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Regular version of the site

How Corporate Values ​​Affect Bank Profits

Russian companies' corporate values are not associated with higher profits.


Elena Prosvirkina, Doctoral Student, Swiss Business School; Senior Lecturer, HSE Faculty of Business and Management.
Nikolai Prosvirkin, Associate Professor, Department of Management, Samara National Research University named after Korolyov.

According to international studies,* values can impact corporate performance and the bottom line either directly or indirectly.

In their paper Corporate Values ​​and Profits of Commercial Banks: Correlation with Profits, Prosvirkina and Prosvirkin have examined the corporate values commonly declared by Russian banks and found that the widely held values of customer focus and efficiency can bring competitive advantage, but do not impact financial performance directly.

Team Spirit and Focus on Performance

In advanced economies, many banks' corporate values include innovation, development, excellence, integrity, service and family.

In Russia, banks tend to focus more on efficiency and financial performance, the researchers have found from their analysis of 50 largest banks operating in Russia.**

Most of these banks (86%) officially publish their corporate values, which are shared by most providers and include, in addition to efficiency, client-centeredness (38% of banks), team spirit (35%), professionalism (33%), and corporate social responsibility (33%).

Also common are:

  • universal human values;
  • openness (transparency, publicity);
  • initiative and creativity;
  • business reputation;
  • respect for banking traditions;
  • integrity;
  • stakeholder engagement (e.g. contributing to the banking community, advising government on banking legislation);
  • corporate commitment;
  • civilised business practice;
  • striving for excellence/advancement;
  • other values ​​(such as reliability, efficiency, leadership, healthy lifestyle and self-awareness).

Top 10 corporate values of Russian banks

(% of banks declaring each value)

Source: the authors' calculations

Values Equal Cash?

Based on how often each bank has declared its commitment to corporate values (on its website, corporate documents, press releases and public statements), the authors calculated the corporate values index (CV index) and used it to measure the impact of these stated values on the banks' financial performance.

The researchers found no correlation between the CV index and bank assets (equity and deposits). Leading banks in terms of asset ranking (e.g. Sberbank, VTB, Gazprombank, VTB24) were not ranked near the top of the CV index.

Top banks by CV index

Source: the authors' calculations

According to the authors' original hypothesis, the higher a bank's CV index, the greater its net profits should be, but the findings did not confirm this. In fact, no direct relationship was found between corporate values and the financial bottom line. However, since values help shape a corporate culture, they can serve as an important HR management tool and as such create competitive advantages.

*Donker H., Poff D., Zahir S. Corporate Values, Codes of Ethics, and Firm Performance: A Look at the Canadian Context // Journal of Business Ethics. 2008. Vol. 82. № 3. P. 527–537.
Posner B.Z., Kouzes J.M., Schmidt W.H. Shared Values Make a Difference: An Empirical Test of Corporate Culture // Human Resource Management. 1985. Vol. 24(3). P. 293–309.
Van Lee R., Fabish L., McGaw N. The Value of Corporate Values // Strategy and Business. 2005. Vol. 39. P. 1–15.
Jesper B. Sørensen. The Strength of Corporate Culture and the Reliability of Firm Performance // Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol 47, Issue 1, 2002.
Thomsen S. Corporate Values and Corporate Governance // Corporate Governance: The International Journal of Business in Society. 2004. Vol. 4. № 4. P. 29–46.

**Data was collected from bank websites, annual reports, corporate codes of ethics and conduct, press releases and public statements. The sample included different types of banks, i.e. domestic and international, public and private, Moscow-based and regional, and targeting different product and client niches.

Author: Svetlana Saltanova, July 07, 2017