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Russia’s biggest private bank posts huge profits

Alfa-Bank’s net earnings exceeded $500 million in January-June

Russia’s Alfa-Bank on Friday reported a net profit of 52.2 billion rubles ($526 million) for the first half of the year, saying its loan portfolio is at a consistently high level. 

According to the press release on the bank’s website, it earned $272 million in January-March. Alfa-Bank has not disclosed its earnings dynamics in comparison to 2022, when its profits slumped amid Western sanctions.

“Despite the challenges of the first half of 2022 and a one-time loss, the bank has significantly strengthened its market position in terms of total assets and capital,” Alfa-Bank’s statement reads.

Net interest income in January-June exceeded $1.4 billion, marking an 84% year-on-year increase, while net fee and commission income rose 13% to $823 million.

Alfa-Bank’s assets increased by 7% during the reporting period to $62 billion, partly due to a 17% jump in net loan debt. The volume of corporate loans rose by 21%, including in lending to small and medium-sized businesses – by 35% and 22% respectively.

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The bank’s deposit portfolio was also up by more than 7% due to a 15% increase in retail deposits.

Alfa-Bank also said that the number of customers grew by 9% in the first six months of 2023 to nearly 28 million people.

“In 2023, we continue to follow the strategy, as well as actively implement technological innovations, work with machine learning models, and use advanced analytics in business processes,” the press release stated.

Last year, the US imposed sanctions on Alfa-Bank and Russia’s top lender, Sber, in response to Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine. This year, Alfa-Bank was added by the EU in its tenth sanctions package.

Owners of the sanctioned bank, businessmen Mikhail Fridman and Pyotr Aven, were reportedly planning to sell their stakes in Alfa-Bank to escape the blacklist. Earlier this week, Fridman and Aven were added to the US sanctions list.

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