Russian Banking

Russian Banking

Evolution, Problems and Prospects

New Horizons in Money and Finance series

Edited by David Lane

Russian Banking considers the rise of commercial market-oriented banks in Russia, their links with government and non-financial companies and their role as intermediaries in the provision of finance for investment. The contributors explore the legacy of the Soviet past and current functions of the Russian banking system, contrasting these with those in other post-communist societies and describing peculiarities such as informal networks and corruption.

Chapter 4: The View from the Ground: Case Studies of Three Major Banks (Sberbank, Uneximbank/Rosbank, Bank of Moscow)

David Lane and Irene Lavrentieva


4. The view from the ground: case studies of three major banks (Sberbank, Uneximbank/Rosbank, Bank of Moscow) David Lane and Irene Lavrentieva Reminiscent of the early days of the Industrial Revolution in the West, at the beginning of the period of marketization, the number of commercial banks in 1992 was 1215 and the number grew to reach 1605 by 1996. By 2 000, there were 1338 banks (‘credit organizations’ as they are defined by the Central Bank of Russia), of which 21 were completely foreign owned. (For details see Appendix 1.2, Chapter 1 of this collection). While large in number by contemporary European standards, the USA, due to legal and other constraints, has an even larger number of banks. In the 1920s in the USA there were over 20 000 banks and even today the number still runs into five figures. In 1995, there were 10 958 FEIC-insured commercial banks, 2 262 savings institutions and 12 317 credit unions. (Data from US Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of United States for 1995. Washington DC 1995, 518.) These banks vary tremendously in size of assets, liabilities, capital and number of branches. A small number of banks dominates the banking sector and there is a long tail of very small banks. Appendix 4.1 to this chapter ranks the top 50 Russian banks by size of assets in 2001. The table lists their location, number of branches and employees, assets, capital, levels of retail and corporate deposits.1 It is clearly impossible...

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