The population of small towns (under 50 thousand of people) urban-type settlements and villages poorly covered by the network of Bank branches or their not there at all, said in the first review of the Bank of Russia on the state of financial inclusion in 2015. Citizens are forced to seek other channels of access to banking services, to the document.
An alternative is to use remote access to Bank accounts. According to the study, mobile and Internet banking can be used by 35% of the adult residents of cities with population less than 50 thousand people and towns, and 40.4% of rural residents.
In materials of the Central Bank does not specify what number of Russians inaccessible banks. In this regard, asked the experts to consider what number of Russians may be involved.
In Russia, about 700 cities with a population of 50 thousand people and 1.5 thousand towns, says the Director of the regional program of Independent Institute for social policy Natalya Zubarevich. Therefore, if we take into account the village, problems with walking distance to Bank branches can have about 40% of Russia’s population,” she says. The same evaluation cited in conversation with and head of the laboratory of research for social development, Institute for social analysis and prediction Ranepa Elena Avraamova.
Minimal presence of Bank branches in small towns has meant that their population was more ready for a remote service, than in most major cities. “In cities with a population of 50-100 thousand people is already several offices [of the banks], and the inhabitants simply use the [banking] Department, because of the small area of the city than to develop remote access”, — says the review. Remote banking in such cities are able to use only 25% of the adult population. In the cities the figure is 33.1%, in Moscow and St. Petersburg is 38.5%.
“The physical presence of financial institutions in settlements with a small number of residents is often not practical for these organizations,” — said in response the Bank of Russia on request . However, they still use a variant of the “Bank on wheels” when in town from time to time, the car comes with a credit or insurance organization, said the representative of the Central Bank. “Of course, there are remote villages, where there may not be even continuous mail service. In this case, villagers have self-service via the Internet,” admits the representative of the Bank of Russia. The Central Bank believes that in modern conditions a “physical” offices will inevitably be replaced by mobile and Internet banking.
From a review of the Central Bank that in the past year in Russia was closed every tenth branch of the Bank and with insurers and microfinance institutions losses were even higher at 16 and 12%, respectively. The number of ATMs fell by 7%, Bank payment terminals by 10%, the study says. “By the end of 2015 14% of all existing units [of banks] and 18.2% of the ATMs were in the two largest cities in Russia, who make up 0.02% of the area of the country”, — noted in the review. According to the Bank, by October 1, 2016, in Russia there were 34.8 thousand Bank branches, by October 1, 2015 — 37,7 thousand units to 1 Oct 2014 — more than 42 thousand
The reduction in the number of banking offices is a worldwide trend, says the chief analyst of Sberbank Mikhail Matovnikov. According to him, Russia is also moving in this direction. “In a few years, the number of Bank branches in the country will drop by half,” he predicts. Banks will increase the availability of online services, not the physical presence of the customer in the office, adds the analyst.
Reduction of Bank branches doubled in ten years and expects the Bank of Russia. With them by reducing fall and workers performing simple operations, such as employees of call centers, said in early November, the head of the Department of financial technologies, projects and process organization of the Bank of Russia Vadim Kaludov. According to him, operating costs of banks, the property occupies 20-30%, employee 50%.
Bank branches in the region are reduced also due to the folding points open a few years ago, in a period of rapid growth of the banking business, says Matovnikov. “This was done in most banks of medium size, creating an excessive amount of infrastructure that is not in demand. In the current environment it is difficult for them to bear the infrastructure costs,” he says.
Influenced the number of branches and the growth of the revocation of licenses by the Bank of Russia adds Matovnikov. Mass withdrawals from Russian banks began after the summer of 2013, the head of the Central Bank became Elvira Nabiullina. Since the right to work lost almost 300 banks.