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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Law Aims to Enhance Powers of Central Bank

Russia's parliament is considering changes in banking laws that would strengthen the independence of the Central Bank and expand its powers over commercial banks, the head of the parliamentary budget committee said Tuesday.

Alexander Pochinok, chairman of the parliamentary budget committee, told a special meeting on Russian banking that a revised draft of the Law on the Central Bank would include a clause stating that: "The Central Bank is independent of the executive and legislative powers".

If adopted, this clause would be a major change for the Central Bank, which now answers to parliament and has been drawn into the power struggle between the legislative and executive.

Pochinok said that his committee also favored stronger control by the Central Bank over commercial banks, including greater rights to audit commercial banks.

Banks complained, however, that the Central Bank already has too much power. Sergei Yegorov, chairman of the Association of Russian Banks, told parliament the Central Bank interfered too much with commercial banks, making it hard to credit small businesses.