Center-invest Bank

Location Russia
Impact story

Mission: “Sustainable Bank for southern Russia!”

Center-invest Bank is the leading regional private bank in southern Russia and the second-largest provider of financial services in the home market with 26 years history focusing on the local SMEs and retail customers. During its successful history, Center-invest Bank has established an ecosystem comprising its shareholders, employees, customers and partners. The ecosystem works together to implement its programmes for sustainable, innovative and responsible development. The bank’s many years of experience in localising best international practice have culminated in its implementation of a sustainable banking business model. The sustainable banking business model has delivered sustainable, organic growth for Bank’s ecosystem. The Bank is committed to using this business model, together with southern Russia’s competitive advantages and best international practice, to help raise business competitiveness and the standard of living in southern Russia to the level of developed countries.

Center-invest Bank’s guiding principles are: social and environmental responsibility, operational efficiency, best-practice risk management, long-term profitability and organic growth.


Center-invest Bank was founded in 1992 by southern Russia’s first privatised enterprises and a team of university professors. The bank rapidly became something of a “laboratory” for the region, providing solutions to the problems of reform in Russia, introducing best international practice, and promoting southern Russia internationally. In 1993 Center-invest Bank produced Russia’s first corporate governance handbook. In 2002, together with IFC, the Bank developed a comprehensive set of policies and internal regulations to ensure the transparency and effectiveness of its operations and to protect the interests of its shareholders, employees and customers. International financial institutions EBRD and DEG became Bank’s shareholders in 2004 and 2005, respectively. Later, in 2008, Erste Group Bank AG became the shareholder. In 2017, two investment vehicles managed by Switzerland-based responsAbility Investments have purchased a 10% stake of  Center-invest Bank. ResponsAbility Investments is one of the world’s leading asset managers in the field of development investments, with a strong focus on sustainable development of small business and financial inclusion in developing economies on the basis of innovations and principles of environmental and socially responsible management. The bank’s successful work contributed to southern Russia’s dynamic economic growth and the region’s increased role in the Russian economy as a whole.


The governance of Center-invest Bank complies with Russian civil law and the recommendations of international organizations. The bank’s highest governing body is the General Meeting of Shareholders, which elects the Board of Directors (seven people, including two independent directors). It also approves the composition of the Executive Board (five people) and the single-person executive body, which is the Chairman of the Executive Board. There are two independent directors on the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors has the following committees: Strategic Planning Committee, Audit and Compliance Committee, and Appointments and Remunerations Committee. The Executive Board and its Chairman are answerable to the Board of Directors. The Bank doesn’t use headhunting as part of its personnel policy. Instead, it creates a pool of future employees by attracting students from local universities for work experience and training.

Management Board:

Sergey Smirnov – Chairman of the Management Board, Ph.D (Economics)

Lidia Simonova – Deputy Chairman of the Management Board

Yuriy Bogdanov – Member of the Management Board, Director of Innovations

Sergey Yukilevich – Member of the Management Board, Head of Branch network

Irina Kuznetsova – Member of the Management Board, Head of Credit Risk Monitoring Department

Market focus, products, services

Center-invest Bank offers to business customers an extensive range of products and services based on best international practice to support their operations and facilitate their development and growth. Promoting entrepreneurship in southern Russia is a priority for Center-invest Bank. Over the years, we have acquired extensive experience of working with this sector and we are now recognised as one of the best Russian banks for SME customers. Center-invest Bank runs special programmes for SMEs, women in business, and agribusiness.  The “Start-up” Programme helps new entrepreneurs to get their businesses off the ground. As a financial partner of the Youth Business Russia programme, run by the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF), we offer young entrepreneurs unsecured loans on attractive terms. Bank offers loans on preferential terms for businesswomen in southern Russia. Agriculture is southern Russia’s primary economic sector. Center-invest Bank has a long and successful history of working with agribusiness, and we have significant competitive advantages in this sector. We were the first bank to develop expertise in using agricultural land as collateral; we are in close proximity to our customers thanks to our extensive branch network; and we support new technologies in agriculture. We lend to agribusiness by rationally combining seasonal credit with long-term finance for the introduction of new technologies and equipment into agricultural production and value chains. In 2005 Center-invest Bank became the first bank in Russia to finance energy efficiency projects. Today, we have the largest energy efficiency loan portfolio of all Russian banks. Center-invest Bank finances projects to introduce energy efficient technologies in the industry, agriculture, the service sector, the public sector, the housing and communal services sector, and the private residential sector. Center-invest Bank embraces technological innovations to offer its retail customers modern, highly affordable products and services designed with convenience and simplicity in mind. To help the local population to improve their standard of living, we also offer consumer loans, mortgage loans and car loans.

Benefits of being part of the GABV

Center-invest Bank believes that participation in GABV will give access to the best world practice of conducting ESG banking, implementing transparent procedures for smart growth of ethical business. It will help to exchange experience in lending to the real economy, implementing social and educational projects in order to increase financial literacy of population and entrepreneurs. We are interested in GABV’s experience in solving ecological problems supporting energy efficiency projects. We do hope that the mutual work can lead to the best result. We would like to participate in GABV’s events for having an opportunity to meet people from other banks with whom we have similar ideas on banking development, be informed about last trends of ESG business. We are going to continue promoting ESG business model in Russia among our customers, partners, local communities and authorities, while also strengthen our business performance and performance of the region as well.