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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Baltic Banking Giant Sets Up Shop

Hansabank, the largest financial institution in the Baltic states, has started banking operations in Russia and will specialize in long-term loans to commercial clients, the bank said Tuesday.

Hansabank, which plans to offer commercial loans with terms of up to 10 years, joins a handful of banks that offer long-term financing in Russia, including Raffeisenbank and Citibank.

The bank began operations in Russia with a leasing business in 2002.

The news comes at a time when Russian lenders are pushing for greater lending protection in order to make the banking system more stable. Longer-term financing tools guard against a run on the bank in times of crisis.

Russian law currently obliges lenders to return deposits to clients upon request. A report in Vedomosti earlier this week said the government was likely to change this law.

Russians are typically loath to commit their money to a financial institution for an extended period of time.

"Nobody wants to put money in the banks for 10 years, so the banks couldn't give long-term loans," said Richard Hainsworth, CEO of RusRating, a Moscow-based company that rates banks.

State-owned Sberbank, the country's largest bank, does not lend money for more than eight years, Hainsworth said.

Established in Estonia in 1991, Hansabank is 100 percent owned by Swedbank.