The banking sector in Russia is going through difficult times. Many banks are suffering huge losses, laying off employees or shutting down their operations altogether — but not Sberbank. The secret to the success of the largest financial organization in Russia lies in its executives and ordinary employees.
One of the key figures for Sberbank is Kirill Tsarev, the First Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board, who supervises the Retail Business department and Sber’s online platform with its private banking digital services.
Biography and Early Career
Kirill Tsarev was born in St. Petersburg and studied at SMTU. Later on, the young man decided to continue his education; he completed a law degree and upgraded his qualifications at London Business School.
Tsarev started his professional career while still a university student. In 1996, he took a job as a general representative in a Finnish construction company, and a few years later, he launched his own business — a startup called Interleasing funded by IBSP. Up until 2000, he continued to both study and run the company. After he graduated, he moved to IBSP to work on his leasing project, trying out many different approaches for his company that rented cars and sold trucks. Interleasing is still open for business and, moreover, it is among the top 15 largest Russian leasing organizations.
In 2011, the manager accepted the offer of Sberbank to become the deputy head of Sberbank Leasing.
Under Kirill Tsarev’s leadership, Sberbank’s loan portfolio has grown significantly, thanks to the new private banking loyalty program and the expanded range of products and services. A few years after Kirill Tsarev took up the position, leasing became a popular service among small and medium-sized businesses, largely because of how much simpler it became for the lessees to interact with the lessor — from this point on, many services required only charter documents, and the application could be submitted online.
In 2018, Kirill Tsarev assumed the position of vice president and focused his work on Sberbank CIB. Within 2 years, the executive was in full charge of the Retail Business department.
In 2021, after a large-scale re-engineering effort, the bank divided its services into two areas — for private customers and legal entities. The executive focused on the B2C unit and started working on private customer services.
The time when Kirill Tsarev took up the position was not the easiest for the banking sector and the country in general. The unstable ruble, negative trends in the Russian economy — all this turned into a real challenge for many banks. Sberbank withstood this test with honor, largely thanks to one of its executives — Tsarev’s team was able to mitigate the consequences of the non-payment issues. They also diversified the risks for the customers who invested in Sberbank securities to the maximum extent possible.
For Sberbank private customers, the team created the QR payment feature called SberPay that made it possible for the Sber digital platform users to go back to the convenient way of paying for various services and products.
The Latest News
In 2022, together with the Sberbank delegation, Kirill Tsarev took part in the SPIEF economic forum, where he spoke about the shifting functions of financial systems. He said that he and his team are now focused on making sure that the system is reliable and safe for the customers. He said that thanks to the modern technologies and the new payment system, the customers hardly noticed any changes or difficulties: at the beginning of the year, many customers withdrew money from their accounts, but then returned it back.
Kirill Tsarev is sure that the main trend in the financial sector today is the decreasing importance of plastic cards as a means of payment. Under his management, Sberbank is actively developing and implementing alternative payment options that involve the use of QR codes and biometrics. More and more users turn to SberPay to pay for goods and services on the Internet.
Another important area for the bank is the synergy between the state and private businesses in the digital space. For example, it is currently finishing the integration between Gosuslugi and Sberbank Online apps; this collaboration will help to improve the quality of online services and make them more user-friendly.
Kirill Tsarev has many other plans and projects, and judging by the pace the executive has gained in recent years, one can expect that he will achieve his most ambitious goals in the nearest future.