by Gayane Isahakyan
Under the Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has provided ArmSwissBank CJSC with a status of a confirming bank. The status enables ArmSwissBank to confirm the letters of credit and guarantees of foreign issuing banks. Gevorg Machanyan, Chairman of the Management Board, Executive Director at ArmSwissBank CJSC, and Mark Davis, Head of the EBRD's Yerevan Resident Office, signed the relevant agreement on July 7 in Yerevan.
Gevorg Machanyan said that due to the new status, ArmSwissBank will enhance the affordability of trade finance instruments for the exporters. "The signing of the given document demonstrates the EBRD's high confidence in ArmSwissBank, which has been formed as a result of the 4-year cooperation", he said. Machanyan added that since the launch of cooperation under the Trade Facilitation Programme, the EBRD's line of credit opened for the Bank has been tripled from $3 mln to $9 mln. "The status of an advising bank is the logical continuation of the Trade Facilitation Programme Academic Excellence Award presented to ArmSwissBank", he said.
Mark Davis, in turn, said that by taking the decision to assign the status of an advising bank to ArmSwissBank, the EBRD has actually entrusted it with risk management functions. The document implies deepening of further cooperation, he said. Davis also pointed out that at the moment the EBRD is cooperating with ArmSwissBank under trade facilitation and SME finance programmes, but ArmSwissBank will shortly become a participant in the energy efficiency development programme as well.
ArmSwissBank has been cooperating with the EBRD since 2010 and is considered to be one of the EBRD's most active partners in the banking sector of Armenia.
To recall, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) presented a Trade Facilitation Programme Academic Excellence Award in cooperation with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to ArmSwissBank CJSC in recognition of the outstanding academic achievements in the Trade Finance e-Learning Programme in 2013. The award ceremony took place at the EBRD's annual general meeting in Warsaw, Poland, on 14-16 May 2014.
To note, ArmSwissBank CJSC was founded on 7 October 2004. The founder and CEO of "Franck Muller Watchland" Company, Vardan Sirmakes is the owner of 11670 (80 %) ordinary shares of "ARMSWISSBANK" CJSC. 2918 (20%) ordinary shares of the Bank belong to "Belegingsmachepij Jongo" LLC.
The Bank specializes in corporate banking, investment banking and private banking. As of 1 July 2014, the assets of ArmSwissBank amounted to 72.3 bln AMD (24% year-over- year growth). The Bank's authorized capital increased by 44% to 10.1 bln AMD, and the total capital rose by 56% to 21 bln AMD. Over the same period, the Bank's loan book grew by 11% to 30.1 bln AMD, and the portfolio of securities increased by 70% to 32.3 bln AMD. In the first half of 2014, the Bank's profit totaled 1.2 bln AMD (67% year- over-year growth). The Bank's ROA made up 3.38% versus 3.18% in the first half of 2013, and ROE made up 13.61% versus 13.84% in the first half of 2013.