Mainly because of the Western sanctions against Russia, the country's banks had to put up with a drop in profits of around 90 percent last year.

Profits fell to 203 billion rubles ($2.9 billion), the Russian central bank announced on Friday.

Like other areas of the Russian economy, the financial sector has shown itself to be quite robust.

The banks managed to recoup a loss of 1.5 trillion rubles in the first half of the year and turned it into a profit by the end of the year, they said.

"However, not all banks were able to fully recoup losses from the beginning of the year," the central bank said in its report.

Some institutes posted a significant minus for the year as a whole.

According to this, 104 banks were unprofitable at the end of the year, while there were still 130 in mid-2022.

If there are no new shocks in 2023, banks' results this year are likely to be significantly better and profits could exceed a trillion rubles, Alexander Danilov, director of the central bank's Department for Banking Regulation and Analysis, told journalists.

A year ago, the central bank had forecast banking sector profits of more than 2 trillion rubles in 2022, after a record profit of 2.4 trillion rubles in 2021.

The West has excluded several important Russian banks from the international payment system SWIFT because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine as part of the sanctions.

As a result, the leading credit institutions Sberbank and VTB had to stop their business in large parts of Europe.

Investors withdrew funds quickly in the spring, but the sector saw a net inflow of retail deposits towards the end of the year.