Ursa Bank: hot on the heels of the leader
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Ursa Bank: hot on the heels of the leader

In Russia, members of the business elite are just as likely to appear in the gossip columns as they are in the business sections of the nation’s newspapers.

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In such a context, Igor Kim, chairman of leading regional banking player Ursa Bank, cuts a refreshingly modest and unassuming figure. "I’m not a celebrity, I’m not a movie star," he says, adding that he hasn’t even been to Monaco, let alone owns apartments or a fleet of yachts there. Not that he couldn’t afford them of course, you understand. Latest estimates value Ursa Bank, the jewel in Kim’s financial services providers’ collection, at about $4.2 billion. Kim has at least a 35.5% call on that, not to mention his holdings in smaller banks spread across Russia, which have helped to propel him into the ranks of the top-100 richest lists in Russia. It’s all a far cry from 1993 when Kim and his business partners, Andrey Bekarev and Aleksandr Taranov, entered the banking industry when they became the main owners of Russkiy Narodniy Bank, the first step in a course of acquisitions that has enabled Kim to build what is widely recognized as Russia’s leading regional banking franchise.

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