What German Gref did not share with Elvira Nabiullina

What is the use of Sberbank confrontation with the Bank of Russia.
The confrontation between the Bank of Russia and Sberbank does not stop even for a minute, despite the fact that the Central Bank in the largest bank controls more than 50% of the shares. The regulator is lobbying laws directed against Sberbank in order to force it out of the monopolized areas of the financial market. So it was 15 years ago with the introduction of a deposit insurance system, and this continues today with the adoption of the law on “banking roaming”. This will happen next year with the full deployment of the quick payment system. The regulator sequentially pushes the subsidiary bank out of the comfort zone. And it does Sberbank good.

At the end of last year, the authorities unexpectedly became preoccupied with the topic of “banking roaming”. Sberbank customers constantly complained about the commissions that the bank charges for transfers to other regions, while the same transfers within one region are free. Meanwhile, other banks, which also have a wide branch network, do not have such restrictions. And Sberbank’s share in the translation market has already reached 94%, and it became clear that measures need to be taken.

They decided to fight this problem radically - to adopt a law prohibiting such interregional discrimination. Moreover, there was no talk of canceling all commissions. For example, VTB takes 30 rubles. for the transfer between your cards of international payment systems, but there are no questions for him, because the client will pay this amount when transferring money both from Moscow to Vladivostok and to a neighboring house. So the law was positioned and perceived as directed against Sberbank.

The bank resisted as best he could. Perhaps thanks to his lobbying efforts, the law will come into force only six months after its publication, that is, somewhere in the middle of next year. By this time, Sberbank, according to its head German Gref, himself was going to cancel this commission.

Sberbank, it seems, will not be left in the way - it plans to reformat its tariffs and sell service packages to customers, instead of charging a fee for each. And that's not all.

Bankers began to think about the consequences of the adopted law after it had already been passed in the third reading. As long as this commission exists, it does not matter to the client who is to pay the 1% or 1.5% to Sberbank or to his bank where he has a salary card in order to transfer money to a Sberbank card in another region. As a result, many banks benefited from such inter-regional transactions. But, when the commission disappears, most customers will simply withdraw money at a salary bank ATM for free, deposit it on a Sberbank card at its ATM and send it free to friends or relatives across the country. By this time, Sberbank will begin to make new money on these customers, and other banks will stop making money in the old way.

A similar story can happen with the quick payment system (SBP), where Sberbank is forced to enter. He struggles with all his strength, but it is already clear that he will not be beaten off.

As a result, he will receive another inexpensive tool to replenish his accounts from customers of other banks. Plus, in the fight against SBP, Sberbank has seriously developed its own transfer system, connected to it third-party banks, including foreign ones. I introduced new services not only for myself, but also for the market, for example, transfers to other customers without a card - you can withdraw money at a Sberbank ATM knowing the code sent to the recipient’s phone and the year of his birth.

And such examples, when the authorities, most often represented by the Bank of Russia, impose absolutely unfavorable conditions on Sberbank at first glance, and in the end it turns out to be a plus, there are many. Just recall how Sberbank joined the deposit insurance system (CER). The law on deposit insurance was adopted for the new year 2004. Sberbank immediately announced that it did not intend to join the system on general terms, because then it would turn out that it would pay depositors to all bankrupt banks. As a result, in a bill approved for second reading, Sberbank depositors were given a separate state guarantee, and he had to transfer funds to the insurance fund to a separate account until 2009, that is, five years. Then the conditions changed: in the version of the law signed by the president, the period of special conditions was reduced to 2007. In 2004, amendments to the law were adopted, as a result of which Sberbank entered the deposit insurance system on a common basis in 2005. However, this does not mean that the bank has come to terms with the current situation. He began to actively promote savings certificates that did not fall into the CERs and for which it was not necessary to transfer funds to the fund. As a result, it occupied more than 90% of this market segment.

Another example is a universal electronic card (UEC). Sberbank created it together with the banks Uralsib and Ak Bars in the summer of 2010, but it owned more than 85%. It was assumed that it would be mandatory for all Russians at the legislative level and it would replace a passport, rights, a pension certificate - in a word, universal. Sberbank did not invent a bicycle and made UEC on the basis of the Sberkart project, which had been trying in vain to promote since 1993. As a result, this suitcase without a handle turned into a UEC, which even received official status in 2013. Then she fought for the right to become a national payment system, but she lost this fight: the Central Bank chose to create an NPS from scratch. As a result, UEC ceased to exist as a project, and officially disappeared on January 1, 2017. It would seem that Sberbank lost, the Central Bank displaced its projects from the market. But the fact that Sberbank today is the undisputed leader in the payment card market, there is some merit and Sbercard with UEC, which allowed him to finally concentrate on business with his death. Today, the bank has more than 60 million cards and about 65% of the acquiring market.

So after joining SBP, Sberbank’s share in the transfer market may decline. However, given the fact that most banks will become its donors, and besides, with the introduction of commissions in this system, the question of who will win will be a rhetorical one.