The complete banking trance

What is going on? Why does the bank community of Russia remind the company of court ladies that are working on some  performance to play?

There has been so much written about economy and finances. I thought that there were good people that could deal about it and see a point. Yet, the more you think about the problems of the Russian banking system, the more you can understand that there are too many questions that can not be ignored. I would like to believe that there will be smart people that gathered together at the IV Russian banking conference in the city of Sochi. Maybe, they did want to find the place of the banking system in the state strategy of the economic development of Russia.

Psychologists say that a child undergoes aging crisis, when he or understands that his daddy  is not the strongest man and his mommy is not the most beautiful woman. I had to experience something like that  in my professional journalist activity in summer. I participated in the work of the interregional conference “Practical issues of the development of the Russian banking strategy.”

Ok. I interviewed Valery Zubov, the chairman of the State Duma committee for lending organizations and financial markets. Prior to our conversation, Zubov gave a press conference concerning his activities in Moscow. He was definitely tired, so the former governor of the Krasnoyarsk region was trying to get rid of me with the use of cliches:

- We have to make our banks work for the rise of the Russian economy. We need to have this situation, when small enterprises could easily raise loans  in any region of Russia. If a business beginner  does not have an easy access  to loans, then there is no point of talking about bank reforms.

Valery Zubov was frightened with his own words. He wiped his forehead and then tried to make a change:

- Here is the problem. On the one hand, small business has to learn how to draw up reasonable business projections. Those projections need to have precise calculations that would be convincing for a banker from the point of view of a possible investment and profit. On the other hand, laws are supposed to help banks to understand that the basic perspective of their development is the increase of customers and small enterprises.

I am interrupting his speech:

- Will this realization result in the reduction of credit rates? There should be a large pledge paid for a loan. New businessmen cannot afford that. Why would banks refuse from such a way of guarantee?

The answer was a good one, I have to say:

- We hope that Russian bankers will be mastering the methods of the work that are typical for Western bankers. A growing competition is a very important factor. A change of the banking psychology is the realization of a perspective.

I turn my dictaphone off. There is nothing for me to tape.

I recalled the press conference of Mr. Julian Schweitzer, the World Bank Director for Russia. Last year he chaired the group of World Bank's specialists that was getting acquainted with the Krasnoyarsk region. Mr. Schweitzer said: “There are several issues that have not been settled yet. The major one of them is as follows. Small business enterprises come across difficulties at their attempts to attract money for their  development.”

Foreign guests promised to break Russian bankers’ cautious psychology. They promised to secure the guarantees of the World Bank when crediting small business enterprises. Krasnoyarsk businessmen did not see that. As far as bankers are concerned, the favorable influence of the West has already brought happy results for them. It goes about the emergency introduction of international financial accounting standards.

As it is known, the firm PricewaterhouseCoopers won the tender and got hold of the contract in the year 2000. Now this company (together with Tacis) is assisting the Central Bank of Russia in the introduction of those accounting standards. This is a serious matter: almost all instructions of the Central Bank have to be rewritten. January 1, 2004 is the deadline.

To be continued.

Pavel Poluyan

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Author`s name Olga Savka