The Bank’s history of 165 years is closely related to the economic and social development of the country. Numerous political and economic shifts affected the Bank but its role as the major provider of funds to the national economy through channelling deposits and its main mission of providing banking services for all layers of the population have always remained unchanged. Public recognition gained by Sberbank through tradition of being the bank for the people, helped in establishing mutually advantageous relations between the Bank and its customers.
Sberbank remains the largest bank in Russia and Central and Eastern Europe in terms of Tier I capital and assets. The bank’s total assets — RUB 2,513,1 billion — exceed the combined assets of the next 10 largest Russian banks. Sberbank is the leading universal commercial bank in Russia and continues to provide a full range of banking services. Sberbank’s customer base far exceeds that of any other bank in Russia. At the beginning of 2006, the Bank had over 6,5 million retail customers and over 1,4 million corporate clients. The Bank operated 269,3 million accounts for individuals, an average of 1,9 accounts per person in Russia. Thus, clients throughout Russia can benefit from the Bank’s quality products and superior services.
2005 saw significant growth in the bank’s share price. Over the year, Sberbank’s ordinary shares were up 2,6 times, while preference shares increased 4,3 times — well ahead of the RTS index which increased by only 1,8 times during the same period. Sberbank was the second best performing stock in the RTS index after Gazprom.
In 2005 Sberbank received a long-term BBB and a short-term F3 rating from Fitch Ratings. The bank’s programme to issue loan participation notes, which began in 2006, was also given a BBB rating by Fitch. In 2005 Sberbank was the first Russian issuer to get Moody’s A2 rating for its unsecured bonds. In December 2005, Moody’s Interfax Rating Agency gave Sberbank an overall rating of AAA.ru. By the end of 2005, Sberbank’s foreign currency debt rating from Moody’s was the highest among Russian banks, and was three points higher than that of the Russian Federation.
In addition, Sberbank became the first Russian bank to be included in the first hundred of the «Top 1000» world banks ratings produced by the highly respected English magazine «The Banker». Sberbank was 82 in 2005, having ranked 138 the previous year.
The Central Bank of the Russian Federation (CBR) is the majority shareholder (over 60%) with the rest of the shares dispersed among portfolio, private and other investors with the estimated shareholding of about 20% by foreigners. Sberbank shares are the only bank stock quoted and freely traded at major Russian stock exchanges as «blue chips».
The Bank continues to enhance and improve all aspects of customer service. For example, automated self-service zones are now in many branches, enabling customers to carry out quickly and easily routine operations such as deposits and withdrawals. This allows Sberbank’s staff to provide assistance to clients with more complex banking needs. Such improvements have resulted in increased business for the Bank in many areas — for example, the retail lending business continues to show dynamic growth, with RUB 467,8 billion in loans as at the end of 2005, a 76% increase from 2004. Retail lending remains a top priority for the Bank, representing a stable income flow and contributor to profits. Sberbank also demonstrates substantial growth in corporate lending.
At the beginning of 2006, the Bank maintained correspondent relations with 224 banks around the world and with its vast proprietary settlement system provides for payments throughout Russia. The powerful IT systems insure fault free operations domestically and abroad.