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Banking

Alfa-Bank CEO shrugs off retail lending curbs

Russia’s leading private sector lender looks to mortgages to maintain pace of loan growth.

Russia’s Alfa-Bank can maintain strong growth in retail lending despite new curbs on the segment, according to chief executive Vladimir Verkhoshinskiy.

In response to rising concerns about over-indebtedness among retail borrowers, the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) in October implemented a raft of new regulation designed to slow the pace of retail lending growth.

Vladimir Verkhoshinsky 160x186

Vladimir
Verkhoshinskiy

Russian banks are now obliged to calculate debt service to income (DSTI) ratios for retail borrowers. Loans to consumers with high DSTI levels incur substantially higher risk-weightings. The CBR has also raised risk weights for mortgages with loan-to-value ratios above 80%.

This follows measures in April that sharply increased risk weightings for unsecured consumer loans with an effective interest rate of more than 10%. Central bankers expect the two rounds of regulation to slow retail lending growth to 10% in 2020 from close to 20% during the past two years.

One of the leading drivers of growth in the segment has been Alfa-Bank. Russia’s largest privately owned lender grew its retail portfolio by 60% last year.

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