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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sberbank to Offer 'Microcredit'

Sberbank will begin offering small business loans worth up to 1 million rubles ($29,000), the state bank announced Tuesday.

Business owners will have to back the two-year "microcredit" loans with personal collateral, Sberbank said. The smallest loan that will be offered in the program will be 30,000 rubles ($880), the bank added in an e-mailed comment.

At a time when smaller banks are focused on self-preservation, it is really just big banks like Sberbank that can afford not to tighten credit lines, said Mark Rubenstein, a banking analyst at Metropol. "For the loan recipients that are now cut off from smaller banks, it's a lifeline."

The government has instituted a number of programs aimed at propping up small and midsized businesses, including subsidized loans, state guarantees and state orders. In February, the government gave 30 billion rubles to Vneshekonombank in a program intended to help refinance small business loans.