Profits soar at Russia’s biggest bank

Russia’s biggest bank has posted provisional first-quarter profits of $US 1.5 billion, that’s a jump of 39 per cent year-on-year by Russian accounting standards. Announcing the provisional results, CEO German Gref said the figures ‘will be some of the bes

However, the chief of Russia’s largest lender gave investors a warning about future profits, saying that it was becoming harder to earn money ‘from quarter to quarter’. However, Sberbank has not corrected its optimistic net profit forecast for 2008.

The results follow an announcement by the state-owned bank that it is to pilot a new credit-card programme. The aggressive scheme could make it a leader in the field of personal credit. Sberbank’s credit-card client base could reach 20 million as more than half of Russian households have accounts there.

Speaking to reporters, German Gref also scotched rumours that Sberbank plans to buy Dresdner Kleinwort, an investment unit of Dresdner Bank.