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What we know about Russia’s largest BigTech

What we know about Russia’s largest BigTech

Life does not stand still and progress affects even those areas that once seemed unshakable. For instance, traditional banking. Take Sber, Russia’s largest bank with an over 180-year history. It will come as no surprise that most Russians have accounts with this financial institution. But imagine a supercomputer, a neural network, smart home devices – all that and many more sought-after products and services are offered today by Sber and its partner companies. As the country’s largest and oldest bank, Sber provides services to the better part of its population, including card and cash payments, mortgages, loans, and business services. Currently, Sber is the biggest tech company in Russia and a digitalization leader.


Tech transformation

Sberbank embarked on its tech transformation journey several years ago. In 2020, Sberbank rebranded as Sber, as, by that time, the company had already provided a wide range of financial and non-financial services to its clients, helping them achieve their many life and business goals and creating a user-friendly and seamless customer experience.


Human-centric strategy

On Investor’s Day in December 2023, Sber announced it will spend the next three years preparing for the transition to a human-centric organization. The underlying premise is that the current economic model, aimed at generating products and services that clients need here and now and looking at clients only as sources of income, is becoming obsolete, while the new economy will be built around solving clients’ vital problems in the longer term. According to Sber’s CEO Herman Gref, Sber seeks to become one of the first human-centric companies, one that will help people to tap their potential and survive amidst today's overabundance of technology and information.

AI at your service

Sber is committed to promoting artificial intelligence. Sber believes AI is becoming humanity’s personal assistant, expanding the capabilities of each and every human on this planet and guiding them towards fully unlocking their potential. Key AI use cases at Sberbank today are: lending, sales campaigns, customer experience growth task prioritization, tailored pricing, tariff management, risk accounting, credit monitoring, compliance services, voice assistants, and chatbots. In line with the green agenda, Sber trained AI to track ESG risks. For instance, Sber's AI models help project climate risk events and calculate their economic implications.

Sber’s most popular AI-driven technology solutions feature the Kandinsky neural network, which generates high-quality images and short videoclips for over 12 million users, and the GigaChat neural network model, which can keep the conversation going, answer most questions, write up texts and programming codes, and generate images enabled by an integration with Kandinsky.


Sanctions impact

Amid the sanctions imposed on Russia, Sberbank posted a five-fold rise in profit year-on-year, with over USD 251 bn extended in corporate loans, which is a big success. In the next three years, the bank plans to achieve a return on equity (ROE) of more than 22% and pay out 50% of the Sber Group’s net profits as dividends. The company anticipates increasing profits from year to year.


Greener economy

At COP28 in Dubai, Sber suggested the establishment of the BRICS Climate Council, a coordination hub for governments, businesses, and the scientific and professional community to share experiences, harmonize alliance taxonomies, and co-design climate and environmental projects and solutions. The company sees the creation of the BRICS Unified Registry of Carbon Units as one of the Climate Council’s initial efforts to harmonize the verification systems and taxonomies of the member states, as well as enable access to a single system of climate finance.

According to First Deputy Chairman of the Sberbank Executive Board Alexander Vedyakhin, the climate agenda is increasingly penetrating the economy and business, while countries are experiencing climate

change, including through financial losses. This was backed by a hot topic at COP28 — a joint pursuit of financial resources and investments to slow down global warming and facilitate successful adaptation to climate change. “Sber is now a leading hub of national expertise and ESG transformation, and we are quite clearly aware of the need for Russian business to engage in the global dialogue on climate and sustainability,” Vedyakhin said.


Sberbank is a top performer in terms of green asset portfolio growth in Russia. Over the past year, Sber’s responsible financing portfolio has surpassed USD 30 bn. This increase indicates that Russian businesses are still committed to the sustainability agenda and are actively working on new initiatives.


Expansion plans

According to top executives, Sberbank has never cut itself off from the outside world and is always open to working with new partners and countries, inviting people and companies from other regions to come and look at Sber’s technologies and products. The lender is currently looking for synergies with counterparties in MENA, Asia and Latin America to develop both its own and clients’ businesses in new countries. “Speed has a lot of meaning these days. We are well positioned to do this and have a good technological base for joint development, international experience, and a vision to make synergies as efficient as possible. Naturally, we need to drive the security of payment posting faster. Today, this potential can be fulfilled through settlements in national currencies. This is the direction we need to move in,” Alexander Vedyakhin added.