Founders flee from Modulbank

They sell shares and transfer to another bank of Artem Avetisyan, Vostochny.
Five year plan completed

The founders of Modularbank specializing in small business services, Oleg Laguta, Andrei Petrov and Yakov Novikov, completely withdraw from its capital and leave the bank. This was reported to Vedomosti by Petrov and Novikov, Laguta through a representative confirmed the sale of his stake.

Now they each have 7.5% of the bank’s capital, and Artyom Avetisyan (68.3%) has a controlling stake. Like Vostochny Bank, its youngest partner is Sherzod Yusupov (7.6%), another 1.57% belongs to Mikhail Sokolov. “Initially, back in 2014, we agreed with Avetisyan that we would have the opportunity to get out of business in five years,” Novikov explains. He adds that the bank's capitalization is estimated at 7 profits according to Russian financial statements for 2019, i.e., at 7–10 billion rubles. According to him, the founders invested 600 million rubles in the bank. “We signed a non-disclosure document and cannot disclose the terms of the transaction, including who will own our share. The deal will be held in December, ”Novikov said.

Four interlocutors in the financial market, including those working with small businesses, as well as Modulbank, said that the entire bank was put up for sale for at least a year, different banks considered its purchase, but now the buyer is not known. The bidders refused the deal because of the price - about $ 200 million, says the banker who studied the offer to purchase. Now, according to him, hardly anyone will buy a stake in Modulbank, given Avetisyan’s conflict with Baring Vostok over control of Vostochny Bank. Due to agreements with the founders, Avetisyan himself will buy their share (possibly through persons associated with him), his acquaintance says.

Avetisyan remains a shareholder of Modulbank, Novikov said. The representative of Finvision (Avetisyan owns Vostochny through this company) did not comment on this. He did not say who would buy back the shares of the founders.

Tinkoff for business

Natives of Sberbank Laguta, Petrov and Novikov created a digital bank for small business Modulbank in 2014, at first it worked as a unit of the Regional Credit owned by Avetisyan. In 2016, the bank changed its name to Modulbank, and Laguta, Petrov and Novikov received 7.5% each. Avetisyan liked their idea of ​​“making Tinkoff for business only,” they told Inc.

Now, according to Novikov, every 15th client from the micro and small business segment opens an account at Modulbank, and by the end of the year the bank will enter the top 30 in terms of return on equity.

The founder of Tochka Entrepreneurship Bank, Boris Dyakonov, calls Sberbank and Tinkoff its main competitors. According to him, Modulbank is serviced by smaller customers than the target audience of “Points”. He considers the presence of the founders to be critical for the business, their departure is a minus to the cost of the bank.

“In the past two years, we have been working on the formation of a completely independent team of top managers so that the company can successfully develop without the participation of the founders,” Petrov explains. This is a conscious decision - any normal founder must sooner or later leave the business and let it grow independently, he said: "Otherwise, you only start to interfere with your own company."

Modulbank earns mainly on commissions: net commission income for nine months under IFRS amounted to almost 2 billion rubles, net interest income - 438 million, net profit - 302 million. The business is heavy, says the general director of the service working with small enterprises: it has high costs it’s difficult to verify customers and shareholders bear big risks. Because of this, Modulbank closes every 10th new account, Inc. said. its founders.

Heading for the "East"

And although the founders of Modulbank leave the bank, they do not say goodbye to Avetisyan. “We have a successful project - we built Modulbank. The three of us accepted the offer of Vostochny Bank to help its plans for digital transformation, ”says Petrov. The task is to change the bank’s business model with emphasis on customer service via remote channels, update the outdated Vostochny IT infrastructure, and form a strong team, he lists. According to him, the founders of Modulbank have a one-year contract, they will provide changes in the IT direction and the “small business” business line.

“The founders of Modulbank are moving to Vostochny to develop SME business,” the representative of Finvizhn confirmed. “The unique experience of colleagues who from scratch created a successful digital bank for entrepreneurs will help the bank become one of the market leaders in the online servicing of SMEs and retail.”