MOSCOW, Feb 26 (Reuters) - The Russian central bank has hosted a meeting with representatives of commercial banks and think-tanks, seeking feedback and advice from the banking sector it oversees, three people who attended the first such meeting told Reuters.
Having halved the number of banks in Russia to 440 as of early 2019, the central bank plans to meet with experts once a quarter to listen to views on banking sector trends.
“Yesterday, at the central bank, there was a meeting of its leadership with experts,” said Kirill Tremasov, the head of research at Loko-Invest and a former head of the forecasting department at the economy ministry.
The meeting discussed competition in the banking sector, an issue with which the state has become increasingly involved, Tremasov said.
The central bank has taken over several major banks in recent years, including Otkritie and Promsvyazbank, in order to limit risks to Russia’s financial stability.
A source close to the central bank told Reuters that the Central Bank’s Governor Elvira Nabiullina, First Deputy Governor Dmitry Tulin and Deputy Governor Vasily Pozdyshev took part in the meeting.
The initial plan was to discuss the structure of the banking sector, retail lending and debt burden on the corporate sector but only the first topic was covered, the source said.
The central bank indicated at the meeting that it was interested in attracting foreign capital into the Russian banking sector but that appeared contradictory following the recent Baring Vostok case, Tremasov said.
Concerns were raised about the business climate in Russia when state prosecutors this month charged Baring Vostok’s Michael Calvey, the U.S. founder of one of Russia’s biggest private equity firms, with fraud.
The Baring Vostok issue was not raised at the central bank’s event, said another banking sector source who took part in the meeting.
The central bank declined to comment. (Reporting by Elena Fabrichnaya; Additional reporting by Andrey Ostroukh and Tatiana Voronova Writing by Andrey Ostroukh, editing by Ed Osmond)