Since 1993, bank numbers have fallen from 230 to 35 but total assets are up from $1 billion to $19 billion. "We're meeting with a foreign bank practically every week," says Issatayev.

Kazakhstan's banks are on a roll, as is the economy of the former Soviet republic. According to Bolat Zhamishev, head of the Financial Supervision Authority, an offshoot of the central bank that regulates the financial sector, last year banking assets grew 60.5%, equity capital 49% and deposits 65%.

"It's good to be a banker in a booming economy," says Issatayev. "But this can't last."

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.

SUBSCRIBE ONLINE TODAY

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually

FREE 7 DAY TRIAL

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors

LOGIN NOW

Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree