Russia’s Sovcombank breaks new ground with equity release loans and ESG
The former consumer finance specialist focuses on collateralized lending and sustainable finance ahead of its planned IPO.
Consumer finance growth in Russia is expected to slow after the introduction of central bank curbs on over-indebtedness, forcing its leading banks to look for new ways to target retail borrowers.
At Sovcombank, one of the country’s largest private sector lenders, chief executive Dmitry Gusev sees opportunities in offering equity release loans to its core low- to middle-income customer base.
“The big Russian retail players – the state-controlled banks and Alfa-Bank – don’t bother with this product, because it’s relatively new and they’re busy enough with classical mortgages,” he says.
“For us, however, it’s a very interesting niche. It allows us to offer our customers lower rates and longer maturities than consumer loans, and the margins are higher than for traditional mortgages.”
Sovcombank has a track record of finding lucrative untapped niches in the crowded Russian banking market.
Today a universal bank with a balance sheet of just under RUB1 trillion, Sovcombank’s initial success in the late 2000s and early 2010s was built on providing unsecured credit to older retail customers, a demographic largely overlooked by other Russian lenders.