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Report: Russia completes implementation of 2-tier licensing system for banks

Russian banks have been officially divided into lenders with a basic and a universal license from Jan. 1, news agency Prime reported the same day.

The minimum amount of capital for banks with a universal license is set at 1 billion rubles. Lenders with a basic license need to have a minimum capital of 300 million rubles and are subject to simplified regulations but will not be allowed to execute certain banking operations.

President Vladimir Putin signed a law introducing the universal and basic licenses for the Russian banking sector in May 2017. The capital requirements were became binding from January 2018, but lenders with capital below 1 billion rubles had one year to either increase their capital to the required level to operate under a universal license or apply for a basic license.

The Russian central bank estimated at the end of 2018 that around 150 banks would switch to a basic license. As of Dec. 1, 2018, there were 448 banks operating in Russia, Prime noted.

As of Jan. 1, US$1 was equivalent to 69.71 Russian rubles.