Umut Shayakhmetova: Opportunities from integration
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Umut Shayakhmetova: Opportunities from integration

As part of Euromoney's 50th anniversary coverage, we profile some of the biggest names that we interviewed for our May CEE focus.

The 10 years since Umut Shayakhmetova took over as chief executive of Halyk Bank have been turbulent ones for the Kazakh banking sector.

Two market leaders in succession – BTA Bank and Kazkommertsbank – have been brought down by legacy bad debts, while a clutch of smaller lenders has also failed or had to be bailed out following Kazakhstan’s currency devaluation in 2015.

Under Shayakhmetova’s leadership, however, Halyk has not only avoided the problems that have beset its local rivals but also emerged as one of the former Soviet Union’s largest and most profitable banks.

“We are in a unique situation,” says Shayakhmetova. “We have a competitive advantage even compared to the big Russian banks. We have the highest ratings in the region and we are not under sanctions, so we have access to international funding if we need it.”

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