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Russian economy, banking sector facing difficult times — bank CEO

May 28, 2015, 9:06 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The chief executive officer of Russia’s major bank said Russia is falling into a long-term negative trend
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MOSCOW, May 28. /TASS/. The next two years will be difficult for the Russian economy, in particular for its banking sector, the chief executive officer of Russia’s major bank, Sberbank, told the Vedomosti newspaper on Thursday.

"The years 2015-2016 won’t be easy for the economy on the whole and for the banking sector in particular," he said. "We are falling into a long-term negative trend. I have no optimistic forecast as of yet, although a sharp slump that we expected has not taken place," he added.

Gref said he could see no sources of growth at the moment that would make it possible to "get out of this trend". The only way out is "launching major reforms of all relations in the economic sector," he believes.

The world is changing rapidly, new technologies emerge, and this should first of all radically influence relations in the management sphere, the Sberbank CEO believes. He said management models employed at the moment that did not exist at all 50 years ago, and the very "theory of management began taking shape only in the middle of the 20th century, and has been developing since then at an ever growing pace".

However, management systems have "remained archaic in many aspects" in Russia, he said, adding that the state machine was not flexible. This is a key problem for all or almost all countries, he said.

"Countries are involved in a very powerful global competition, which did not exist earlier, and the winners are those who invested in soft skills, in the development of strategic institutions, in all that is connected with human capital, in the establishment of an investment climate," he continued.

"There are also hard skills, connected with the quality of functioning of institutions, and there is also a social paradigm, ideology, on which everything rests," the Vedomosti cited him as saying.

This is a key trend that Russia should seek to "fit into," he said.

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