Russia - a Land Ripe for Regs

Article excerpt

Mary Chaiffin was sent on a mission and came back with a message. Last June the attorney in the law division of U.S. Bancorp, Portland, Ore., flew to Russia to deliver a seminar on banking law to Russian attorneys and bankers.

Chaffin was sent by the Central and East European Law Initiative of the American Bar Association, which provides assistance to emerging democracies in central and eastern Europe. The association sends U.S. legal experts across the sea to share their knowledge with the countries.

Chaffin, who is fluent in Russian, delivered a speech and answered questions on the American banking system. However, it was Chaffin who learned something new when it came to the Russian banking system, which is still in its infancy and in dire need of regulatory control.

"It may seem strange to return from a trip pining for the sense of security offered by U.S. laws and regulations. However, that is exactly what I experienced," says Chaffin. Among the strange, but true, facts Chaffin discovered:

* There are virtually no checking accounts in Russia, and consumer loans are generally unavailable. …