Banks spoke about the mistrust of a wealthy Russian ruble

The strengthening of the ruble and the reduction of interest rates on deposits in foreign currency in 2016 has prompted wealthy investors to abandon their savings in dollars and euros in favor of the national currency. The rate of reduction of the share of foreign currency deposits in 2016, slower than after the 2008 crisis. Investors, especially the wealthy, continue to treat the Russian currency with caution, the survey showed .

The trend of recent months — reducing the share of foreign currency deposits is due primarily to exchange rate changes, and not with the movement of currency into rubles, ascertain the market leaders.

Historical memory

In 2015, in the midst of worsening financial and economic situation on the background of the conflict in the East of Ukraine, accompanied by introduction of sanctions by the EU and the US, the Russians turned to the dollar, and by year-end the share of foreign currency deposits, according to the Bank, grew over the year by 3.3 percentage points, to 30.1%.

In 2016, mainly in the second half, a number of factors, including increased interest of foreign investors to Russian assets and rising oil prices contributed to the strengthening of the ruble against the dollar by 17%. During the year banks, in an effort to stabilize the share of foreign currency deposits, brought the rates to below 1%. According to calculations based on data from the 15 largest banks in terms of attraction of deposits of physical persons at the end of December the average rate for deposits in dollars depending on length of stay ranged from 0.32 to 1.14%, in Euro — from 0.17 to 0.43%. For comparison, the average rate on ruble deposits ranged from 6,24 to 6.67%.

By December, the share of foreign currency deposits of the total volume was, according to the Bank, 25,7 vs 30.1% in the beginning of the year. Central Bank reveals its statistics in ruble terms, however, if converted data on the volume of foreign currency deposits from rubles into dollars at the exchange rate on the reporting date, it appears that the volume of deposits in dollar terms increased from $93,6 billion at 1 January to $93.8 bln on December 1, calculations show . As a whole, the inflow of deposits (in rubles and foreign currency) in January—November 2016 amounted to 10.2% (in 2015 it was 25%).

“Despite all the optimism of the beginning of 2017, I must say that people do not really believe in economic growth and the national currency. A part of the clients wants from currency into rubles to leave. It is a matter of faith in sustainable growth”, — said Chairman of the management Board of VTB24 Mikhail Zadornov at the Gaidar forum. In the interview he said that the share of foreign currency deposits for the year 2016 at VTB24 fell by 6% from 51-52% in the beginning of the year to 45%. “It’s quite a large drop, but its rate is slower than it was after the last crisis [in 2008-2009]. In many ways, the decline in the share is not connected with the movement [of investors] from currency into rubles, but simply by the exchange rate change. If we take the most wealthy citizens, they have slightly decreases the share exchange. It is in our portfolio, but I am sure that in the whole banking system”.

According to the Vice-President, Director of Department for work with VIP-clients of VTB24 Pavel Kudryavtsev, VIP-clients have the largest share of currency across all client segments. By 2016, the share of foreign currency deposits VIP customers in liabilities in ruble terms amounted to 67%, down from 2015 at 3 p. p. “If to take into account the strengthening of the ruble by 17% for the year 2016, the currency value has only increased. But we must understand that the restoration of confidence in the ruble is a long process and takes several years,” he said.

The opinion is shared by VTB24 and other participants of the banking sector. “Investors, relying on the experience of recent years, was convinced that the ruble is heavily dependent on oil prices, which are not predictable, even, I would say, is unpredictable, and the actions of the authorities, — says member of the management Board of the Bank Oleg Vyugin. — It is clear that this is for wealthy investors plays an important role, whereas the yield for the second factor.” The Bank share of foreign currency deposits in the total portfolio of retail deposits decreased from the beginning of the year 5% to about 20%.

“The share of currency in savings of wealthy citizens traditionally high, at 50% of the total portfolio, posted VIP-clients. Wealthy citizens are accustomed to diversify their savings, usually about half are foreign currency deposits,” — said the representative of the Bank. The customers of the Bank, converting funds, prefer deposits in roubles and other currency instruments, primarily stock market, including Eurobonds, he added.

About insignificant reduction in the share of foreign currency deposits VIP clients last year, said in the Moscow credit Bank. The share of foreign currency deposits to VIP-clients of the ICD decreased by 8% to 35% of the total volume of funds of natural persons.

Not in a hurry to convert dollar deposits into rubles and customers of the Bank “UniCredit”. “The share of foreign currency deposits in the portfolio has always been significant due to the nature of our clients, — says Director of retail sales at Bank Sergey Vyatkin, without specifying a figure. Clients continue to treat the ruble with caution. If there is a decrease in balances of foreign currency deposits, only for the reason that customers transfer money into tools and products that allow you to remain in foreign currency, but to get a big yield”.

In the absolute-Bank share of foreign currency deposits wealthy clients decreased by 10%, by January 1, 2017 it was 57%, says the Director of Department of development of private banking business Absolut Bank Evgeny Safonov. “A very small number of wealthy clients decide to take your income and go from currency into rubles. Basically everyone who managed to buy the currency in 2014, still prefer to keep their savings in it,” he said. According to Safonov, wealthy clients place funds in foreign currency. At the same time, he stressed that other categories of customers, the share of foreign currency deposits is extremely low.

In Sberbank the share of foreign currency deposits for 2016 decreased from 24% to 20% in the total structure of liabilities of individuals (excluding revaluation it was increased over the year from 24 to 26%), reported the press service of the Bank. To disclose details on these indicators in wealthy clients at the Bank refused.

Rates unchanged

The majority of surveyed participants of the market expect that in 2017 rates on foreign currency deposits will not be revised. “Current rates are very low (especially for deposits in euros), and their further decline is hardly possible.

The increase in interest rates on foreign currency deposits is also unlikely as currently the banks have restricted the placement of the attracted monetary deposits”, — said Safonov.

However, the first Deputy Chairman of the Board of Sovcombank Sergei Khotimsk expects growth rates to the end of 2017 — 0.5%.