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Monday, March 27, 2017

Moody's: Record consumer debt hurting Russian banks

Moody's Investor Services recently said that Russian retail banks face a glut of bad loans after a four-year credit spree among consumers led to record post-Soviet era personal debt levels.

Consumer debt soared 51 percent to $800 million in the first nine months of the year, nearly double the amount during the same period in 2012, according to the latest central bank data, Bloomberg reports.

"The level of personal leverage was much lower in 2008 because there hadn't been such a burst of retail lending like we're seeing now," Eugene Tarzimanov, a senior analyst for Russian financial institutions at Moody's in Moscow, said, according to Bloomberg. "We still expect personal leverage to rise a bit more."

Central Bank Chairman Elvira Nabiullina told lawmakers in Moscow on Nov. 20 that retail lending may become a "threat to financial stability" instead of a stimulus for growth.

Home Credit & Finance analyst Stanislav Duzhinsky told Bloomberg that the pace of credit growth has slowed "significantly" since the central bank imposed higher capital adequacy requirements and lenders started using tougher assessment standards.

"Because the share of mortgages is less than 30 percent of the total retail portfolio, the credit burden on households will start to fall as current liabilities are repaid," Duzhinsky said, Bloomberg reports. "We expect positive changes as soon as next year."