The war continues in Ukraine every day, but in addition to the military front, we must also hold on to the economic front, supporting business. This is important because it is the entrepreneurs who fill the state and local budgets, and it is entrepreneurs who are the main donors of the volunteers who in turn provide the Ukrainian Armed Forces with scarce resources.
What is the state of the banking system, its most advanced part – fintech and neobanks, whether convenient and popular services among Ukrainians manage to survive in the new unfavorable conditions are among the information we found out from the co-owner of sportbank, one of the leading Ukrainian neobanks, Nykyta Izmaylov. In short, the best representatives of fintech have overcome the challenge, maintained stability and are actively helping the Armed Forces by supporting and implementing modern technologies for training the military.
Nykyta Izmaylov is confident that the Ukrainian banking system has passed the stress test. Yes, there will be banks that will lose assets in the occupied territories and will not be able to cope with the challenges, but this is a small group, and their situation will not affect the general course of affairs. In general, the stability of the system has been preserved. Taking into account the fact that some of the territories are occupied, that half of the enterprises do not work or have been destroyed, the level of devaluation of the hryvnia and inflation are insignificant against the expectations and apocalyptic forecasts. The ability to keep these key indicators within reasonable limits is evidence of the professionalism and coherence of the actions of the authorities, in particular, the NBU, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Defense.
As for neobanks such as sportbank, despite the storm experienced in the first month of the war, they were able to survive and even attract new customers. And they managed to do that thanks to their technological advantages, namely, an advanced treasury that can quickly adapt to new market conditions, as well as fast and convenient remote onboarding and verification through Diya for individual clients. This, according to Nykyta Izmaylov, allowed sportbank not only to maintain the existing customer base, but also to start expanding it.Izmaylov explains this growth in the client base by the fact that banks that relied on physical branches during the war often could not quickly meet the needs of clients.
Nykyta Izmaylov calls loyalty to the client in force majeure circumstances another factor that helped maintain the client base. For example, sportbank has extended the credit holiday until May for the "Instalment" product. The bank introduced the postponement of mandatory monthly payments for March and April to May.
However, maintaining business and customer loyalty is enough for an entrepreneur, but not enough for a citizen, believes Nykyta Izmaylov. According to the banker, volunteering has become a regular job for every member of the sportbank team. Today, there is not a person in the staff of the financial institution who does not volunteer or help the Armed Forces with donations.
Since the beginning of the full-scale war, sportbank has also been contributing to our victory working systematically as a financial institution. The bank's mobile application has the function of transferring funds to support the Army of Ukraine. As of April 1, there have been more than 1,500 transfers to the in the special fundraising account NBU opened to support the Armed Forces; in particular, more than UAH 820,000 was transferred. In turn, Nykyta Izmaylov and other shareholders have already transferred UAH 2 million for the needs of the army, and half of this amount has already been used by the U-Hero charity fund to purchase thermal imaging cameras that are already saving the lives of our defenders.
Currently, Nykyta Izmaylov and spotrbank are planning to support an ambitious project of laser shooting ranges for the training of the armed forces. The army and, in particular, the Territorial Defense, requires a large number of trained fighters. The more practice a warrior has, the more effective they are on the battlefield. Now Russia is shelling and bombing training grounds, and the amount of ammunition for training is limited. At the same time, in interactive shooting ranges, the military will be able to develop or improve skills in handling various weapons. The software allows for a fairly realistic simulation of weather conditions and various situations on the battlefield.
Such a project will be launched in the near future with the support of Nykyta Izmaylov and sportbank. According to Izmaylov, such modern high-tech projects will save money on the purchase of cartridges and the time needed for training, and in general, it is a new qualitative approach to training. On the part of the Armed Forces, there is a high interest in the use of laser complexes, and they consider them an effective solution for the training of defenders, Nykyta Izmaylov noted. The banker is confident that the U-Hero initiative will be supported by other benefactors.
Nykyta Izmaylov noted that the stable operation of business and new investments, in particular, in Ukrainian fintech, are extremely important and symbolic for the country today. The sportbank shareholder noted that today, there are a number of promising projects in Ukraine that, given the situation, can only be supported by Ukrainian investors. The launch of new innovative projects will be not only a contribution to the national economy, but also another manifestation of the indomitable Ukrainian spirit, believes Nykyta Izmaylov.