Russian lenders wrestle over capital rules drive
Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.com T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email [email protected] to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found at https://www.ft.com/tour. https://www.ft.com/content/5d383ee8-dea7-11e8-9f04-38d397e6661c A failed attempt to clean up Russia’s inefficient state banking sector has highlighted a clash between the country’s central bank and powerful Kremlin-backed interests. Elvira Nabiullina, Russia’s central bank governor, has won broad praise for a crackdown on the country’s troubled banking sector that led to hundreds of small lenders being shut down and three top 10 private banks nationalised. However, even Ms Nabiullina — who enjoys strong support from president Vladimir Putin — has struggled with her latest move to shake up the state banks. At issue is a push to make the top 11 “systemically important” banks create a buffer of 1 per cent of risk-weighted assets to comply with Basel III capital adequacy regulations. At the same time, the finance ministry demands state-run companies pay 50 per cent of profits in dividends to fund the budget. VTB and Gazprombank, the largest state banks after Sberbank, remain below some of those Basel III requirements. The banks say regulation is already onerously strict: Russian risk-weighted assets are 91 per cent of total, one of the highest ratios worldwide. Without Sberbank’s near-monopoly on retail, VTB and Gazprombank are more vulnerable to risks from lending to Russia’s corporate sector, which itself is state-dominated and frequently inefficient.