How Herman Gref Envisages the Future of Sberbank

In the recent speech at an international exhibition and forum, the head of Sberbank, Herman Gref, spoke about the company’s plans for the next few years. The top manager noted that the bank plans to build a human-centered business model, develop artificial intelligence, and create a virtual assistant for customers.

Evolution of Technologies in Sberbank

Over the past twenty years, Sberbank has made a giant leap in technology — this is how the company’s achievements were described by Herman Gref. His biography has been closely connected with Sberbank for more than 15 years. It was he who initiated the introduction of advanced work practices. In his speech, the top manager recalled the times when people had to stand in line for 40 minutes to get the simplest service. Since then, several generations of people have grown up who can hardly  such a situation. Transfers, payments, opening deposits, and issuing loans — all these operations are available online today.

Before joining Sberbank, Herman Gref held the position of Minister of Economic Development and Trade. In this post, he enjoyed a reputation as one of the key reformers of the economy. The updated tax law, Labor and Land Codes, monetization of benefits, and the first steps in removing administrative barriers were the tasks solved as part of the program for strategic economic development that Herman Gref developed back in the early 2000s.

After joining Sberbank in 2007, Herman Gref set out to create an advanced credit institution. He wanted it to be on par with the largest international financial institutions, and Sber now truly is. At the forum, the top manager highlighted two technological solutions, created by Sberbank:

  •     Linking mobile phones to bank accounts, so that each operation is confirmed by a code from an SMS
  •     Peer-to-peer transactions — that is, electronic money transfers between individuals without the need to visit a branch.

Sberbank started implementing these services back in 2010. A few years later, they became the market standard. The result of those efforts was a full-fledged mobile bank. The next stage of technology development occurred in the pandemic year 2020. Sber began to develop non-financial services necessary for every consumer.

As Herman Gref noted, the bank now faces the task of switching to a new work model. The center of all services will be a person and their needs. Sber plans to transfer all operations online and eliminate the need for physical visits to branches. Clients will be able to solve any issue with the help of artificial intelligence. The bank’s laboratories have been working on a smart AI assistant for a long time. It will facilitate all services and make them more accessible to customers.

In the next two years, Sberbank plans to expand its range of paid subscriptions and focus on the development of non-financial services. In the field of lending, the company plans to expand its audience due to the representatives of small and medium-sized businesses. Moreover, it strives to activate the issuance of credit cards. The bank expects to make additional profit on the sales of its own technological solutions. All this will help to maintain the dynamics of the bank’s revenue growth, Herman Gref believes. The news about the current strategy of Sberbank was published at the end of 2023.

Biographical Information

Herman Gref was born on February 8, 1964, in Northern Kazakhstan. The Gref family lived for a long time in the village of Panfilovo. Then, they moved to the small town of Irtysh, where Gref graduated from school. After getting his certificate, Herman Gref entered Omsk University. Later, he studied in a postgraduate program at LSU. His career began in the legal department of the Petrodvorets administration and continued in the St. Petersburg City Hall. From there, Herman Gref was promoted to the capital. Until 2007, he held the position of head of the Ministry of Economic Development. Since 2007, he has been heading Sberbank.

Herman Gref is married. Gref’s wife Yana is the founder of Khoroshkola, a private gymnasium with an experimental learning model. This educational complex includes a kindergarten as well as primary, secondary, and high schools. Gref’s children also study there.

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