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The Russians poor in the 90s still seem well-fed and prosperous

Россиянам нищие 90-е еще покажутся сытыми и благополучными

It seems that the financial situation of Russian households begins to worry not only themselves, but also Europe. The French newspaper Le Figaro, citing statistics of the world Bank reported: as of December 2018 total debt of Russian households reached a record over the decades of the indicators 210 billion euros.

A large share of responsibility for this situation, according to the authors of the publication lies on microfinance institutions. While the Russian banks, they note, have suggested in recent time the interest rate on loans at 10% per annum, the MFI gave citizens loans at 2% a day, which for Europe is unacceptable in principle.

In this regard, says Le Figaro, in the near future Russia can wait for the two in serious trouble. First, if inflation in the spring of this year will amount to more than 5% in the country may be a financial pyramid. Secondly, due to the entry into force of amendments to existing legislation regulating the activities of MFIs (recall from 28 January term repayment of a loan in the amount of 10 thousand not to exceed 15 days), the incentive to develop a “black market” lending. Which, in the opinion of the French commentators, by the end of last year has increased by 15%.

However, the Deputy Chairman of the Board VestaBank Alexey Fedorov believes that foreign analysts tend to exaggerate.

I am confident that the Central Bank will not allow any collapse in the market, — he has underlined in conversation with the correspondent “SP”. And if something happens, he promptly intervene in the situation. Of course, now people are really leveraged, but I wouldn’t say that this is some kind of critical mass. Allow some local distortions can take place, the microfinance market. But it is worth mentioning: these organizations operate in that niche, where banks lend to customers are not ready because of their very low credit worthiness. These are two completely different fields. However, the scope of work of MFIs is not so significant in comparison with the classical banking sector, so in this market, any significant shocks should not wait. The Bank of Russia effectively regulates the activities of MFIs and consistently the load increases.

However, the independent expert Anton Shabanov, paying tribute to all the rigidity and the effectiveness of Central Bank moves in the sphere of crediting of the population still believes that the undertaking had not today.

— In fact, all these measures like changes in the legislation in the sphere of the same microfinance should have thought much earlier, without waiting for such a sad outcome. What is accepted now is a kind of reassurance for the future. Existing lending problem will not solve it. Moreover, all such proposals like initiative to provide the Russians mortgage holidays are not global, and a one-time, piece character.

“SP”: — And when you can see the results?

— Of course, this will take a few years. For example, imposed on microfinance institutions limit the results will bear fruit somewhere two years later. During this time, and the severity of the mortgage burden will be reduced, and the size of the debt will be reduced, and other credit metrics will change. However, I would like to market micro-loans started to adjust much earlier. Because even relatively recently, while it was formed, was that called, wild about any restrictions or licensing, no one spoke. And then there’s the collectors were just doing what they wanted.

“SP”: — Why in principle they appeared, these MFIs?

— And why are they not supposed to appear? Was free, figuratively speaking, the clearing, which no one took. Here on business and went there to make money. Another thing that people should understand what’s going on. But, alas, financial literacy was very low, so they bought a beautiful, competent marketing gimmicks. The more that I remind, there were no restrictions from the state that this is impossible, but it suppose it is possible.

“SP”: — Ragnos Le Figaro regarding the occurrence of financial pyramids in Russia in the spring of 2019, with inflation above 6% has high chances of implementation?

— With this option, Yes. However, I would still specify that this is only one of many possible scenarios and not the real.

“SP”: — And what about the increase in market activity of “black credit”?

Here the opinion of Le Figaro I would agree. People don’t want to become bankrupt, do not want to have problems with the banks, they need some sources of lending. But the Central Bank for its harsh measures, blocks access to the official market. So, I think, some “black” or “gray schemes” to appear will still be. Suffice it to recall how during the “dry law” almost all the polls are cooked, and in the bans on foreign exchange transactions in the country still exist underground moneychangers. Unfortunately, there emerges a kind of vicious circle — the harder it will be to operate the Central Bank, the greater will be the response from “shady” dealers.

“SP”: — And what then to expect the Russians in the next 2-3 years?

— It will be a difficult time for someone is a very painful problem. Banking business model will be revised as the model of personal finances of the borrowers. Do not rule out that banks will behave more nervously. Given that our economy is not growing can cause a lot of delay. It would be a problem for individuals who are not able to repay their loans. This will also be a problem for the banking sector, because a big delay would require large reserves, and it is nothing like the potential loss of profits for the leading section of our economy. From its development depends the future of the credit market.

And the economy is really not growing and no bright prospects on the horizon appears. As rasskaju “SP” analyst group FINAM Alexey Korenev, even under the neutral scenarios of development of events, without a global movement for the best officially recorded by Rosstat, inflation may be around 6%. By the way, another question, as it would take Rosstat, considering his penchant for “uluchshiteli” allocations “in hindsight”.

Real incomes of Russians, the expert noted, the relatively well-2018, at sufficiently high oil prices and taxes, in the presence of periods of business activity and subject to the payments to state employees, and fell by 0.2%. And this year all started badly — VAT increased excise taxes on tobacco, alcohol and a number of other most popular goods went up, petrol prices have already increased and it is unclear what will happen with them again. The cost of public transport has increased, aviation is threatening to raise the price of air transportation in the range of from 3% to 23% depending on direction. What kind of promotion.

Against this background, a very disturbing look some numbers with “SP” shared senior managing partner of the Moscow Law Bureau “Shcheglov and Partners”, candidate of economic Sciences Yuri Shcheglov:

— Each year since changes in bankruptcy law, number of bankruptcy cases of individuals increases. So, at the end of December 2018 in the Uniform Federal register of data on bankruptcy was 95 528 bankrupt among citizens (without IE). On 100 thousand inhabitants in December 2018, there had been 65 instead of 35 bankrupt in December 2017. Accordingly, in December 2018, the increase was almost double — 5020 real bankrupt is 3220 in December 2017.

Of course, a little calm that in the next year, in its credit policy, according to Alexey Fedorova, the banks will, perhaps, only on the change in annual rates, but other likely changes in terms of loan products like the tightening of the parameters of the contract, say no. At the same time, he assured, dramatically it is unlikely to change, so that adjustment during the year will fluctuate in the range of 1-1. 5%. However, even such a small increase in case of stagnation of the economy could lead to rising defaults among citizens-debtors. A magic “wand” — the recognition of individuals bankrupt — and could not work.

— First, — draws the attention of Yury Shcheglov, is not always the procedure leads to complete liberation from debt. Depending on the circumstances, the court may apply the following procedure: the debt restructuring, sale of property, settlement agreement. Immediate forgiveness of all debts should not wait. Secondly, there are a number of adverse consequences of recognition of a citizen bankrupt: the prohibition on repeat bankruptcy in the next 5 years; obligation to notify all organizations that provide loans about their status; temporary ban on holding management positions. In recognition of a citizen as bankrupt, the court may ban a citizen from travel abroad. This ban will be in effect until the completion of the sale of the property.

It turns out that for quite a long time the path to “honest banking” the loan is for the citizens closed. Therefore, the only place where they have something to occupy, remains the microfinance market. But as soon as the impressive part of it is “black”, it will open up a wide field of activity for the “black” collectors.

“On paper, said on condition of anonymity, one of the specialist services of debt collection to the correspondent of “SP”, will all that being said, rank by rank. Calls, meetings as many times as is necessary under the law, so that the mosquito nose are not undermined. In fact, demand the return of the debt in case of delay will be absolutely incomprehensible to people who, as they say, just passing through. Of the debtor, to paraphrase a famous movie, they never will know, but a burning dislike for him to experience that will be ready for anything. Up to the implementation of perestroika episodes of criminal Chronicles with soldering irons, irons and basins with concrete solution. Against such creditor legislation debtors, alas, not an assistant. But in another way the illegal market loans work unlikely that anyone would be, you know. “Black” MFIs will need this safety net from unfair clients.”

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