To western eyes, everything is automatically bigger and better right here; there is no grass on our neighbors grass, let alone greener grass, the perception is that if you live in a western society, you will routinely be afforded the best of anything and everything.

The business world however functions slightly differently, and has no such perceptions, business, for the most part, handles in facts and figures and absolutes only, which may be the reason how a bank which is distinctly not western can be the 3rd largest bank in Europe, and 33rd in the world, have nearly 300,000 employees in 19,000 branches with revenue exceeding $30 billion, with its activity accounting for more than 25% of all banking related assets, all while being located in Russia.

Formed in 1841 by emperor Nikolai the 1st the bank initially had only 2 branches – Moscow and St. Petersburg, the bank encourages the public to begin making deposits forgoing previously popular methods, it takes a little while for the public at large to develop the trust needed for this, but by 1860 Sberbank branches serve in excess of 500 customers per day, signaling that it is time to consider expansion.

The early 20th century was not very kind to the Russian banking sector, with World War 1 and the revolutionary war both leaving their mark on the industry, the former left a vast majority of citizens in a troubling financial state, while the latter resulted in the new regime demanding much stricter regulation on all banks, including full and complete information on all accounts and account holders, severely damaging the previously held status quo of total account discretion.

Upon the late 1980’s/ early 1990’s collapse of the USSR, the majority of banks in Russia either collapsed or came extremely close to bankruptcy, and Sberbank, while not going entirely unscathed, continued to function normally, with the support of the newly formed Russian government.

The Russian government, through the bank of Russia remains the majority shareholder in Sberbank, holding just a minuscule amount over 50% of all shares, but in order to increase its holdings and outward marketability, the bank has allowed for some 20% of all outstanding shares to be owned by individuals or corporations that are not Russian in origin.

Despite its development and growth since being privatized some 20 years ago, 2014 cannot be summed up as being anything other than disastrous for Sberbank just as it was for the rest of the Russian banking system, Russia’s foreign policy in Ukraine and its stance against the US and Europe caused heavy sanctions to be levied upon those banks, with penalties including the freezing of Sberbank assets in western countries, and restriction of access to investments in those countries caused a sharp decline in income and capitalization due to those sanctions.

Here’s the good news for you as a possible trader of Sberbank binary options – by now, you probably are well aware of the simple fact – in binary options, bad can often be good! Since you’re not dealing directly with Sberbank stock you can turn a profit regardless of how the bank performs, and often, assets on the decline offer a greater opportunity for income.

So keep an eye on Sberbank’s usual modes of income within Russia, but keep another eye on Russia’s political standing with the west, at least as far as financial sanctions go, and make your investment accordingly, do so wisely and your investment will not be left to freeze in the Russian winter.