Russians are getting deeper into debt

The debts of Russians to banks grow twice as fast as their salaries.
Consumer loans to the population are growing faster than salaries and savings, the Ministry of Economic Development said. In June, they grew by 15.9% in annual terms after 15.1% in May, and with the elimination of seasonality - by more than 20%. At the same time, real wages growth slowed down to 7.2% at the same time, and deposits of Russians in banks dropped to 7.1% (from 7.6% and 7.7% in May, respectively).

For the entire first half of 2018, the portfolio of loans to the population grew by 1.1 trillion rubles. up to 13.3 trillion, follows from the data of the Central Bank. Only Sberbank for this time issued consumer loans for a record 714 billion rubles. - this is 74% more than a year ago, VTB gave the population 400 billion rubles. - 32% more than in the same period in 2017. Population demand for consumer loans is growing: inflation after 2014 is relatively low, the Central Bank's key rate has stabilized at a low level, and the growth of salaries has accelerated, explains the managing director of the division "Borrow and save" Sberbank Sergey Shirokov. Since the beginning of the year, VTB has twice improved conditions on its credit programs and increased the issuance of loans by 17%, notes VTB Vice President Dmitry Polyakov.

Companies, on the contrary, are increasingly saving, the Ministry of Economic Development writes: in June they increased deposits in banks by 8.3% in annual terms (a month earlier - by 6.5%). Their loans also grew, but only by 2.8% against the same period in 2017, and taking into account corporate bonds - by 3.3% (after growth in May by 2.6 and 3.1%, respectively).

 Banks focused on lending to the population - with current regulation it is more profitable for them than to lend to business, the Minister of Economic Development Maxim Oreshkin complained (quoted by Prime). Such a situation worries the Ministry of Economic Development, he says, and suggests that the Central Bank make loans to companies more profitable for banks than consumer ones. A representative of the Ministry of Economic Development did not respond to Vedomosti's query about whether Oreshkin expressed concern about the high growth rates of consumer loans he issued as a member of the Supervisory Board of Sberbank.

Retail lending is indeed recovering faster than the corporate one, in part because in 2015-2016, the population has actively reduced its arrears to banks, now that salaries have been growing and rates have reached the bottom, it has started to increase again, says Natalia Orlova, chief economist at Alfa Bank. The banks are more interested in lending to people and because of sanctions, she continues: if the company is under the risk of sanctions, difficulties can arise with the return of loans. But the growth of consumer loans, in contrast to the mortgage, is almost exhausted: loans already taken are close to 10% of GDP - Eastern European highs, warns Orlova.

Consumer lending began to recover again last year on the back of falling incomes of the population. People are forced to increase consumption at the expense of retail loans, analysts of the Russian Academy of Science noted. At the beginning of 2018, on the eve of the election, the salaries of state employees began to grow rapidly: the government needed to comply with the May decrees of President Vladimir Putin and bring the salaries of teachers, doctors and scientists to 100-200% of the regional average. After the salaries, the incomes of the population also grew - by 4.2-5.6% in annual terms in February-April. But already in May - June, real incomes of Russians returned to near-zero growth rates. This was followed by a rise in the proportion of Russians expecting deterioration in the financial situation of their families over the next year, from 12% in May to 22% in June, and those who are expecting improvement - fell from 24 to 19%, according to the results of the Infom survey .

 The Central Bank already reduces the profitability of household loans for banks: since May 1, the risk factors for unsecured consumer loans have risen, and from September 1 the regulator will raise them again - for loans the full value of which exceeds 10% per annum. The Central Bank is also considering other proposals to stabilize the growth of consumer lending, said Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank Vasily Pozdyshev (quoted by RIA Novosti). For example, to apply increased supervisory requirements to banks, consumer loans that grow significantly faster than the average market, or limit the growth of their loans, the representative of the Central Bank lists. Interestingly, he said, the banks offer to introduce differentiated increased risk factors for consumer loans - depending on the loan amount: for large loans, more than 300,000 rubles, a greater risk ratio. In addition, starting in 2019, banks will regularly calculate the PTI's debt burden indicator, although it will not be applied in the regulation of the Central Bank until 2020, the Central Bank representative adds.

But high-risk borrowers are more actively credited to microfinance organizations (MFIs): according to the National Bureau of Credit Histories, MFIs in April-June issued loans "to pay" by 26.3 billion rubles. - by 23.8% more than a year earlier. Vulnerable groups of the population are already seriously credited, says Georgy Okromchedlishvili, chief analyst of ITS Wealth Management, which is not expected to grow significantly in the future. But a noticeable decrease, too, for this, stable economic growth should resume, he concludes.