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Report: Sberbank names conditions to join Russian central bank's payment system

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Report: Sberbank names conditions to join Russian central bank's payment system

PAO Sberbank of Russia is seeking additional remuneration in exchange for connecting to Russia's instant payment system recently launched by the country's central bank, Kommersant reported.

Sberbank wants a 1% commission on all payments under the central bank's system that are sent or received through the lender, on top of fees charged by the system itself, Kommersant said May 28, citing sources close to both institutions.

The Russian central bank launched its instant payment system in February, with 14 lenders currently connected. The central bank wants all systemically important lenders to join the system in 2019; a draft law obliging them to do so is currently being discussed by Russia's State Duma.

All remaining banks are expected to connect to the system by April 2020. Currently, payments processed within the system are free of charge, but a commission of up to 3 Russian rubles per transaction will apply from 2020.

Sberbank, which is Russia's largest bank and dominates the segment of individual card-to-card transfers, has been against joining the central bank's system, and is involved in individual talks with the regulator on the matter.

Sberbank CEO Herman Gref said in March that the potential reduction of fees for processing card payments, which has been discussed in Russia, and the launch of the central bank's instant payment system could cost the lender around 3% to 4% of its profit under an unfavorable scenario, although he noted that the potential losses could be lower thanks to a compromise that could be reached as the result of the negotiations with the central bank.

As of May 28, US$1 was equivalent to 64.65 Russian rubles.