Russian Bank leader sees billion-dollar market looming in car loans

Russia's auto-loan market has the potential to be a USD billion-dollar business. The prediction was made Wednesday at a press conference here by Aleksandr Khandruyev, first vice president of the Association of Regional Banks of Russia, a Rosbalt correspondent reported. Khandruyev noted that bank involvement in automobile purchases in Russia is about 15%, which he called very low by comparison with the rates in several Eastern European countries. The rate in the Czech Republic, he said, is 40%-50% of all car purchases.

The banker also spoke of the relative weakness of Russia's home mortgage market, where home mortgages currently make up 0.3% of the nation's gross domestic product, as compared with up to 3% in developed countries. Khandruyev also spoke of what he described as the great promise of Internet retailing. 'Currently in Russia some 8 million to 10 million people regularly use the Internet, as compared with up to 200 million in the United States. We estimate that the Russian market in Internet retailing has the potential of reaching a level of 400,000 sales a year,' Khandruyev said.

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