Ilya Filatov: Biography of a Banker and a Top Executive

By  //  March 15, 2023

Born on June 10, 1976 in the city of Klin, the future executive has been heavily engaged in sports since his childhood.

Aged 14, he met the requirements to become a Candidate Master of Sports in swimming. After finishing school, he enrolled in State Academy of Water Transport as he wanted to devote his life to the sea since his early years.

Ilya Filatov, however, says that by his second year he came to realize that water transport industry was in decline and had no future. At the time, the economic paradigm was shifting as the large country broke up into several separate states, with many ports becoming parts of foreign territory; national maritime shipping industry plunged into a deep crisis. Confronted with this reality, Filatov Ilya moved to another faculty to become an economist. Having graduated in 1998, later he completed additional training, becoming Master of Business Administration.

Filatov Ilya. Path to big business

Ilya Filatov’s career kicked off as early as during his university years. At the time, he went on an internship in a banking organization. In 1996, Ilya Filatov was appointed as leading economist at OJSC Commercial Bank for Promoting the Development of Advanced Technologies and Investments in Electricity, Biotechnology, and Medicine, known as ELBIM BANK. This financial organization emerged as an active player on the nation’s emerging market of bank cheques and cards. 

In 1999, Filatov Ilya Valentinovich moved to AKB Center bank. For several months, he worked as a first-line specialist in one of the foreign currency departments. 

Ilya Valentinovich Filatov changed jobs twice that year. After working for AKB, he moved to Commercial Bank Platina where he was granted a promotion and put in charge of the plastic card department. At the time, Platina was a national leader in Internet banking. The bank allowed its clients to manage their accounts online as early as in late 1990s, also providing an opportunity to order plastic cards on the Internet. That being said, the organization rose to prominence in large part due to CyberPlat electronic payment system, one of the nation’s first. The system provided a wide array of financial services, ranging from microtransactions wired by individuals to interbank payments.

In 2004, Filatov became the head of the bank card department at MKB. At the time, MKB ranked among the nation’s largest private public banks. In addition to this, the entity enjoyed leading market positions when it came to cash-in-transit services in the capital region. 

Ilya Valentinovich Filatov. Banking

In 2005, the career of a young financial expert received a new impetus. Filatov Ilya Valentinovich was appointed to a key position in Autobank Nikoil, which later merged with Uralsib bank. Uralsib became an umbrella brand for a dozen of regional banks in a move which was widely regarded as an unprecedented development in the market. The merger empowered the entity to become one of the country’s largest financial institutions.

As the company rose to market prominence, Filatov Ilya took up a position of a board deputy chairman which came with a large scope of authority. In this capacity, he oversaw banking business and IT department activities. Filatov significantly contributed to expanding the organization’s product line and boosting its credit portfolio. In this vein, several client categories could now enjoy premium service which catered to their specific needs. Providing services for small business, including opening up credit lines to start-ups, was identified as a top priority. Filatov Ilya Valentinovich contributed to major expansion of sales channels for banking products. For instance, developer representatives and real estate agents got actively involved in issuing mortgages.

Ilya Valentinovich Filatov put extra emphasis on improving bank card products.  Under his leadership, several plastic card product lines were introduced, including those created in cooperation with air lines, oil companies, business media outlets, etc. The expert oversaw the development and roll-out of cards with contactless technology. The project hinged on an extensive range of solutions, including distribution of chip cards, provision of acquiring services, and a terminal framework supporting new technologies. Basically, it was a new ecosystem tailored for contactless payment cards, which subsequently found its uses in social projects. 

Ilya Filatov. Fin tech development

In 2014, the financial expert received an offer to take part in a project with enormous potential and ambitious goals. Ilya Valentinovich Filatov joined a financial structure of one of the largest IT companies, becoming first Board Deputy Chairman. He was entrusted with several tasks, including expense trimming and asset quality assessment. A year later, Filatov Ilya took the helm of the financial organization, with the move being unilaterally supported by the telecoms giant’s Board of Directors.

Ilya Filatov contributed to working out a development strategy for his financial organization, which put heavy emphasis on promoting credit cards and expanding client base by tapping into potential offered by those customers who were already using telecoms and other services provided by the IT company. His bet paid off. Under Filatov’s leadership, the customer base skyrocketed to one million people, with retail lending also increasing multifold.  Filatov Ilya says that while in 2015 the volume of consumer loans amounted to 3.3 billion rubles ($41 million), a year later it exceeded 10 billion rubles ($123 million). At the same time, loss rate was decreased several-fold: while in 2014 it was 11.3%, in 2014, it plunged to 3.6%.

Ilya Filatov champions the use of modern tech-savvy solutions in banking. The volume and quality of credits could be significantly boosted by Big Data analytics in scoring. Apart from this, digital transformation enables the client to carry out all the necessary operations without having to visit the bank branch in person. 

The company headed by Ilya Valentinovich Filatov has on numerous occasions showcased ground-breaking fin tech solutions. For instance, it runs the financial service affiliated with the web-portal of the capital administration. Users may use their accounts to settle nursery school bills, pay for additional education, utility services, fines, etc. In 2018 alone, more than 14 billion rubles ($172 million) were funneled via this service. The IT company invited other regions to implement a similar solution, which would involve setting up a standardized digital platform for ‘digital’ cities. Far Eastern regions expressed especially strong interest in this proposal.

Ilya Filatov is developing his organization as one of key elements of the corporate ecosystem. Moreover, fin tech emerged as an important revenue driver for the entire IT company. Digitalization and retail business focus allow to leverage the ecosystem’s strong suits and boost lending and other financial services.  Filatov Ilya Valentinovich claims that more than 50% of the total sales volume is generated via digital channels.  The entity achieved a remarkable growth rate and became one of the leaders in the banking market on a number of fronts, including retail lending as a whole and POS-financing in particular. At the end of 2022, the company’s revenue increased by 38%, exceeding 67 billion rubles ($825 million), with the client base reaching 3.5 million people.

Filatov Ilya Valentinovich. Investments

The top executive pays particular attention to high-impact business areas related to digital technologies and the financial sector. Prior to 2021, Filatov Ilya sat on director boards in Cloud Retail LLC and Cloud Retail Plus LLC, which enjoyed leading positions in the market of mobile and stationary online cash registers, as well as solutions in the commerce, service and delivery industries. Both organizations’ combined client base exceeded 50,000 entrepreneurs and private individuals.

Ilya Filatov, who spent a significant part of his career boosting financial institutions, is also a venture investment expert. He oversees a team of developers involved in creating and modernizing mobile apps, POS-financing system, CRM platform, online services facilitating general-purpose loans, etc.  All those systems are being improved with the help of machine learning models, DevOps technologies and other state-of-the-art tools which allow for creation of highly competitive products.

Advances in banking digitalization can be exemplified by Smartbank app, which was first unveiled in late 2020. The app allowed its customers to manage their personal finances regardless of what bank they used. In 2021, the project received the third prize in FINAWARD rating.

With Filatov Ilya Valentinovich as one of its top executives, the IT company makes investments in fin tech projects conceived by outside teams. In this vein, in 2021, it bought out 51% of Factorin LLC equity capital, purchasing a share in a company which had created one of leading factoring and dynamic discounting blockchain platforms. This system incorporates major retail chains, mobile shops, banks, as well as various supplying companies.

The IT company’s venture investments are handled by a designated fund, which either pours money into forward-looking projects on its own, or selects potential partners who are ready to invest. Priority is given to start-ups that can potentially seamlessly blend into the corporate ecosystem. Ilya Valentinovich Filatov believes that financial services have already secured a prominent place in the market. That’s why the projects should be built not on the existing products, but rather proceed based on the customer’s needs. The client should be provided with comprehensive offers that may include various ecosystem products, for example, a consumer loan, a bank card, telecoms overdraft, etc.

The corporate venture fund invested in such projects as an educational platform; a fin tech system and a messenger-based bank without any branches, mobile apps or call centers; an online food and beverages delivery service; creation of big data retail solutions for HoReCa, tourism, real estate, production and finance sectors.

The quest for forward-looking projects never stops despite a complicated geopolitical landscape and market uncertainty. In this vein, the fund intends to invest in start-ups up to 1 billion rubles ($12 million) in 2023. The priority will go to projects with a viable business models and validated customer demand.