For the year 2002, Vneshtorgbank gained solid positions on the securities market, becoming a market-maker on trading involving Russian debt instruments. The Bank succeeded in vigorously increase treasury transactions, making them more profitable. At the same time, the Bank offered its customers a full spectrum of services in this business line, notably broadening the customer base and number of counterparties.
In 2002, Vneshtorgbank secured even more its positions as a major Russian custodian. Nowadays, over 290 accounts are held at the Vneshtorgbank`s custodian in the name of a variety of depositaries that offered better scope for inter-custodial settlements; and 19 global custodians areong our customers. Throughout the year 2002, customers on custodial transactions grew by 8 percent to about 3,200, inter alia, owing to custodial services offered by branches of the Bank. Securities volume held in records and custody at the Vneshtorgbank`s custodian exceeds US$9 billion.
Services to individual customers developed very fast, being considerably ahead of schedule. Retail business of the Bank increased threefold over average within the Russian banking system.
Total funds raised by Vneshtorgbank from households showed almost a 2.5 times increase to 15.9 billion roubles as of 31 December 2002. Vneshtorgbank`s customer base grew even more in 2002 by over 67,000 individuals to more than 185,000 in number.
Within the package of services in plastic cards, Vneshtorgbank offered its customers in 2002 services such as opening and holding MasterCard euro-denominated accounts, issuance of different international payment system cards pegged to one account, issuance of VISA International cards to make payments via internet. Total plastic cards issued by the Bank was over 175,000 as of 31 December 2002, and total ATMs owned by the Bank posted a two-fold increase throughout the year. At present, the network of Vneshtorgbank to handle international payment cards comprises more than 660 points of service, including 139 cash advance points, 166 ATMs and over 360 merchants.
At year-end 2002, it worth noting that services to households have becoming an important factor aimed at fostering progressive advance of the Bank`s business as a national universal deposit-taking institution. Deposits placed by private individuals within total borrowings were 13 percent as of 31 December 2002 compared to 7 percent at year-end 2001.
Positive dynamics in unexceptionally all Vneshtorgbank figures with regard to services rendered to private individuals testifies that the VTB brand enjoys deserved recognition from the public and top grade competitiveness on retail market.
In 2002, Vneshtorgbank continued expanding its regional branch network, and 8 new branches were opened to reach 42 branches at large. Additional offices totalled 56 in number, including 14 Moscow-based offices.
Increased volumes of transactions conducted by branches in 2002 were much greater than head office figures, and therefore share of branches within total borrowings grew from 13 percent to 20 percent. About 24 percent of retail lending portfolio of the Bank, and 55 percent of raised deposits from households falls on branches` share.
Vneshtorgbank dynamic expansion in 2002 made even more solid its reputationong financial community both in Russia and worldwide. In December 2002, Moody`s Investors Service assigned to the Bank a Ba3 rating for long-terms deposits, the highestong Russian bankers. Other reputable agency, Fitch, assigned the 4Т rating to Vneshtorgbank, which reflects support from the Russian Government. Russian rating agencies traditionally range Vneshtorgbank in top reliability class.