Leaders of the Russian Federation and Cyprus visit Russian Commercial Bank branch

07 October 2010

Leaders of the Russian Federation and Cyprus visit Russian Commercial Bank branch

NICOSIA, October 7 - RIA Novosti. Last Thursday, the presidents of Russia and Cyprus, Dmitry Medvedev and Demetris Christofias, were the first to visit a branch of the Russian Commercial Bank (RCB), a subsidiary of the Russian bank VTB. According to RCB Director General Cyril Zimarin, the Nicosia branch is the first retail outlet of a Russian bank to open in an EU country, representing the third largest bank in Cyprus and the top foreign subsidiary in the VTB Group with total assets of 8 billion euro. “We believe that the opening of the RCB branch will enable the bank to attract hundreds of millions of dollars for investment in Russia," said Zimarin.

He took the presidents on a brief tour of the offices showing them the services offered by the bank. For instance, any customer can singlehandedly conduct any transaction from his/her account using the iPads available at the branch. Modern technology enables customers to transfer money from their personal iPhones. "We want banking services to be visual, it is much easier," said Zimarin.

Medvedev asked if the average customer would be able to manage the technologies. "Everything here is made as clear as possible and accessible to most people", the RCB Director General assured him. The Russian President had a go on an iPad to see if the system worked. The President of Cyprus, however, alleging technical illiteracy, opted to find out about the bank’s services from the bank’s employees. Christofias needed no interpreting as he is fluent in Russian.

"If the President of Cyprus speaks Russian, the head of the bank should speak Greek like his mother tongue," declared Medvedev. He then proceeded to test the linguistic ability of the RCB staff, asking them to "say something in Greek."

One of the officers of the bank welcomed the presidents in Greek. Zimarin promised to follow the head of state’s instructions and learn Greek in the near future. All of his staff (12 employees) are fluent in Russian, Greek and English.

"We want to offer customers services they are used to and in their own languages," said Zimarin.

He told the visitors that the RCB is the only bank in Cyprus with a full banking licence and that it is also covered by the Cypriot deposit insurance scheme so that customers have assurance by Cypriot law, as well as from VTB. Zimarin mentioned that the RCB provides a full range of banking services.

Before they left, Medvedev and Christofias were presented with gold credit cards as mementos of opening the RCB branch in Nicosia. "There is no money on them but they look great. If one day we are short of cash to settle a bill we can simply flash these," joked Medvedev.

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