Sber’s response to the pandemic

COVID-19 outbreaks have tested our ability to make quick decisions in a complex environment. Now that the peak of the pandemic is behind, we can summarize how Sber rose to the challenges and how our actions complied with ESG principles.

Helped healthcare workers

The health system was overwhelmed in the spring of 2020 as healthcare workers lacked protective gear, tests, and medications to fight the pandemic back. This is why we started a COVID-19 fundraiser among our employees and amassed over RUB 3 bn, a whooping amount, in a short time. The bank’s top executives donated their April salaries and called on the shareholders, clients, and partners of the bank to follow suit and contribute to the cause.

Helping hospitals and outpatient clinics in Russian regions survive through the most challenging time, the mobilized funds were used to buy gowns, masks, and gloves for healthcare workers, extra beds for patients, ventilators, and other medical equipment.

Protective gear bought for healthcare workers:

4 mn
masks and respirators
50 k
disposable gloves
30 k
protective gowns
100+ L
of sanitizers
Part of the funds Sber amassed was used to build an infectious disease unit for the city hospital in Tulun
The two-story infectious disease unit with separate entrances for patients was built and commissioned in only five months.

Supported vaccine developers

Sber allocated some of the donations to COVID-19 vaccine developers, namely, the Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology and Center for Virology and Biotechnology Vector.

Besides sponsoring Sputnik V development, SberBank helped vaccine producers run their operations, being in charge of management and logistics.

9 mn

doses of vaccine Sber delivered to Russian regions maintaining the temperature vaccines needed

Sputnik V production site (Photo by Anatoly Maltsev/ EPA / TASS)

“The government addressed us for help with project management because no vaccine had ever been created that fast. It’s one thing to create a vaccine in a laboratory, but starting its production is a whole different story. This usually takes a year or more,” said Herman Gref when talking to RBC.

Gathered money for research

Sber and Charitable Foundation Investment to the Future came up with a charity program letting anyone who cared donate any amount to the foundation, with SberBank doubling that. The initiative garnered support from over 48,000 people and 127 companies who donated over RUB 89 mn.

The raised money helped Gamaleya, Kulakov, and Sechenov institutes do costly research, check the safety of vaccines for senior citizens and efficacy of the new COVID-19 drug, and study the effects of the coronavirus on the human body, including its reproductive health.

RUB 179+ mn

gathered during the fundraiser, including SberBank’s x2 donations increase

Accelerated the interpreting of CT scans of lungs

КChest CT is the first-choice diagnostic imaging technique in patients suspected of having viral pneumonia caused by COVID-19, helping identify lung damage rate and need for hospital care.

Outpatient clinics were overwhelmed during the pandemic — patients had to wait in long queues to have chest CTs, obtain their screening results and treatment recommendations. However, when you have lung damage, every minute counts.

To somewhat ease the pressure, we needed to automate part of the routine and make CT results and diagnosis available online.

Sber ecosystem companies SberHealth and SberCloud designed a solution to interpret CT scans much faster than usual. A chest scan can simply be uploaded to a website by an MD or a patient, and in a matter of five to ten minutes you can see the lung damage, if any, and how severe it is.

The speed was achieved due to AI algorithms and the computing capacity of the Christofari, Russia’s fastest supercomputer.

This project by Sber was awarded as the Best Digital Solution in Healthcare at Comnews Awards 2020: Digital Technology vs COVID-19..

Helped vulnerable customers

Healthcare workers and patients were not the only ones going through hard times amid the pandemic — many people lost their jobs and income either partially or fully.

To ease the strain for its borrowers, Sber met those who had troubles with paying their loans back halfway by offering them hardship programs. The bank had a government program running for those who had lost more than 30% of their income, mortgage borrowers could access mortgage holidays, and clients with other loans could restructure their debts with a grace period of up to two years.

Payments that all holders of credit cards are required to make were reduced, fees for early card reissuance were cancelled, and lower repayment limit was dropped to 3%.

Helped find new jobs In April 2020, Sber and launched, a free website that helped people find new jobs fast and allowed companies to redistribute their workforce amid the crisis.

Delivered groceries and pensions to elderly clients free of charge

SberLogistics and SberMarket would deliver products to retired customers in Moscow, with Sber partially compensating for grocery costs.

We also delivered pensions to clients aged 65+ to their homes. SberHealth arranged the deliveries of groceries and drugs to senior citizens, access to doctors, psychological help, and training them in the use of Sber’s handy digital services.

Helped small businesses

Many businesses had to be in the red or shut down for good during the pandemic peak and lockdown. To reduce the number of such cases, Sber helped entrepreneurs with money and information.

We have issued loans on special terms

In March 2020, SberBank started issuing 0% interest loans to SMEs under government-backed paycheck protection programs. By May 2020, SberBank had issued RUB 21.2 bn in such loans. Furthermore, the bank was actively engaged in restructuring loans taken out by companies representing the most affected industries amid the pandemic – retailers, restaurants, and consumer services.

We have supported informational

During the business recession, companies needed money, but also required their business models to be rethought. Sber organized webinars for entrepreneurs on the Delovaya Sreda online platform — a countrywide marathon for entrepreneurs was launched in April — where the best business mentors shared their knowledge and experience for free.

Sber also launched Online Business, a talk show on YouTube, where skilled businessmen from across industries shared their experience and expertise with small businesses.

11.8 mn

views registered for the show

First episode guests were Yevgeny Davydov, Fyodor Ovchinnikov, and others

Sber created Online Business Missions, a service to support companies focused on international partnerships. The service replaced industry fairs, exhibitions, and business missions cancelled due to the pandemic and allowed Russian-based manufacturers to present their products to foreign buyers online.


Russian and foreign companies used the service in 2020

Supported our employees

Helped adapt to new reality.

Sber did all it could to safeguard its employees: we moved our teams to work remotely, organized coordination between departments, and helped our talent get used to the new mode of work, sending them mailouts with life hacks on how to organize their workspace at home, combine working and parenting under one roof, and interact in teams working remotely.

Provided paid sick leaves.

So that its employees were not afraid of losing part of their income during an illness and consulted a doctor even when slightly unwell, Sber launched a sick leave compensation program, compensating 100% of salaries during the sick leave period. Over 200,000 employees took advantage of this option in 2020. This move helped to keep our employees motivated during this challenging period.