There has been a large focus on how financial institutions are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, much of that focus has been of the financial services they are offering small- and medium-enterprises (SMEs) to help them get through the pandemic. Our friends at SME Banking Club decided to ask financial institutions operating in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Caucasus what non-financial services they’ve started offering SMEs. Here are some of the highlights:
- Alfa Bank Belarus has placed its large library of educational business video content in the public domain via a new YouTube channel (Alfa-Hub).
- Alfa Bank Kazakhstan regularly publishes and sends news to consumers, including on how to conduct banking operations remotely, how to take advantage of COVID-19-related measures designed to support consumers and SMEs and the impact of COVID-19 around the world. They also have a separate line in its contact center and WhatsApp chat for legal entities and entrepreneurs.
- ATFBank (Kazakhstan) is in communication with a third-party company related to developing a series of webinars on topics such as How to Manage a Business Remotely and Business Transformation in Connection with the Quarantine.
- Bank Vostochny (Russia) launched a hotline for entrepreneurs in connection with COVID-19 in March. One of the bank’s top managers is also available every weekday for two hours to answer SMEs questions online.
VTB Bank (Russia) is creating online courses for managers on creative thinking in business, negotiations, financial and managerial accounting and digital innovations.
Bank of Georgia helps SMEs digitize their businesses via a partner organization that helps businesses launch sales on search engine-optimized and well-advertised online marketplaces. The bank has also been actively involved in the training of entrepreneurs, offering one webinar or training event every week.
Kapital Bank (Azerbaijan) is raising money for the COVID-19 Fund through its mobile app as well as publishing updated information about COVID-19 and how to protect against it.
- Modulbank (Russia) has launched a series of free personal consultations for entrepreneurs who have suffered from the impact of COVID-19.
- MTBank Belarus is considering the possibility of hosting online meetings to help businesses cooperate while reducing their costs and achieving maximum efficiency in their work in the current economic conditions.
- PrivatBank (Ukraine) offers training programs and conferences on its online platform.
- FUIB (Ukraine) communications are mainly aimed at informing consumers about COVID-19 related matters, including the precautionary measures taken to combat its spread.
- Raiffeisen Bank Aval (Ukraine) is offering all its business customers 6 free months of Microsoft business services.