The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Russia’s new brand of banking

Oleg Tinkov is at the forefront of the consumer-banking boom that is changing Russian finance. Tinkoff Credit Systems encapsulates all that is innovative – and risky – about the sector. This bank and others like it have everything the state banks lack. But in Russia that can mean trouble.

This is not the kind of bank or bank owner you might expect in Russia, a country that still has a reputation for bureaucracy, drab offices and an oligarch- and state-dominated banking system.

Oleg Tinkov is the founder of Tinkoff Credit Systems: a branchless Russian bank specializing in credit cards, with a heavy focus on marketing and the internet. Specialized retail lenders in Russia have rapidly outpaced conventional commercial banks over the past two years, and none more so than Tinkoff.

Tinkoff’s loan portfolio grew by almost 80% in 2010, by more than 100% in 2011 and almost 60% in the first half of 2012. "We’re growing like hell," says Tinkov. "We’re entrepreneurial and we have spirit, freedom and creativity."

He adds: "This is a young and sexy bank," emphasizing that the bigger banks, particularly the state-owned ones, are not.

Rather like the English entrepreneur Richard Branson, who is a friend and role model, Tinkov – or Tinkoff (as his bank is marketed) – sometimes promotes his own personality alongside a string of mass-market consumer products associated with his name. Such outgoing and consumer-savvy bank owners are rare in Russia.

But for someone with a large photo of himself emblazoned on his business card, Tinkov is surprisingly uncomfortable about his own status in the bank.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree