Ms. Hagmann has been appointed member of the Supervisory Board of AccessBank Azerbaijan in December 2019.
-Many years ago, government of Azerbaijan decided to go towards diversification and develop non-oil sector of economy. Particularly, government paid attention to the development of small and medium entrepreneurships in the country. How do you see the role of AccessBank, which serves the SME sector?
The main source of economic growth in Azerbaijan still is the oil and gas sector. Although the government has already focused on diversifying its economy in the recent years, the pandemic in combination with the oil price crash showed how fragile the economy still is.
Coming from a country like Austria, where the micro- and SMEs are the driving force of the economy, I know about the benefits that especially the small enterprises can bring to an economy. They contribute to employment creation, income generation and in the end they can alleviate poverty. And they help to make the economy more resilient in crises situations. But certainly they are also not immune to a pandemic like COVID-19 – nobody is.
The banking sector plays a crucial role to support the development of a healthy and stable MSME sector by providing the companies with specialized financial products. And that’s where I also see AccessBank’s role. AccessBank has a vast knowledge and a longstanding experience in serving small enterprises that need tailor made services and financial support.
I have known AccessBank already for about 10 years, starting when I was Member of the Board of the Development Bank of Austria. After stepping down from this position in 2017 I was invited to join the Supervisory Board of AccessBank, which I did with great pleasure. I appreciate the expertise of the people who work for the Bank and the important services they provide to small enterprises. I am sure that this expertise is equally important for the employees, customers and investors.
I am convinced that AccessBank will make it through the crises well and will continue to play an important role in the current situation and will strengthen its position as the most reliable partner for the MSMEs in Azerbaijan.
-How do you see your next years in a position of member of Supervisory Board of AccessBank?
Banking business is people’s business. That’s why it is most important for me to get known well to the people who work in the bank, support them with my knowledge but also learn from them.
I have set up the Development Bank of Austria and managed it for 10 years. During this period, we have provided financing for a lot of banks specializing in MSME financing all over the world. As we started the business in 2008, when the big financial crises emerged, I can also contribute by sharing crises management experience. At the moment I am member of different Boards of MSME Funds which also gives me a good overview on the MSME sector globally.
I am very proud that currently I am the only woman on AccessBank’s Supervisory Board. This strengthens the balanced gender diversification the bank already has with excellent women in key management positions. It is my strong belief, that we need a good mixture of different opinions, capacities, experience and gender to be resilient. And in times of crises this diversification is even more important to be able to weather the storms.
-AccessBank is the only bank in Azerbaijan, which has Social and Environmental Responsibility among its core values. How do you see the role of the bank in promoting responsible financing and green economy?
Responsible finance and green economy are important elements of a sustainable financing sector.
For AccessBank responsible financing is part of its business. A good and trustful cooperation between banks and customers includes being transparent and clear on terms and conditions.
This is the basis of a stable and long lasting partnership. Today AccessBank is seen as a reliable partner which is crucial in crises times like now.
We have also seen in the last years how fragile the global environmental situation is. Working for a green economy and supporting environmental improvement is already at the core of AccessBank. I am looking forward to support the bank with enthusiasm in its mission to be a front runner in promoting a green economy in Azerbaijan.