Retail Ruble Deposits Fall 2% in September

MTRetail ruble deposits have seen their biggest one-month drop since 2005.
Russian banks saw retail ruble deposits fall by 2 percent in September, while corporate loans grew at their slowest pace in 2 1/2 years as the global credit crunch left its mark, Central Bank data showed Saturday.

Retail deposits in the local currency fell to 5.06 trillion rubles ($221.9 billion) on Oct. 1, from 5.17 trillion rubles a month earlier.

Personal deposits at Russian banks fell 1.5 percent.

The fall was partially compensated by an increase in foreign currency deposits, which saw a rise of 2.8 percent to 831.2 billion rubles, but overall retail accounts saw an outflow of 87.9 billion rubles, or around 1.5 percent, taking their value down to 5.89 trillion rubles.

That was the biggest monthly percentage drop over the period covered by the banking statistics data on the Central Bank's web site, which goes back to the start of 2005.

There have been no major bank runs in Russia, but the global financial crisis and the depreciation of the ruble against the dollar has made some people less willing to hold their savings in ruble deposits, especially at smaller banks.

Russia has over 1,000 banks, though the top five account for 43 percent of the sector's assets.

The share of the smaller institutions has shrunk, with those ranked from 201 onward now accounting for 7.2 percent of assets compared with 8.5 percent at the start of the year.

The data also showed banks' credits to nonfinancial companies growing just 1.7 percent in September — their slowest monthly growth in 2 1/2 years — to 12.03 trillion rubles.

Total pre-tax profits in the sector reached 354.8 billion rubles for the first nine months of the year, only slightly up from 353.5 billion a month earlier. The sum includes profits at profitable banks, offset by losses at the 65 loss-making ones.