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National Bank has decided to ‘turn back the clock’

National Bank of Belarus confident that country’s banking system has longer history than it was previously believed, asserts Deputy Chairman Sergey Dubkov

By Alexander Nenashev

Until recently, it was believed that the country’s national banking system was established on January 3rd, 1922, when the Belarusian Office of the State Bank, established by the Council of the People’s Commissars of the BSSR, began to operate in Minsk. However, the National Bank now believes that January 8th, 1870 may mark the foundation of the state’s first bank, in Gomel. “Technologies and currencies change and new countries appear, yet the strategic functions of banks remain.

Analysis of 150 year old documents shows that they haven’t altered at all — still offering loans, and attracting savings and payments,” explains Mr. Dubkov.

The new foundation date may be used by the National Bank during its bold rebranding strategy. “We’re only just initiating this. The company which won the tender to rebrand us has already presented its colour scheme, alongside various logo ideas, and we’ve begun using these on some of our internal stationery — such as folders and notebooks,” notes the Deputy Chairman of the country’s major financial institution.

He notes that the National Bank’s logo was officially registered over a decade ago, so any changes won’t be too drastic. The logo is most prominently seen on Belarusian banknotes, so the new image will eventually find its way to future notes. In the first three months of 2012, a new banknote — worth Br200,000 — is to come into circulation.

Mr. Dubkov emphasises that image strategy is vital across the whole financial system, since it generates trust. He adds that the public have been raising their volume of savings in Belarusian Roubles and in foreign currency in recent months — both in relative and absolute value. This is happening not at the expense of the capitalisation of interests but through a natural inflow of money.

“The major task of the National Bank and other banks is to preserve and reinforce this trend,” asserts Mr. Dubkov. “Recently, interest rates on Belarusian Roubles have been very profitable; it is the National Bank’s response to events on the domestic market and worldwide.”

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