Gref: Russia needs structural reform

Gref: Russia needs structural reform

LONDON, January 31. /Corr. Maxim Ryzhkov/. Russia needs structural reforms. This opinion was expressed by the head of Sberbank German Gref in an interview with British newspaper the Financial Times. It was posted Sunday on its website, and on Monday will be published in the printed version of the publication.

“Basically, the key problem now is the acute need for structural reforms, because even higher prices for oil and lifting of sanctions will never lead to high (economic) growth, if that is not done reforms,” Gref said.

Purpose – modernization of the economy

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Answering the question why Russia is not reformed at the best of times, he noted that “human nature is very resistant to change, and change starts when the money runs out”. The head of Sberbank believes that previously “there were more opportunities for reforms, but we are less in need”.

As specifies the edition, “since 2007, Gref Sberbank transformed from relic of the Soviet bureaucracy in a modern financial institution”. But then there have been a number of events and phenomena that have had a negative impact on the situation in Russia, the most dangerous of which, the head of Sberbank believes long the country’s failure to modernise its economy.

The impact of sanctions

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Speaking of the sanctions, Gref has noticed that they led to the creation of “a strange situation” when “the holders of more than 30% of shares in free float, the investors are American and 20% British.”

He also recalled that, faced with a ban on the attraction of Western investments, his financial institution went through a difficult period associated with the performance of its obligations would “stop the already approved (banking) operations, when it was impossible to make payments within a few days.” “But we survived, and now the situation has stabilized,” – said Gref.

Loans in China and Silicon valley technology

According to him, earlier the savings Bank, as a rule, not resorted to borrowing in China, but is now forced to do it, although not on such a scale, as has happened with Western financing.

Gref believes that “fast and flexible” financial technology, provided by companies from Silicon valley and create competition for global financial institutions.

In this regard, Sberbank presented at the end of last year, “radically revised strategy” for its future policy.

Obligations to investors

According to the newspaper, Sberbank remain obligations to investors, which consists in twofold increase of profit that a financial institution took over in 2013.

The edition was surprising that the Bank continues to foresee “the increase in profits and assets in the period from 2013 to 2018 is 1.8 times”. “Although oil prices have recently dropped again, the Bank told investors in January that it does not change the strategy,” reported the Financial Times.

“Coordinated attack” at Sberbank

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“In December 2014, – says the publication, – while the Russian ruble fell amid falling oil prices and Western sanctions in connection with the events around Ukraine, the largest lender of the country, the savings Bank experienced a situation that its head Herman Gref has described as “coordinated attack”. A million depositors have received anonymous sms messages with claims that the Bank, which because of the sanctions was limited in attracting investments, reportedly will cut off from international financial system, and that the deposits would be blocked.

Near the ATM queue formed, while depositors withdrew 1.3 trillion rubles during the week, and the IT system was overloaded. Management (Bank) kept silence, having come to the conclusion that encouraging statements can only warm up a panic”.

“It was a very dangerous moment. Our system, our liquidity, our work with clients verified”, – said the head of Sberbank.

“The panic has subsided, continued the newspaper, and Gref said he was proud of the way the Bank handled this situation without help”.