Banks allowed to take risks – Gazeta Kommersant № 56 (7257) from 04/01/2022

The Central Bank has introduced another package of measures to support banks. This time they will affect the loan portfolios of small and medium-sized businesses, as well as system-forming enterprises. Theoretically, this should allow banks to expand lending, experts and market participants admit, but there are no guarantees of such a result: lending activity is influenced by many other factors.

According to the Bank of Russia, the new easing will affect loans to small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), as well as system-forming enterprises (246 in total).

  • In particular, SMEs are expected to expand loans for which risk assessment takes place without the use of official reports based on intra-bank creditworthiness indicators, from 10 million rubles. up to 50 million rubles. “This will reduce the operational burden on banks and facilitate the issuance of such loans,” – said the Central Bank.
  • For revolving loans to system-forming enterprises, it is planned to reduce the risk weight for I and II quality categories to 20% for the portfolio secured by VEB.RF guarantee, to 85% for those not secured if the borrower does not belong to investment class, and up to 65%, if applicable.
  • The benefit will be valid for one year from the date of the loan and will apply to loans granted until December 31, 2022 inclusive.

Experts note that the new measures for SMEs will expand lending opportunities in this segment. In total, according to the Central Bank, 430.9 thousand are indebted to banks. SME entities by 7.6 trillion rubles. The new easing will not lead to the dissolution of reserves, but will reduce the amount of financial documents that customers submit to the bank to obtain a loan, said chief analyst at Sberbank Mikhail Matovnikov. According to him, increasing the threshold amount for the application of internal creditworthiness assessment will allow to offer more flexible financing instruments to a large number of clients.

Elvira NabiullinaHead of the Central Bank, March 18:

As for lending, its growth has continued in recent weeks, but most likely due to the use of previously approved credit limits. In the future, we expect a weakening of lending activity.

A set of measures to facilitate SME lending could be quite useful in the current situation, especially in the most volatile industries, according to NKR senior managing director Alexander Proklov. In general, the measures taken reduce the burden on capital in the first place, especially for large banks that lend to systemically important companies through subsidies, he said.

These measures stimulate banks’ lending activity, allowing them to use more available capital, adds Valery Piven, senior director of the ACRA Financial Institutions Rating Group:

“But it is difficult to assess the prospects for the impact on portfolio growth, as they also depend on the availability of financial resources and the risk appetite of banks.”

As part of other measures to support the Central Bank decided to temporarily abandon the initiatives planned for 2022. These include the introduction of a standard concentration of large credit risks per counterparty (or group of related, H30), the implementation of the concept of regulation of immobilized assets (one type of such assets is banks’ investments in ecosystem development), the establishment of differentiated surcharges depending on their size, volume of retail deposits, etc. (it was supposed to allocate five groups with a range of allowances of 1-3.5%).

Postponing the introduction of new measures is rather neutral, says Valery Piven. This relieves banks from the additional burden of operating activities, he explains. Banks expect not temporary, but permanent concessions to reduce the mandatory reporting on AML / CFT, which takes up a lot of resources, adds NSFR Deputy Head Alexander Naumov: “We invited the Central Bank and Rosfinmonitoring to think about a significant reduction in mandatory reporting. In particular, it is a question of raising limits on operations without identification, to raise a threshold value on the operations which are subject to obligatory control, from 600 thousand. руб. up to 1.5 million rubles, and for real estate transactions – up to 10 million rubles, as well as to introduce threshold values ​​for the control of NGO operations and transfers from abroad.

Olga Sherunkova, Maxim Buylov

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