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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sberbank Inks Deal With Credit Bureau

MTThe country's biggest lender has signed an agreement with a major credit bureau in a bid to cut its credit risk.
The country's biggest lender, Sberbank, said Monday that it had signed an agreement with a major credit bureau in a bid to cut its credit risk.

The deal with the National Bureau of Credit Histories comes after last year's introduction of legislation requiring banks to cooperate with at least one credit bureau. The reform is expected to cut borrowing costs, as banks limit the amount they lose to bad debtors.

The agreement is Sberbank's first with an outside agency. It already operates its own credit bureau, Info-Kredit.

The deal with the National Bureau of Credit Histories, the nation's largest in terms of database size, is a first step toward a full exchange of information between Sberbank and the bureau, the bureau's general director, Alexander Vikulin, said at a news conference Monday.

The agreement between the two parties is first of two required before Sberbank can gain access to the bureau's complete database of clients. The time frame for the second agreement remains unclear. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Retail lenders like Sberbank are often not willing to share information with outside credit organizations and have their own credit agencies to keep a tally of good clients within their own systems, said Natalya Ponomaryova, deputy head of RusRating agency.

"You don't want to give away a good client," Ponomaryova said, praising Sberbank for having taken the first step with the bureau.

With Sberbank, the National Bureau of Credit Histories has now signed deals with a total of 446 banks, Vikulin said.

It is currently negotiating with two other banks -- Russky Standart, and Home Credit and Finance Bank -- Vikulin said. Russky Standart also has its own internal credit bureau.

Speaking at Monday's event, Sberbank chairman Andrei Kazmin noted that only negative information about clients would be passed on to the credit bureau. That information would be passed on only with the client's consent and a court ruling, he said.

Other banks share information with the bureau if a client is 30 days late with a bill payment, Vikulin said.

A total of 13 credit bureaus have so far been accredited with the Federal Service for Financial Markets.