Non-performing loans in Russia may rise to 20 percent of the nation’s total by year-end, according to an estimate from Moody’s Investors Service.
The loan crisis puts Russia’s economic recovery at risk. It also has led Russian bankers to seize some rather bizarre goods that served as collateral for loans.
For example, OAO National Reserve Bank, led by billionaire Alexander Lebedev, will have to take on 40,450 pigs that had to be quarantined to avoid African swine flu.
“We had a court decision to take away the collateral, which is the pigs,” Lebedev told Bloomberg. The pigs represented collateral against a loan of 100 million rubles ($3.5 million).
Other banks are taking ownership of a lingerie retailer and a food store. While some of the collateral may be humorous, the banking crisis is not.
Russian banks are among the riskiest in the world, Standard & Poor’s wrote in a recent report.
Moody’s estimates that bad loans may soar to $110 billion by year-end and make up 25 percent of total lending by the end of next year. That compares with 11 percent as of June 30 this year.
As for the strange collateral, “They (banks) could be stuck with those assets for a number of years,” Eugene Tarzimanov, a Moody’s analyst, told Bloomberg.
All this comes as the economy begins a fragile recovery.
"There are still no signs that the demand is picking up," Yevgeny Nadorshin, chief economist of Trust investment bank, told The Associated Press.
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