Banking sector: is there any reason for statement about the crisis?

At year-end 2015 the head of the Savings Bank has assessed the economic situation in Russia as a large-scale banking crisis. According to experts, the signs of crisis of the banking system are:

  • lack of liquidity or bank capital;
  • massive recall of banking licenses, customers’ distrust in banks and banks themselves to each other;
  • reduction in lending and increase in the share of «bad debts»;
  • reduction of banks' profit.

At the present time banks do not known what lack of liquidity is because of efforts of the CB of the RF. The significant inflow of liquidity in the banking sector was due to the receipt of funds via budget channel, conducting of operations on investment of money of the National Welfare Fund, deposition of funds of local budgets and non-budgetary funds in credit institutions.

Since January 2015 there is a tendency of debt reduction of banks. At the end of November 2015 the debt of credit institutions on refinancing operations of the Bank of Russia decreased up to 3,3 trillion rubles, on deposit operations of the Federal Treasury – up to 1,0 trillion rubles, on loans secured by non-marketable assets or guarantees of credit institutions – up to 2,1 trillion rubles.

As of December 1, 2015 there were 688 active credit institutions (banks) with the right to conduct banking operations. For the period from the 1st of January 2015 95 banks had been liquidated. A significant number of revoked licenses should arouse mistrust in the banking system and thus demonstrate one of the signs of crisis. However, in most cases the winding-up of banks is not due to financial reasons, but initiated by the regulator as a punishment for illegal actions - you mustn’t put up with the fact that banks violate the requirements of the CB of the RF, «anti-money laundering» legislation, carry out shady transactions, lose capital or its amount is not large enough, do not fulfill obligations to creditors and depositors. Just the failure to take strong measures to careless banks can arouse mistrust in the banking sector as a whole, that’s the Mega-regulator will continue the practice of the revocation of licenses.

Reduction of deposits, in lending and, consequently, of banks' profit are the least connected with mistrust on the part of individuals and legal entities. Complex processes in the economy have led to a decrease in revenue and an erosion of purchasing power. A consumer has simply no available cash that he would like to bring to a bank. Existing bank rates on deposits do not cover inflation risks, that also makes it unprofitable to keep money on deposits.

Credit rates are clearly «over-the-top» today. For example, one of the largest banks offers 9 variants of loans for business, where the most minimum rate is 14,55%. If the amount of credit is 3 mln rubles, for the term - 3 years, then the amount of monthly payment should be 103 336,1 rubles by this rate, and the overpayment – 720 099,68 rubles. Is the business ready for such overpayment, to take 3 mln – to pay back almost 4 mln? Probably, not.

Or another example. The minimum rate on consumer credit among the top-50 banks is 14,90%. If the amount of credit is 1 mln rubles and its term - 3 years, then the amount of monthly payment should be 34 616,38 rubles by this rate, and the overpayment – 246 189,61 rubles. According to Rosstat, the average per capita incomes of people in the Russian Federation amounted to 30 514 rubles per month at the end of the 3rd quarter of 2015. With such credit conditions the amount of lending will certainly reduce, as a consequence - banks' profits drop.

The existing situation is hardly to be regarded as a crisis in the banking sector, it is more similar to the current problems caused by difficult economic trends. Among those in the banking industry are noticed by experts the following:

  • loan delinquency has increased both on legal and natural persons, that has allowed to talk about the deterioration of quality of credit portfolios;
  • delay in payments to contractors among companies has become the norm;
  • financial assistance from the DIA for the capitalization of banks applies only to large banks;
  • not all banks record distressed assets on the books;
  • necessity to create provisions for losses on non-performing loans and decrease in bank margin due to an increase of interest rates on borrowed funds continue to affect the profit, reducing it.

Problems can be overcome, and it largely depends on the measures taken, which will allow to manage liquidity, help small- and medium-sized banks, to deal with careless financial institutions, expand the segmentation of financial markets, to teach clients to work in new conditions.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN): everyday life and future directions

The Asia-Pacific Region (APR) continues to be in the highlight of politicians and economists of the largest countries across the world, including Russia. The continuous series of events is a proof of this:

  • in the beginning of October 2015 12 countries of APR reached an agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP);
  • the summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) was held in November 2015; APEC has 21 member economies; 
  • in the end of November 2015 the agreement on ASEAN Community was signed. 

Among reasons of keen interest to APR are: the growth of mutual goods turnover, negotiations on free trade zones and, in general, the intensification of the struggle for influence in this region. As the experts of Information Agency Credinform have already presented first two topics, the current article will be devoted to the results of ASEAN summit.

The organization was formed in 1967. It consists of 10 countries: Brunei, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines. It should be noted, that such countries as Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore are also members of TPP and APEC; this will allow other participants of ASEAN not to stay away from the development of economic cooperation, which is implemented in the framework of TPP, APEC etc.

The regular summit in the capital of Malaysia Kuala Lumpur was devoted to such questions as security enforcement, sustainable economic development of APR, and cooperation in the following sectors: energy, finance, health, emergency response, interconnectedness etc. In the framework of the summit bilateral meetings in the form of «ASEAN+1» (USA) or «ASEAN+2» (India, PRC) or «ASEAN+3» (Japan, China, South Korea) were held.

In general, ASEAN is a political, economic and cultural regional intergovernmental organization of countries, located in Southeast Asia. Its development level allowed conducting the negotiations with the USA, India, China, Australia and other countries on the rights of a single player. During the direct negotiations the President of the United States of America proposed to concentrate the forces of ASEAN on the development of economic relations with TPP countries. The Prime Minister of India called for a special collaboration with its State.

The Prime Minister of Russia participated in one of the extended formats of ASEAN – East Asia Forum, which was principally devoted to security issues. In the framework of the forum 18 countries adopted a joint declaration on maritime cooperation in the region; the members agreed to resolve conflicts and create general rules on the base of the United Nations Maritime Declaration. The document was also signed by the political leadership of the USA, China, Japan and Russia.

The negotiations of ASEAN and PRC were complicated by territorial claims of PRC to some sections of the South China Sea, therefore the negotiations were held behind closed doors. Nevertheless, China considers ASEAN as a priority region, encouraging trade and infrastructure construction in Southeast Asia. The initiative «Silk Road», promoted by China, promises new prospects of cooperation between China and ASEAN countries. 

The key event of the summit is the official signing of the agreement on the establishment of ASEAN Community - the agreement on regional integration of 10 Southeast Asia countries in economic, political and administrative areas. In accordance with the agreement, the following will occur: legislation would be brought to the uniform standards, the rapprochement of working techniques of legal systems, solving methods in the social, security fields and the field of business government control. As the ASEAN Community works in custom union mode within several years, the Community is compared with the Eurasian Economic Union, EAEU and similar formats of Europe. In the framework of agreement, the economic, political and administrative integration is expected to be completed by 2025.

Besides, Declaration on the Global Movement of Moderates is recognized as important document, which was signed by the ASEAN leaders and the leadership of Russia, USA, PRC, Australia, Japan and India. Its implementation basis includes the principle of "reasonable steps" in foreign policy. "Reasonable steps" are considered by participants as «universal value, contributing peace, security, development of social justice».

Russia considers its collaboration with ASEAN as a key direction of foreign policy. Therefore, special attention is paid to the necessity of interaction development with ASEAN countries in the following fields: security and peaceful settlement of conflicts. It is planned to hold a Russia-ASEAN summit in Sochi in May 2016. The summit will be devoted to the 20th anniversary since the launch of the official dialogue between the Russian Federation and the Association.