President Vladimir Putin: Good day, dear colleagues.
I will say a few words at the beginning of our meeting. I would like to discuss today the prospects for development of the domestic banking system. Let me begin by noting that Russian banks had a pretty good year in 2007. The assets of the banking sector increased by more than 44 per cent and it handled more than 20 trillion rubles. Bank capital grew even more — by 57.9 percent, to 2.7 trillion roubles. And this is certainly a good sign, since it shows that the stability of our banking system in recent years has increased significantly.
The banking sector played an important role in stimulating economic growth in the country. Loans to businesses and private individuals reached 37.3 percent of GDP. Starting in 2004, the share of bank loans and financing investment has grown from 6.4 to 11 per cent. And, most importantly, the economy and our citizens have shown a growing confidence in the domestic banking system as a whole. Both the state and the banking sector have accumulated important, very large financial reserves. Now their main task is to manage them sensibly and efficiently. We need to give a serious impetus to the further strengthening of the banking system: the development of credit facilities, support for economic growth and the innovative restructuring of the economy.
I am sure that all of you are familiar with what I have said about the development of our country up to 2020, and with what Dmitry Anatolevich Medvedev has said in this regard. And, of course, for the creation of a new social policy your work is crucial. That is all I would like to say for now. Let us look more closely at the details of problems that need to be discussed.