Best Bank: Kazkommertsbank
In the past few years it has been hard to separate the top three banks in Kazakhstan, with Kazkommertsbank, Bank Halyk and Bank TuranAlem all well-established financial institutions. By assets Kazkommertsbank is the smallest of the three, although it has been arguably the boldest in raising capital to grow its lending portfolio. Its dual-tranche bond in the fourth quarter of 2006 included the largest and longest tenor for a sterling bond for a Kazakh borrower – a £350 million ($694 million) five-year tranche – and the longest euro tenor – a €750 million 10-year tranche Compared with Halyk Bank, Kazkommertsbank has adopted a much more aggressive strategy for growth this year, with its plans including a rebranding of its retail branch to Kazkom, opening up to 80 more branches in Kazakhstan and establishing internet banking services by January 2008. These moves should help Kazkommertsbank, which wins the best bank award, close the gap on Halyk’s position as Kazakhstan’s leading retail institution.