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25 Feb, 2008 20:07

Russia’s largest bank may loosen credit rules

Banks around the world may be tightening credit requirements, but in Russia the country's largest bank, Sberbank, is considering making is easier for borrowers to gain credit to bring more greater competition to the market.

The bank’s management is ready to make loans without the traditional guarantor – family or friend – who vouches for a borrower’s good character. They would also take in to account all sources of income, and not only income statements from the employer.

The bank’s been expected to overhaul its lending practices ever since the former Economic Development Minister German Gref became Sberbank’s CEO last November.
Meantime, some banks are already looking over their shoulder. The management of Absolut Bank say the new policy may significantly change the dynamics of the market.
“We think that with new changes Sberbank has strong chance of winning an even bigger share of the market. But a lot will depend on how it implements this decision because most of Sberbank’s competitors already use this more relaxed business model successfully. And it’s going to take time to roll this out through Sberbank’s numerous branches,” said Emil Yusupov, the head of retail dept, Absolut Bank.