One of the largest regional banks, Ekaterinburg’s SKB-Bank intends to attach rehabilitated Gazenergobank. When this combined network will be reduced by 35%, while the Bank will focus on digital transformation. According to experts, the path is logical, especially taking into account today’s realities.That SKB-Bank intends to change the strategy to move towards digitalization and with a significant reduction of branch network, told “Kommersant” sources in the Bank. In plans of the branch network optimisation SKB-Bank (according to the Bank, 132 dots of different sizes) and of rehabilitated in 2015 Gazenergobank (51 point). In the near future the network will be reduced by 35%.In SKB-Bank have confirmed this information. “The offices will be converted into a format “easy universal office”, whose main task will be advising clients and connect to remote services,— explained the Chairman of Board of SKB-Bank Denis Repnikov.— By optimizing network costs will be reduced to 50% per year”. Will be closed unprofitable points in the cities with population up to 40-50 thousand, said there: “Now when all sit at home, the need for such points has completely disappeared.”SKB-Bank (the Sverdlovsk region) occupies 68th place in terms of assets (89,9 bn), according to the ranking of “Interfax” on the end of 2019. It sanitizes Gazenergobank (Kaluga region) in the autumn of 2015. Gazenergobank is a 105-th place by assets (41,37 bn). Both banks last year profitable.The decision to reduce network and digital transformation experts call natural. “For many, the isolation regime became a killer business, but there are those who are current realities prompted the development,— says head of investment strategies “BCS Broker” Viktor bondarovich.— To serve the customer in the office is becoming more expensive, and trustworthiness of digital solutions can solve most banking tasks from home.” “When you combine the banks into one structure, usually the optimization, and in this case, the pandemic was a catalyst in making decisions on the accelerated restructuring of business,— the analyst of GK ALOR Alexei Antonov.— With optimal care in the digital banking group began to invest in high-tech development, and, accordingly, to cut the costs of unprofitable offices maximum”.According to Viktor Bondarovich, the main impediment in merger of two banks could be the reconciliation of internal accounting systems and software. “The problem is truly trivial, directly, the client will not see this problem, but can feel the deterioration of the quality of the service,” he concludes.Earlier, similar steps have already been taken by larger players in the banking sector, such as VTB-VTB24 in conjunction with a rehabilitated Bank Moscow�� or, for example, “Discovery”, Binbank, said Alexei Antonov. However, in the case of SKB-Bank is still a significant difference. The Bank rebuilds in the period of the pandemic, and it affects the welfare of citizens, and the Bank has not eliminated difficulties in the interaction with clients, now the citizens will choose the optimal conditions, so you need to develop a working business strategy, concludes Mr. Antonov. “Any attempt to adapt to changing realities and to reduce costs are appropriate and logical decision”,— says CEO of investment company Bengala Investment Alexey Buyanov. Perhaps we should even more actively to reduce offices and cut costs by refusing expensive and inefficient rent, concludes the head of the Luxembourg office of the consulting group KRK Group Nikita Ryabinin.Ksenia Dementieva, Svetlana Samuseva