Banks, “Putin’s friends” will be allowed to operate on cash budget

The Ministry of Finance proposed to limit the range of banks that are allowed to conduct operations with means of the Federal budget and three extra-budgetary funds (pension Fund, social insurance Fund and FFOMS), such as service in public sector wages. The relevant draft government resolution has been published this week on the official website One of the mandatory requirements that will have to answer banks, — being under the control of the government or the Central Bank, and join the list of banks authorized to the accounts of strategically important companies (such banks now 27). This means that private banks will deny service operations with budget money. But for some banks would be exempt.

Banks subject to international sanctions, will be allowed to operate on public money, if a separate decision of the government. Such banks must meet all other requirements, including capital of at least 25 billion roubles (see incision). Only private banks under sanctions with a capital of not less than 25 roubles (according to the 123-th form of the Central Bank) is the Bank ‘Russia’ controlled by Yury Kovalchuk, Nikolai Shamalov and Gennady Timchenko, and SMP Bank brothers Arkady and Boris Rotenberg. All these people, President Vladimir Putin called in April 2014 with his “good friends, friends”.

A source close to the Finance Ministry, confirms that the inclusion in the draft resolution of sanctions to banks is because these banks need support due to the restrictive measures of the USA and the EU. Such banks should contact the government, which will consider the request and take a decision, says the source. SMP Bank really matches all the requirements proposed by the Finance Ministry, which will be able to work with budgetary funds, said the representative of the press service of the Bank. Now SMP Bank is actively cooperating with the subjects of the budgetary sphere in terms of crediting of subjects of Federation and municipal formations, included into the five of leaders on this indicator, he added. According to him, SMP Bank has the right to involve pension accumulation, medical insurance and investment insurance companies. The representative of the press service of the Bank “Russia” has not responded to calls .

Banks wishing to maintain accounts of budget organizations will have to simultaneously satisfy five requirements of the Ministry of Finance:

— have a General license of the Central Bank to conduct banking operations,

to have the amount of capital not less than 25 billion rubles

— to be under direct or indirect control of the Central Bank or the Russian Federation (to be compiled by the Central Bank of the list of organizations allowed to work with strategically important organisations — there are now 141 of the Bank, of which state-controlled — 27),

— to participate in the system of compulsory Deposit insurance,

— not to have any penalties from the Bank for violation of mandatory standards

In the project of the Ministry of Finance is concerned with “the operations of the Federal budget and budgets of state extrabudgetary funds”, except for the operations on placing of budgetary funds on Bank deposits and purchases at the expense of budgetary funds of government securities. From article 156 of the Budget code referenced by the Ministry of Finance that we are talking about the opening and maintenance of accounts, “intended to issue and transfer of cash” to the organizations — recipients of budgetary funds. In particular, this is the salary account of the budget organizations, should be developed by the Federal Treasury regulations for the cash budgetary organisations. This was confirmed by a source in one state financial institutions.

From a presentation on the activities of the Federal Treasury for the year 2015, it follows that the volume of transfers in the article about ensuring the cash is estimated at 119 billion rubles But the accounts of commercial banks held only part of that money, the rest — through the branches of the Bank of Russia, follows from the Budget code. The Finance Ministry has not responded to the request , with representatives of the Treasury on Friday could not be reached. The press service of the Central Bank promised to give comment later.

Banks may charge a fee for the maintenance of such accounts, according to the Budget code, but to earn a salary budget projects are still possible: for example, banks receive a percentage of the transaction amount, if the holder of a salary card, plastic card paying for her purchases (a percentage of the Bank transfer payment system). But most importantly, banks get access to the temporarily free liquidity that can be placed on the market for overnight interbank loans. Banks in this case receive the flow of liquidity, they can earn on the overnight credits, says the head of the Association of Russian banks Garegin Tosunyan. According to him, the rate in this case is small, but you can earn due to the volume of funds.

The state is not the first time sanctions helps the banks. After the introduction of us sanctions in March 2014 Vladimir Putin instructed to take the Bank “Russia” “under protection” and ordered to transfer his presidential salary. His example was followed by other officials, including the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov. The Bank “Russia” one of the first Russian banks started working in the Crimea and, in particular, took to service the black sea fleet servicemen.

“As far as I understand, this is an average Bank,” Putin said right after the Bank “Russia” was included in the blacklist of the US Treasury Department. But the “average Bank” occupies 16th place in size of assets for the last eight years has increased almost in 10 times, up to 607 billion roubles (the data portal The basic shareholders of Bank — Yury Kovalchuk and Nikolay Shamalov (37,5% and 9.6% of the shares, respectively) — were the founders of the dacha cooperative “Ozero”, which United believed to be influential people in Putin’s circle. The U.S. Treasury named Kovalchuk as “the personal banker for senior Russian officials, including Putin.”

Although the Bank “Russia” and SMP Bank said that the sanctions have not significantly affected their work, the actions of the US authorities still caused them a lot of problems. As reported in March 2015 The Wall Street Journal, financial organizations in USA have blocked their accounts for no less than $572 million belonging to Bank “Russia”. At SMP Bank froze at least $65 million In the first days of sanctions, SMP Bank depositors withdrew money “at a speed exceeding 50 million rubles per hour,” American providers stopped updating for the Bank, and traders could not perform the usual operations of the exchange through terminals — “the situation back in the 1980s,” wrote Forbes magazine. According to Bloomberg, the Western sanctions inadvertently “joined” the Central Bank: in December 2014, the representatives of the Central Bank and the Finance Ministry met with the management of the banks targeted by the sanctions, including the Bank “Russia” and SMP Bank, and asked them not to borrow from the Central Bank for a period of more than 28 days, so that the funds could not be arrested while passing through correspondent accounts in the West.