For most banks, which are now under rehabilitation, it would have been cheaper to withdraw the license than trying to save them: these are Fitch analysts' conclusions, who have estimated 30 rehabilitated banks. According to Fitch reports, financial recovery of 20 banks was 0.5 trillion rubles more expensive than their possible liquidation. Economic losses of the Central Bank amount to 957 billion rubles, while the losses of the state and the companies associated with the possible withdrawal of the licenses of these banks would be up to 459 billion rubles. The Central Bank's losses the agency defined as the benefits of the banks from cheap credits from the regulator (typically, loans are granted at 0.51% per annum), and the losses from withdrawal of licenses are understood as insurance payments to depositors, as well as the amount of uninsured deposits funds of the population and companies associated with the state. In 19 cases, the cost of rehabilitation was more than all of the potential payout of insured deposits and debt obligations to the companies associated with the state, write the analysts of the rating agency.
"The funds of the Central Bank, dedicated to rehabilitation, are, of course, repayable. But given the fact that the Central Bank gives money for a long time, in fact, free of charge (substantially below market rates), it brings economic losses," Fitch analyst Alexander Danilov said.
Most of the rescued banks can hardly be considered as systemically or regionally important: their market share is below 0.1%, says the agency. In some cases, the Central Bank may decide on reorganization of the bank, taking into account the risks to financial stability (for example, at the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015), but lobbying by major lenders could also play a role in the decision. Distribution of state on uninsured creditors creates unequal conditions in the market and increases their appetite for risk, Fitch said.
Rehabilitation rules allow healthier banks to violate regulations, which encourages investors to acquire such weak banks and to transfer bad assets to them, says the agency. The process of selecting the turnaround manager is non-transparent, the requirements for participation in the competition are unhindered and monitoring after the transfer is weak, lists Fitch Bank, reminding Probusinessbank's history: since 2008 it sanitized Gazenergobank and Bank 24.ru, in 2014 - Solidarity, and in 2015 lost its license. There are other examples. Some investors were suspected in the transfer of toxic assets on the balance of the rehabilitated banks, Fitch says. And when sanitizing Uralsib, its previous owner, Nikolay Tsvetkov, in violation of the rules retained the stake in the bank.
"It is very cynical calculation, says the man, who participated in the discussion of the fate of several banks. When deciding on the rehabilitation, the Central Bank takes into account many factors, not only the payment of the DIA and the loss of state-owned companies. If you count how many businesses, households and investors were saved, the figure will be in the trillions. For example, one regional bank was rehabilitation, which had the accounts of all state employees in the region. To revoke the license was simply impossible." To estimate losses and gains is very difficult, it is necessary to see the whole picture, and only the Central Bank sees it, continues the source of Vedomosti. The government, in any case, did not lose the money spent on rehabilitation, it is certain: these funds were somehow injected into the economy. Although the Central Bank, of course, made mistakes, he admits.
"The calculation is certainly interesting. But was it really so? The loss of any bank could well provoke a crisis in the banking system: the flight of investors and companies. Banks would be involved into a snowball process," said a top manager of the turnaround bank. Furthermore, in 2014-2015 market rates soared: largely because of this the rehabilitations were so profitable, he added.
It is possible to make such calculation, but then the Central Bank prints rubles, so it's different, concludes the banker. Another issue is that the rehabilitation system should be changed, he adds.
Criticism of the current readjustment mechanism of banks has been many times voiced by the Central Bank itself: the financial recovery system will change dramatically. The regulator has prepared a bill that requires the removal of the DIA and private investors in the financial recovery of banks and the transition of this process fully under the jurisdiction of the Central Bank. To do this, it will create a consolidation fund. The Central Bank expected that the new mechanism would save up to 25-30%. It is assumed that the rehabilitated banks at the same time will capitalize immediately and will not receive the right to violate regulations.
The Central Bank plans to introduce a mechanism for recapitalizing the banks rehabilitated through capital contributions, which will be more effective and less costly than the current system of cheap loans from the regulator, Fitch's said. It will reduce the risks associated with the acquisition of the rehabilitated banks by weak investors with the intention to burden them with their bad assets to improve their own financial situation, which often entails additional costs for the rehabilitation forthe state, concludes the agency.
Representatives of the Central Bank and the DIA didn't reply to the questions of Vedomosti.