Nabiullina, Aven and Gref argued on competition among banks

Herman Gref as the representative of the largest Bank in Russia, believes that the Bank is not an obstacle to competition, but rather its driver. “With regard to the overall infrastructure, there is approaches to development top-down and bottom-up. I am a supporter of the second track, as “top-down” little sprouts” – said Gref.

According to him, the high barrier in the financial industry there, so as to build a p2p system is possible without a large investment. Moreover, FINTECH is not as strictly regulated as the banking business, said Gref.

As noted Nabiullina, there are three approaches to the development of financial technology on the market. The first implies non-interference of the state. In this case, will be formed by two or three ecosystems, which connect all the other players.

The second approach is the opposite: the development of technology paid for by the government. A third way that the Bank considers to be more convenient, is the creation of basic infrastructure by the state and part of the solutions market. This approach is already being implemented: the state has created a system of remote authentication, biometric database, the system of quick payments. “Then the institutions should have themselves to compete with each other”, – said the head of the Central Bank.

According to the banker, now on the market formed a new entity – “newbank”. It is a financial company that receives a banking license and having then a full range of financial services.

“I’m for competition, we supported the competition, and if you notice, we in our history have not bought any Bank in the market. The actions of the regulator we consider as limitation. If today made a decision of the Central Bank, we realize that this restriction, and we’ll adjust to him, but to no good it will not. But if a competitor brought a good product, for us it is a challenge. The most important thing is to maintain a competitive environment and not to build restrictions”, – said Gref.

Peter Aven, in turn, reminded that the Bank is a commercial organization that makes money. “Therefore, the desire of the Bank to use their advantage, in particular, the size, and create a closed system within itself – of course, to criticize the Bank is difficult. They do what you need them to shareholders. On the other hand, the world is becoming more open thanks to the Internet and digitalization. Closed systems will disappear”, – said the banker. According to him, the Antimonopoly agencies and the regulator in fact promote competition. “The struggle with the Bank, which has 50% of the market, is to promote competition, not limit,” – concluded Aven.

But Elvira Nabiullina believes that the situation with competition in the banking sector is far from ideal. “The Central Bank often hear fair criticism that increased the share of the public sector. We very much hope that financial technology will develop the banking system. Technology leaders are really moving the market forward,” – said the head of the Central Bank. She noted that monopoly kills the drive for innovation in the banking market.

“I don’t know how many will be major players in the market, consolidation of the banking system will continue. But it is important that this consolidation has not led to the fact that the market one or two players and there is no competition,” summarized Nabiullina.

According to “Expert RA”, in 2017 the share of state banks in banking system assets increased from 63% to nearly 71%. For the period from 1 August 2017 1 August 2018 the assets of the banking system gained 13%, while the assets of banks with state participation – 14%. According to the forecast of the Agency, in 2018, the trend towards the strengthening of the role of banks with state participation will continue in connection with the growth of their assets, and because of the potential increase in the number of banks in the reorganization in PCBS.

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