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Russia: Bank Chief Says Reforms Have Strengthened Banks

Kyiv, 10 May 1998 (RFE/RL) -- Russia's central bank chief Sergei Dubinin told the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development's board meeting in Kyiv today that reforms have made his country's banking sector stronger and more reliable than at any point since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Dubinin said he now considers about two-thirds of Russia's banks to be financially solid and that only one out of 20 are "in a difficult situation."

Dubinin noted that the total number of Russian banks has been reduced from more than 2,500 to about 1,600 during the last four years. He said some banks still must be "restructured or closed down," but this now represents only a small part of the sector.

He also pledged that the central bank will continue to increase its supervisory role over the banking sector.

Dubinin told EBRD delegates that he expects Russia's annual inflation rate to total only eight percent this year, down from 11 percent last year.