Banking In Russia
The banking system in Russia has changed significantly since the Soviet-era, during which time the country had only a few large banks. Since then, banking in Russia has gone through several reforms, 2 economic crises, and US and EU-backed economic sanctions. Today, Russia has approximately 1,183 financial organizations and 3,286 regional branches. This article takes a closer look at the top 3 largest banks in Russia, according to net assets.
Sberbank of Russia is the largest bank in the country with just over $434 billion in net assets as of 2014. It is owned by the government and has its headquarters in Moscow. Sberbank was founded in 1841 as part of a financial reform that created a new system of state-owned savings banks. By the end of the 1980s, it had around 80,000 branches. In 2011, Sberbank acquired the Volksbank International AG of the following countries: Hungary, Croatia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Serbia, Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Slovenia. This bank went on to acquire DenizBank of Turkey in 2012. Sberbank lost significant market value in 2014 after the US and the EU imposed economic sanctions against Russia for its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. Although investors removed $20 billion from the bank, it still managed to achieve an 89% share growth in 2015. Today, this bank operates in 22 countries around the world in around 16,500 offices with more than 250,000 employees.
The second largest bank in Russia is VTB Bank, which as of 2013 had a net asset value of $89.56 billion. This bank makes up part of VTB Group, a large financial group that operates throughout Russia, Asia, Europe, Africa, and the US. This bank was founded in 1990 as Russia’s Foreign Trade Bank in order to facilitate Russia’s involvement in the international market. In 1997, it became a public bank, although 96.8% was still owned by the government. From 2002 to 2012, this bank acquired 12 different financial institutions. VTB Bank is known to provide charity to a number of organizations in sports, healthcare, culture, and social outreach. It sponsors the “World Without Tears” children’s health program and sits on the Board of Trustees for the Bolshoi Theater. Today, VTB Bank employees approximately 91,236 individuals.
Gazprombank is the third largest bank in Russia with around $60.28 billion in net assets as of 2013. It provides services in the following areas: investment banking, retail banking, deposit services, and corporate banking. This bank was founded in 1990 and has its headquarters in Moscow. Additionally, Gazprombank has some ownership in other financial institutions, including Belgazprombank of Belarus and Gazprombank Ltd. of Switzerland. It has operating offices in India, China, and Mongolia; within Russia, this bank has 43 branches, more than 260 banking locations, and around 12,700 employees. After the US-imposed economic sanctions of 2014, US citizens and entities were prohibited from providing new financing. In response, the bank hired a previous US senator to lobby Congress in its favor. In the same year, it was nominated for the Emerging Market Bond rewards.
The chart published below offers a list of the 12 largest banks in Russia.