Alfa-Bank

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Alfa Bank JSC
TypeJoint stock company
IndustryBanking
Financial services
Investment services
Founded1990; 33 years ago (1990)
Headquarters
Moscow
,
Number of locations
486 offices[1]
ProductsConsumer banking
Corporate banking
Investment banking
Increase US$ 1.35 billion (2020)[1]
Total assetsIncrease US$ 61.85 billion (2020)[1]
Total equityIncrease US$ 8.67 billion (2020)[1]
OwnerMikhail Fridman
Pyotr Aven
German Khan
Number of employees
26,008 (2020)[1]
RatingBa2 (Moody's), BB+(S&P),[2] BBB− (Fitch) (2021)[3]
WebsiteAlfaBank.ru
Alfa-Bank advertising

ALFA-BANK JSC (Alfa-Bank),[4] is the largest of the private banks in Russia.[5] It was founded in 1990 by Russian businessman Mikhail Fridman, who is still the controlling owner today. Headquartered in Moscow, it operates in seven countries, providing financial services to 22 million active corporate customers and over 1 million active retail clients as of 2021.[1] Alfa-Bank has been named Russia's best bank on numerous occasions by financial publications, and was placed 270th in the 2009 edition of The Banker magazine's Top 1000 World Banks.[6] The bank is known internationally for its Alfa Fellowship Program,[7] which gives emerging young leaders from around the world the opportunity to gain professional experience in various fields. Alfa-Bank is also well-known in Russia for its social and cultural initiatives, ranging from charity projects to educational programmes, exhibitions, concerts and music festivals. On March 1, 2022, Mikhail Fridman and Pyotr Aven left the bank's board of directors[8] after coming under EU sanctions imposed in response to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.

History[edit]

Timeline:[9][10]

1990s[edit]

2000s[edit]

  • 2000 – Alfa-Bank acquires a 76% stake in Kyivinvestbank (later renamed "Alfa-Bank"). The Banker and Global Finance magazine name Alfa-Bank "The Best Russian Bank". Alfa Securities, a broker and a subsidiary, opens in London.
  • 2001 – By the end of first quarter, the bank's loan portfolio reaches $1 billion; Alfa-Bank opens a subsidiary in New York City, Alfa Capital Markets, an NASD (now Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)) regulated company set up to provide brokerage and investment services in North and South America. Emerging Markets Investor and Global Finance name it "Best Bank in Russia". Alfa-Bank becomes the 100 percent owner of Amsterdam Trade Bank N.V. and thereby acquires a full banking licence in the European Union.
  • 2002Gazprom and Alfa-Bank reach an agreement on strategic partnership. Together with Merrill Lynch, Alfa-Bank wins financial consulting contract from Unified Energy System. Fitch and S&P upgrade their credit rating on Alfa-Bank. Once again Global Finance magazine names Alfa-Bank "Best Russian Bank".
  • 2003Unaudited financial statements reveal record high growth in profits in 2002 (the bank's loan portfolio increases 70% to $1.4 billion, assets surge by 51%, while net income rises by more than a third). Alfa-Bank, in partnership with the Lauder Institute of the Wharton School of Business, establishes a new award for "Excellence in Foreign Investment", to be presented to foreign companies operating in Russia for weighty contribution to corporate governance and successful business operations. Alfa-Bank draws an $82 million unsecured syndicated loan, the biggest on record among private banks. S&P, Fitch, and Moody's upgrade Alfa-Bank's rating during the year.
  • 2004 – Alfa-Bank tops the list of financial consultants by deals value, completing $8.9 billion worth of transactions in 2003. Alfa-Bank's loan portfolio grows by 52% year-over-year, reaching $2.8 billion. It wins a $10 million defamation settlement against the Russian newspaper Kommersant, which had published an article on financial difficulties at the bank, which suffered a substantial run on deposits and contributed to a mini banking crisis over the summer.[18]
Alfa-bank headquarters in Moscow (2021)
  • 2006 – Alfa-Bank completes the country's first securitisation of diversified payment rights with a $350 million deal. Unaudited first quarter management International Financial Reporting Standards figures show total assets breaking the $10 billion mark for the first time in the company's history.
  • 2007 – Alfa-Bank is raided by Russian police in September in connection with the closure of Sodbiznesbank in 2004.[19] Fitch upgrades Alfa-Bank's rating.[20]
  • 2008 – Alfa-Bank seeks a $400 million government loan in October.[21] It distributes 20,000 Aladdin eToken USB smartcard devices to its online customers.[22] The bank acquires Severnaya Kazna, a major regional bank operating in the Urals region.[23]
  • 2009 – Fitch downgrades Alfa-Bank's rating.[24]

2010s and 2020s[edit]

  • 2010 – Alfa-Bank launches a $1 billion 7-year Eurobond.[25]
  • 2011 – Alfa-Bank seeks to buy Bank of Moscow,[26] but the sale goes to VTB Bank.
  • 2012 – In cooperation with Euroset, Alfa-Bank launches a loyalty card credit programme.[27]
  • 2014 – The "Alfa-Amway" Russian loyalty card programme is created when Amway joined with Alfa-Bank.
  • 2016-2017 – It is reported in several media outlets that there had been activity between computer servers belonging to Alfa-Bank and the Trump Organization,[28][29][30] an accusation that has been discredited.[31] The FBI investigated the activity in the context of links between Trump associates and Russian officials and concluded that there were no such links[32] and that there might be "an innocuous explanation, like marketing email or spam".[33] Through September 2021, U.S. government investigators had been unable to explain the activity, though a 2018 analysis had concluded there were "reasons to doubt that marketing emails were the cause". A Senate report accepted the FBI's assessment that the activity was "unlikely to have been a covert communications channel" but said there was no explanation for this "unusual activity."[34] In May 2022, Clinton's former campaign manager said that Hillary Clinton had approved of a plan to pitch the now-discredited accusation to the media.[31]
Alfa Bank branch in Moscow (Zemlyanoy Val Street), Russia (2020)
  • 2017 – In March, Alfa-Bank is the target of Ukrainian protests.[35]
  • In July, BuzzFeed News reports that, from December 2014 to the summer of 2017, numerous suspicious money transfers were made between Paul Erickson's accounts, including Wells Fargo Bank accounts, an undisclosed law firm, the NRA of America,[a] Jack Abramoff's son Alex and Abramoff's brother Robert's company Landfair Capital Consulting, which was founded in March 2017, and Maria Butina's Alfa-Bank account.[40] Investigators from Wells Fargo reported these suspicious money transfers to the United States Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and to the FBI.[40]
  • In December, Alfa-Bank's wholly owned Dutch subsidiary, Amsterdam Trade Bank, is raided in connection with an investigation into possible money laundering.[41][42]
  • 2019 - According to IFRS Results for 2019, Alfa-Bank's total comprehensive income amounts to $1.03 billion. The bank's total equity increases to $8.1 billion. At the same time, net profit was only $704 million, almost half of 2018 - due to a radical increase in allowances for loan loss provisions.[43]
  • 2022 - Alfa-Bank made a deal with the Kazakh bank "CenterCredit", on the sale of a subsidiary bank "Alfa-Bank Kazakhstan", which fell under anti-Russian sanctions in March this year.[44] In May, the Kazakh bank CenterCredit bought Alfa-Bank Kazakhstan (a subsidiary of the Russian Alfa-Bank, which at that time was under the sanctions of the UK, the EU and the USA). The new owner renamed the bank to Eco Center Bank.[45] On May 18, 2022, Ruslan Vladimirov was appointed Chairman of the Board of Eco Center Bank.[46]

Charity[edit]

Since 2004, Alfa-Bank has been assisting "Life Line", a charity programme for aiding seriously ill children. Alfa-Bank was the first company to organise a collection of private donations to the foundation.[47] Since September 2008, bank customers have the opportunity to transfer cash donations to help children with the help of the Alfa-Click Internet Bank or a conventional bank transfer without a bank commission.[48][49] The bank also cooperates with WWF,[50] supports most of its initiatives, and also invites its clients to provide financial support to the fund.[51]

The bank operates a volunteer organization called "Give Kindness". The bank collects humanitarian aid for orphanages, boarding schools and social shelters, and also attracts employees as volunteers. Every year, the bank organizes charity events called "Children's Day", "Help Me Get Ready for School", and "Christmas Miracle".[52]

Education[edit]

Since 1995, the bank has run the "Alfa-Chance" student scholarship programme, which gives school graduates from various regions of Russia the opportunity to receive higher education at leading universities in the country. Since 2008, Alfa-Bank, in cooperation with HSE, has run a programme to provide nominal scholarships to first-year students from Russian regions (except Moscow and St. Petersburg) who have won prizes at All-Russian School Olympiads and the HSE Multi-Profile Olympiad.[53] In total, the "Alfa-Chance" program involves about 17 higher education institutions. The bank operates the Alfa Fellowship Program, which enables young specialists from the United States, Great Britain and Germany to undergo an internship in Russia.[54]

Culture[edit]

Alfa-Bank plays an active role in developing cultural and educational activities, primarily aimed at supporting national art. On 7 June 2000, the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and Alfa-Bank signed a cooperation agreement, under which the participants agreed to work together to organise joint cultural events and creative projects. Every year, exhibitions and concerts are held with the support of a bank in Russia. In addition, Alfa-Bank participates in the organisation of exhibitions and concerts by Russian cultural figures abroad. For example, on 18 February 2000, a concert by the Moscow Virtuosos Symphony Orchestra conducted by maestro Vladimir Spivakov was held in London. It was the orchestra's first performance in London for 10 years. The presentation was sponsored by Alfa-Bank. Alfa-Bank, together with the Moscow Literary Fund, runs a scholarship support programme for writers, aimed at motivating authors to create new works of literature: prose, poetry, drama, translations, and books for children.[55]

The bank is also one of the co-founders of the "Big Book" National Literary Award.

Alfa-Bank periodically sponsors or participates in the organisation of concerts by foreign stars in Russia, including Bono (2010), Elton John (1995, 2001, and 2007), Aerosmith (2007), Sting (1996, 2001, and 2006), Whitney Houston (2004), and Paul McCartney (2003 and 2004). Some of the singers invited were performing in Russia for the first time.[56][57][58][59] Alfa-Bank also organises an electronic music and technology festival called Alfa Future People. Headliners have included stars of the world electronic scene such as Paul Oakenfold, Avicii, Skrillex, Pompeya, Tesla Boy, and Infected Mushroom, among others.[60][61]

In July 2014, Alfa-Bank announced the launch of the City Tours with Alfa social project. The Bank provides financial and organisational support to the country's best museums, as well as tour bureaus supporting the development of city tours in Russia.[62]

In early 2021, Alfa-Bank hired the Russian rapper Morgenshtern as a "youth director". This was preceded by the appearance of a scandalous video in which the Federal Antimonopoly Service found violations of Russian advertising law. The singer's task was to attract 100,000 young new clients. Some experts see this venture as a reputational risk.[63] After an administrative case was initiated against Morgenshtern in April 2021 for drug propaganda, Alfa-Bank disavowed previous messages and called them an "advertising stunt".[64]

Technology[edit]

  • Alfa-Bank has joined forces with MasterCard to launch the production of AlfaPay wristwatches with an integrated debit bank card, based on PayPass technology. Purchases can be made without entering a PIN code or sign. The card shows its number and CVC-code to pay for online purchases.[65]
  • Alfa-Bank has developed the Alfa-Touch app. It allows users to create a non-personalised card for one year and pay for purchases using the PayPass system.[66]
  • Contactless ATMs have operated in the bank's branches since December 2015. The installation of such ATMs was aimed primarily at improving security (preventing fraudsters from reading magnetic strip data), and also allows quicker interaction with the device.[67]
  • Alfa-Bank has cooperated with prostheses manufacturer Motorika to develop bioelectric prostheses with a special mount for a PayPass contactless payment card. This development is aimed at reducing inconveniences for people with disabilities when making purchases. To pay for a product or service, it is sufficient to place the prosthesis near the terminal and confirm the operation with a PIN code if the total exceeds 1,000 rubles. In addition, this prosthesis works with other devices equipped with contactless card readers.[68]
  • At the end of 2016, Alfa-Bank's A-Club Private Banking topped the "Best Russian Bank for Millionaires" list compiled by Forbes. It was ranked 4th among non-state Russian banks.[69]

Protection of business reputation[edit]

On 21 January 2014, Alfa-Bank and Mikhail Fridman filed a lawsuit for the protection of their business reputation against the chairman of the Yabloko Party, Sergei Mitrokhin, the editorial staff of the Izvestia newspaper and a correspondent from the newspaper. They considered that statements made by Mitrokhin and Izvestia that "Aleksei Navalny is carrying out political orders from the Alfa Group" did not correspond to reality and discredited their business reputation.[70] However, the court refused to satisfy the company's claim against Mitrokhin.[71]

Jones Day[edit]

In the United States, the Jones Day law firm represents numerous Russian entities, including Alfa-Bank and Alfa Group.[39]

Sanctions[edit]

On February 23, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the beginning of military operations in Ukraine, launching an invasion. This prompted countries to impose severe economic sanctions on Russian individuals, companies, and banks in addition to those placed on Russia in response to the 2021-2022 Russo-Ukrainian crisis. On February 24, 2022, U.S. President Joe Biden announced sanctions on several Russian banks, including Alfa-Bank; the restrictions include "dealings in new debt of greater than 14 days maturity and new equity".[72] Alfa-Bank's press service made a statement in the Russian press that these sanctions would not affect the bank's operations.[73]

In April, Apple removed the Alfa-Bank application from its App Store. Already downloaded versions continued to work.[74] In August, the “Деньги пришли” (Money Came) application appeared in the App Store, replicating the functionality of the official Alfa-Bank application, but developed by a third-party company. Other Russian banks have resorted to similar measures before, but "alternative" applications were cleared out in about a week.[75]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The NRA reported spending a record $54,398,558 to support Republicans ($17 million) and oppose Democrats ($37 million) during the 2016 United States elections with $30 million directly supporting Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign; however, FBI and other organizations' investigations including the NSA, the CIA, the DNI, the DOJ, and the Treasury Department's FinCen, which began in the spring of 2016 and later led to Crossfire Hurricane, James Clapper's, Michael Rogers's, and James Comey's January 2017 DNI findings, Mueller's special investigations and Senate Intelligence Committee investigations, revealed that the NRA spent at least $70 million or more.[36][37][38] Jones Day is the law firm that represents the NRA and also Pyotr Aven's Alfa-Bank and Mikhail Fridman's Alfa Group.[37][39]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Annual Report 2020" (PDF). Alfa-Bank. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  2. ^ "Credit Ratings - 2017". alfabank.com. 21 March 2018. Archived from the original on 21 March 2018. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  3. ^ "Fitch повысило Альфа-Банку рейтинг до "ВВВ-"" (in Russian). banki.ru. 1 April 2021.
  4. ^ "Central Bank of Russia", cbr.ru, retrieved 7 October 2021
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  6. ^ "Top-1000 World Banks by The Banker magazine". Venchur.ru. Russian Venture Investment Center. 5 July 2010. Archived from the original on 21 March 2017. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  7. ^ "Alfa Fellowship Program". Alfafellowship.org. Retrieved 19 March 2022.
  8. ^ "п÷п╬п©п╟п╡я┬п╦п╧ п©п╬п╢ я│п╟п╫п╨я├п╦п╦ п╓я─п╦п╢п╪п╟п╫ п©п╬п╨п╦п╫я┐п╩ я│п╬п╡п╣я┌ п╢п╦я─п╣п╨я┌п╬я─п╬п╡ п╨я─я┐п©п╫п╣п╧я┬п╣пЁп╬ я─п╣я┌п╣п╧п╩п╣я─п╟ п═п╬я│я│п╦п╦". Forbes.ru. Retrieved 19 March 2022.
  9. ^ "Bank's History" (in Russian). Alfa-Bank. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
  10. ^ Bank, Alfa (31 December 1998). "Alfa-Bank Annual Report 1998" (PDF). alfabank.com. Alfa-Bank. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  11. ^ https://alfabank.ru/about/awards/history/1990/[bare URL]
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  34. ^ Savage, Charlie; Goldman, Adam (30 September 2021). "Trump Server Mystery Produces Fresh Conflict". The New York Times.
  35. ^ Protesters in Kyiv Target Russian Bank And Oligarch Office on YouTube Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
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  37. ^ a b Stone, Peter; Gordon, Greg (18 January 2018). "FBI investigating whether Russian money went to NRA to help Trump". McClatchy. Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  38. ^ "National Rifle Assn". OpenSecrets. 8 April 2021. Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  39. ^ a b Unger 2018, pp. 216–7.
  40. ^ a b Leopold, Jason; Cormier, Anthony (31 July 2018). "Here Is The Money Trail From The Russian "Agent" And Her Republican Partner: Federal investigators say some of the money went to Maria Butina's campaign to help Russia infiltrate American politics". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  41. ^ "Dutch subsidiary of Russia's Alfa-Bank raided in money laundering investigation". Reuters. 12 December 2017. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  42. ^ Pieters, Janene (21 March 2017). "Dutch Banks Accused of Aiding Russian Money Laundering Scheme". NLTimes.nl. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
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  44. ^ Alfa-Bank Kazakhstan will change its name
  45. ^ Earlier, Alfa-Bank Kazakhstan was planned to be renamed into ECO BANK
  46. ^ Head of Eco Center Bank appointed
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  48. ^ "Альфа-Банк получил награду за активное участие в программе "Линия жизни"". // life-line.ru. Archived from the original on 26 July 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
  49. ^ "Программа спасения тяжелобольных детей "Линия жизни"". // alfabank.ru. Archived from the original on 17 October 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
  50. ^ "Карта Хранителя Земли". Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  51. ^ "WWF – спасение тигров". // alfabank.ru. Archived from the original on 9 October 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
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  59. ^ "Уитни Хьюстон даст два концерта в Москве". // newsru.com. 17 December 2003. Archived from the original on 25 July 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
  60. ^ "Самая большая сцена в Европе будет построена в Нижнем Новгороде для фестиваля Alfa Future People". // nn.rbc.ru. Archived from the original on 9 June 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  61. ^ ""В России мне никогда не бывает скучно"". // kommersant.ru. 23 June 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
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  63. ^ "Рэп в руководство" (in Russian). versia.ru. 19 March 2021.
  64. ^ "Альфа-банк отказался считать Моргенштерна своим сотрудником" (in Russian). RBC. 17 April 2021.
  65. ^ ""Альфа-Банк" выпустил часы со встроенной банковской картой стоимостью 5 тысяч рублей". 7 July 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  66. ^ ""Альфа-банк" создал приложение для использования смартфона вместо кошелька". 16 July 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  67. ^ "Контакт не нужен". Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  68. ^ ""Альфа-банк" представил протез с возможностью бесконтактной оплаты". 18 October 2017. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  69. ^ "А-Клуб Private Banking". Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  70. ^ Альфа-банк и Михаил Фридман предъявили Митрохину иск о защите деловой репутации Ведомости
  71. ^ Михайлова, Анастасия (26 August 2014). "Альфа-банк проиграл суд Митрохину по делу о финансировании Навального". РБК.
  72. ^ "FACT SHEET: Joined by Allies and Partners, the United States Imposes Devastating Costs on Russia". The White House. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  73. ^ "Альфа-банк сообщил об отсутствии влияния объявленных санкций на работу банка" (in Russian). TASS. 25 February 2022.
  74. ^ "Приложение Альфа-Банка удалили из App Store". banki.ru (in Russian). 15 April 2022.
  75. ^ "В App Store появился аналог приложения Альфа-Банка". banki.ru (in Russian). 23 August 2022.

External links[edit]