Alfa-Bank, Russia's largest privately-owned bank, performed the best of a group of banks which still leave a lot to be desired. The banking sector, like the country itself, is undergoing significant reform and corruption, lack of transparency and inefficiency still tend to be dominant themes. Nevertheless, unlike many banks which disappeared as a result of Russia's financial crisis, Alfa has powered on and managed to maintain the confidence of the markets and the rating agencies – Fitch upgraded the bank's long-tern rating in July.
Alfa is the only Russian institution to have honoured its financial commitments to western institutions before, during and since Russia's devaluation of the rouble and in July confirmed that the outstanding Eurobonds maturing on 28 July this year were repaid in full and on time. Being the only bank not to default on its Eurobonds is not something to congratulated on but given the Russian context it does set Alfa apart.