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Public hearing of draft Financial Inclusion Strategy for Russia has taken place

The document’s authors provided their answers to the questions from representatives of professional associations of market participants, non-governmental organisations and human rights advocacy groups, institutions for the development and support of small and medium business, and respective ministries and government bodies, who also offered constructive proposals with regard to improving and clarifying certain provisions of the Financial Inclusion Strategy for Russia in 2018–2020.

The meeting participants praised the Strategy in general, it being the first Russian official document aimed at systematically solving issues related to the financial inclusion of remote and rural regions, the low-income population, people with disabilities and mobility issues, as well as small and medium enterprises. The attendees agreed that the priority areas for improvement should include increasing the speed and quality within the growing segment of digital financial services.

The Strategy’s authors noted that it must be viewed together with other strategic documents in related spheres, such as National Consumer Rights Protection Strategy for Russia up to 2030, Strategy for the Improvement of Financial Literacy of the Population in Russia for 2017-2023, and Guidelines for Financial Technologies Development for 2018-2020.

During the discussion, some clarifying comments regarding certain Strategy provisions were heard. In particular, it was proposed that priority issues for small and medium enterprises should include increased accessibility and quality of business risk insurance services. Moreover, the meeting participants noted that the financing institutions for new entrepreneurs should be supplemented by microfinance organisations that provide funding for businesses. The meeting also included a discussion on the necessity of adopting a standard for responsible lending, which is being currently developed by the Bank of Russia together with the Agency for Housing Mortgage Lending and credit institutions interested in the matter.

Based on the results of the meeting, the Bank of Russia proposed establishing an expert council responsible for monitoring the Strategy implementation that would include representatives of different institutions who participated in the public hearing of the document.

It is expected that the Bank of Russia will approve the final version of the draft Financial Inclusion Strategy for Russia in March.

15 February 2018

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