It’s not your average company that can trace its origins back to a 19th-century Russian czar, but then, Sberbank is no average financial institution.
Established through a decree by Emperor Nikolai I in 1841, Sberbank is Russia’s oldest bank and has played a long and storied role in the nation’s history. Today, with more than 16,000 branches in all 83 constituent entities of the Russian Federation — traversing 11 time zones — it serves roughly 70 percent of the Russian population.
Therein lie the roots of the bank’s very modern challenge.
Whereas once virtually all transactions were conducted in person during office hours and on bank premises, the arrival of the Internet turned that pattern on its head. No longer constrained by branch operating schedules or the on-site availability of bank officers, customer-service demands skyrocketed as consumer expectations extended 24/7.