Taking part in the meeting were Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin, Economic Development Minister Maxim Reshetnikov, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina, Head of the Federal Taxation Service Daniil Yegorov, as well as CEOs of Alfa Bank, Sberbank of Russia, Sovcombank, Bank FC Otkritie, VTB Bank, Promsvyazbank and the VEB.RF State Development Corporation.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,
The coronavirus epidemic has affected the entire world and threatens first of all people’s lives and health. But its impact on the economy and whole industries is equally dangerous. Our common and most urgent task is to minimise this negative effect and reduce inevitable socioeconomic losses.
This is the reason why alongside steps on preventing the disease and stepping up healthcare capabilities we have also taken a number of decisions to support Russian families, jobs, helping individual entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized businesses and key companies.
I would stress straightaway that the banking community plays a crucial role in implementing many of those steps. I am aware that credit organisations have already taken on an additional load – I will say frankly, we keep talking about it with colleagues from the banking community – including losses due to anti-crisis assistance to their customers. I understand these and other challenges the banks are dealing with now.
You work directly with people and companies and are familiar with their problems and needs. It largely depends on you to make the support measures work effectively and reach everyone who needs them.
I mean the payment holiday on mortgages and personal loans for people who lost more than 30 percent of their income; preferential loans to entrepreneurs to replenish their working capital and pay wages; additional protection for organisations, people and individual entrepreneurs if, for objective reasons, they cannot service their loans.
These and other decisions are aimed at helping Russian families overcome the current difficulties and making sure that companies and enterprises do not stop their operations, keep their staff and the level of people’s salaries and fulfil orders for their suppliers and subcontractors in the current difficult situation.
Let me note the preferential mortgage programme, under which a loan for new housing can be taken out at a rate of 6.5 percent until November 1. The rest will be compensated by the state during the entire period of the mortgage, as I have already said. Thus, this measure of support for Russian families will be long-term.
Banks have already assumed certain responsibilities and begun accepting applications for such loans. I ask you to tell us about this work, cooperation with developers and measures taken to make it possible for mortgage applications to be processed faster, with fewer formalities, and even online.
It is also important that the money does not remain only with the developers but works and maintains employment in related industries, along the entire cooperation chain. I repeat what I have already talked about in the past: the construction of housing and infrastructure facilities – in strict accordance with all sanitary norms and requirements – must continue.
In general, today, together with the banking community representatives, we will discuss the implementation of the proposed support measures for people and the economy and the work of the Government, regions and businesses in this sphere.
We can see that there are obvious problems and difficulties here when people cannot get repayment holiday and entrepreneurs cannot get preferential loans. They are either refused immediately, or the decision takes too long, or the requirements are clearly impossible, and there are a lot of cases like that.
I consider it very important to emphasise that it is not enough to just announce the adopted decisions. It is necessary to work on all stages of their implementation to make sure that assistance comes on time and those who need it are able to get it. Nobody needs abstract promises that do not affect people’s lives and the effect from such decisions and the allocated resources will be low.
I would like to ask the Government to analyse the situation and together with the Central Bank promptly introduce the necessary amendments to legislation. There are things to think over in this context.
I would like to draw your attention again to the following: all support instruments, including bank products and benefit schemes must be easily accessible for those individuals and companies for whom they are designed.
The Federal Taxation Service has launched a special e-service to help banks to make objective and quick decisions on easy loans, primarily for the payment of salaries. I would like to ask the head of this service, Mr Yegorov, to report today on how this works in practice.
There is one more important requirement. It is absolutely necessary to ensure the sustainability of the banking system. We must prevent a critical accumulation of bad debts and failures in the banks’ work. To reduce risks, it is necessary to enhance the mutual trust of the participants in the economic activity. We have already provided for a number of instruments, including guarantees from the Finance Ministry and VEB on easy credits and other bank products.
I would like to ask the Government, the Central Bank and the entire banking community to think of what else can be done to ensure a reliable credit portfolio without increasing the burden on borrowers.
There is one more point I would like to make. Banks certainly feel what is happening in the economy faster than it is reflected in statistics because all economic processes have a direct impact on banking. Therefore, I would like to ask the banking community to share its estimates of the current economic situation and your forecasts for the future.
Let me repeat that it is important for us to create conditions for resolving tasks in the medium and long-term perspective, considering that the banks’ ability to make loans much more accessible for individuals and companies and increase loan amounts will become a major factor in restoring and developing the Russian economy.
Let’s begin our discussion.