Tinkoff Bank CEO Oliver Hughes says “this is a brilliant time,” as the Russian online banking platform reports robust profit in Q1.

TCS Group—Russia’s leading provider of online financial and lifestyle services via its Tinkoff ecosystem—reported a net income of 9.0 bn roubles (£104m), an increase of 26% from Q1 2019.

As a branchless, online operator, the group was able to continue offering services to customers, undisturbed by the covid-related problems in the face-to-face world.

The company is leveraging its ability to innovate and adapt quickly, and it sees opportunities in the current challenging situation. This environment is “good news for the company,” Hughes says.

A good time for the company

“People are spending more time in their homes, more time on their apps. They have more access to online services. They have more time to use the apps and are also showing more interest. So, we’re able to sell more services to them.”

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By GlobalData

Tinkoff Bank recently launched a popular service called Surviving Quarantine. It allows customers to benefit from discounts on popular digital services and subscriptions, such as film streaming, home fitness, audio books and online courses.

The company has around 11 million customers. “We actually booked a million new customers in the first few months of the year,” Hughes says. “Moreover, the number of accounts we’re booking is accelerating.”

Tinkoff Bank bills itself as the world’s largest independent digital bank by customer base. “In Russia, we’re now number one in terms of active accounts in Russia,” Hughes says.

“Some road bumps ahead”

The company reduced its net income by almost 6bn roubles (£67m) by setting aside provisions. “We did this to be extra prudent, because we see some bumps on the road ahead. Those bumps are related to uncertainties as to what happens once lockdowns are lifted.”

The bank is also taking a more cautious approach to consumer lending at the moment. “We’re waiting to see how things are going to pan out.”

However, the transactional business “is actually on fire,” Hughes says. “We have booked 600,000 new brokerage accounts since the beginning of the year.”

It’s a mixed picture, the chief executive says. However, “in terms of opportunity to grow for an online company that has the right model and the right distribution, this is a brilliant time”.