Russia’s biggest bank announces bumper profits

Russias largest bank, Sberbank, has reported net profits of $US 4.5 billion for 2007.

The bank attributes the 28.6-per-cent rise to increased corporate lending and new branches.

However, operating costs also rose more than had been forecast. They were up by 35 per cent.

Sberbank says this was due to salary increases and the switch to international accounting standards.

Sberbank Chairman German Gref says costs need to be more tightly controlled this year.

“We need to better manage and optimise our expenses by getting rid of a whole raft of ineffective operations we are now performing. We want Sberbank to be not only Russia's biggest bank, but also the one with the highest quality service,” he stressed.