The FINANCIAL — Global rating agencies Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s have raised the rating of Bank of Georgia. Standard & Poor’s raised the Bank’s long term rating from B to BB-.
Fitch increased theirs from B+ to BB-. Fitch has also raised the Bank’s Viability Rating from B+ to BB-. This is currently the highest Viability Rating among Georgian banks.
“Bank of Georgia is the only bank in Georgia which has Standard & Poor’s ratings,” claims Irakli Gilauri, General Director of Bank of Georgia. “The rating agencies noted the Bank’s business position, capitalization, liquidity, profitability and strong governance and management teams as the drivers for the rating upgrades.”
Following the raised ratings, the visibility of Bank of Georgia abroad is increasing as well. The Bank announced information about placing shares in the premium segment listing of the London Stock Exchange. After being allowed in this list, Bank of Georgia will be included in the FTSE index. As a result the Bank has attracted a lot of attention from western media.
“Prominent newspapers including the Financial Times, City A.M, Emergingmarkets.me and others have published articles about Bank of Georgia,” the Bank says. “News agencies Reuters and Bloomberg had reports about us as well. Financial Times named Bank of Georgia the least risky bank about to join the FTSE index.”
Bank of Georgia refreshed the brand in the second half of 2011. The renewal brought about very good results. The Bank has further solidified its corporate brand. The new corporate-endorsed brand architecture unites the group’s banking sub-brands such as retail banking, corporate banking, wealth management and SOLO brand and the group’s non-banking businesses under one umbrella, while retaining the Bank’s well-established logo which incorporates the Bank's signature orange lion.
Now their own logo, including the already famous orange lion.
Bank of Georgia has introduced its new slogan Feel the Future, which clearly reflects the Bank’s innovative spirit and goal to provide its customers with products and services that help them create a more guaranteed future.
One of the first projects under the new slogan Feel the Future was opening Express service centres of a totally new concept. Nine new service centres were opened simultaneously in Tbilisi. Based on only performing fast transactions, the express centres offer syntheses of online banking and operators’ services.
“Speed, simplicity, convenience and ultramodern design are the main advantages of the new format service centres,” said the CEO.
The express service centres are divided into two areas. The first is a self-service area which is open 24 hours a day. Special staff is available to help clients perform online operations in this area if necessary. The second half of the centre will be open from 9 a.m. till 9 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. till 6 p.m. at weekends. Cashier-operators serve customers in this area.
Besides the nine new express centres, Bank of Georgia has expanded its chain of service centres in the regions of Georgia. The Bank has opened new service centres in Kutaisi, Zugdidi, Lagodekhi, Oni and Gori. Bank of Georgia has expanded its personal banking service SOLO as it opened a service corner in Kutaisi. Bank of Georgia today owns 151 service centres throughout Georgia
“We have new headquarters as well,” Gilauri said. “The new office completely corresponds with the growing needs of Bank of Georgia and offers an A class office environment to our customers and employees. Up to 600 individuals working in different offices now work under one roof which will increase the efficiency of the Bank.”
Not just Bank of Georgia but its subsidiary companies also had significant achievements in 2011. The Bank’s subsidiary company SB Real Estate got a loan of 20 million USD from FMO. This money will be spent on the project of affordable housing in Tbilisi. The project will be the second housing one implemented by SBRE.
“The funding provided by FMO will enable SBRE to develop its second affordable housing project in Tbilisi, in line with the Bank’s affordable housing strategy that entails the development, sale and lease of flats supporting the Bank’s retail mortgage lending business,” Irakli Gilauri said.
“Another of our subsidiary companies, Aldagi BCI, has attracted financial resources of 11.9 million USD from ING Bank to develop the hospital sector. The insurance company is constructing six ultra-modern hospitals in the regions of Western Georgia. Four of them are already opened and two will be opened in 2012.”
Bank of Georgia is the leading Georgian bank, based on total assets (with a 36% market share), total loans (with a 36% market share) and client deposits (with a 34% market share) as of 30 June 2011, all data based on standalone financial information filed by banks in Georgia with the National Bank of Georgia. The Bank offers a broad range of corporate banking, retail banking, wealth management, brokerage and insurance services to its clients.