Russian banks Association vice president proposes to allow foreign banks to Russian domestic market

Vice president of the Association of Russian banks (ARB) Valerian Popkov deems it expedient to admit foreign commercial banks to the Russian domestic market only as residents (Russian legal entities), without a right to open branches, he said on Tuesday in Moscow, when making a report "On protecting the national banking system during Russia's joining the WTO" at an ARB extraordinary session.

Popkov stressed that the share of the foreign capital in the Russian banking system was intensively discussed during the negotiations about joining the WTO. Quotas should be set at 15 percent with a possibility of future increase up to 25 per cent, he believes.

In the early 1990s "when there was a real threat to the Russian banking system from foreign banks, the quota of foreign capital in the banking system was set at 12 per cent," Popkov said, adding that it had not been fulfilled in the last 10 years.

According to the data of the Bank of Russia, the non-residents' share in the fixed capital of credit organizations in Russia is not growing, and even falling. In the first quarter 2001 the figure dropped from 7.7 till 6.1 per cent, mostly due to Russian banks' capitalization.

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