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State Duma Deputies and Bankers Discuss the Current Situation and the Future

On 28 April 2020, the Chairman of the Russian State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, chaired a video conference meeting on banking issues with the Russian Central Bank Governor, Elvira Nabiullina. The meeting was attended by heads of State Duma committees and parliamentary groups. Heads of Russian banks also attended, including Dr Vasily Vysokov, Chairman of Center-invest Bank’s Board of Directors.

The meeting discussed bank participation in government programmes to support businesses and households, and challenges arising in their implementation. The attendees also proposed an action plan for the timely updating of legislation to address the banking system’s sustainable development in the new environment.

To stimulate the participation of regional banks in government support programmes, Dr Vysokov proposed:

  • the inclusion of regional banks in government support programmes on the basis of national ratings;
  • the keeping of public registers of banks participating in government support programmes;
  • the development of social payments processing on the basis of the Mir national card, to support vulnerable groups of the population within the framework of state financed programmes and philanthropy.

"A regional bank is not about size or location; it is about the effective management of customers’ regional risks, gradually, step by step, in the interests of long-term returns, not immediate profit," said Dr Vysokov. "When involving banks in government support measures, it is important to always remember that at the other end of a bank’s balance sheet are household deposits and company funds. With regional banks, this means your neighbour’s deposits and money belonging to the companies where his family works."

Center-invest Bank has responded proactively, taking steps to ensure the safety of employees and customers throughout its branches, expanding the range of remote banking services, scrapping fees for payments made using remote channels, and assisting vulnerable citizens. The bank continues to provide loans on preferential terms for spring field work, SMEs, youth, women’s and social entrepreneurship and energy efficiency projects. It also has preferential mortgage programmes.

On 1 April 2020 Center-invest Bank joined other lenders in providing loan holidays to retail and business customers. The bank’s own support programmes are geared towards a broader range of sectors and use a greater variety of debt restructuring methods. The bank is accepting all applications and communications remotely.

A crisis ends when there is a post-crisis development strategy. Center-invest Bank has launched an online survey, inviting businesses to independently evaluate their position and create their own business transformation programmes (

Following the meeting, proposals were produced for the heads of State Duma committees on the drafting of legislation required for the functioning of a distance economy.