A Russian Journey

By Marranca, Salvatore; Simoff, Paul L. | Independent Banker, March 2001 | Go to article overview

A Russian Journey


Marranca, Salvatore, Simoff, Paul L., Independent Banker


Private business banking emerges in big-hearted city on the Volga

Editor's Note: Community banker Salvatore Marranca, nominated as ICBA secretary, and bank consultant Paul L. Simoff recently traveled to Samara, Russia, to teach about U.S. banking practices as part of a pro fessional exchange program. The following article is an account of their week-long trip last fall. To share your views and experiences in Independent Banker, contact Nicole Swann at nicole_swann@icba.org.

Russia is a land of stereotypes and surprises-absolutes and enigmas. The vastness of its land stretches from Eastern Europe to the Pacific, a distance of nearly 5,000 miles, or about twice the distance from New York City to Los Angeles. The second largest country in the world, while easy to locate on a map, is painstakingly difficult to visit. Visa applications and background checks must be completed. Air service is somewhat irregular if you travel to anywhere but Moscow. And it takes seemingly forever to get there! From Frankfort to Samara, Russia, our final destination, the flight time is four hours. That is on top of an eight-hour flight to Frankfort from the United States, not accounting for layover time, which was another nine hours.

We were guests of the Central Russian Bankers Association arranged by the Financial Services Volunteer Corps. FSVC is a nonprofit association headquartered in New York City whose mission is to assist former Eastern bloc nations with developing Western banking structures and practices. We were asked to conduct seminars on designing new banking products and services. In addition, private consultations were arranged with Russian bankers to assist them with addressing particular problems and challenges within their own financial institutions.

The Russian banking system is not too dissimilar from those of other former communist states. The stereotype is that all the banks are either corrupt, insolvent or both; and that most are owned and operated by either the Russian government or Mafia. In fact, there is a fairly substantial private banking sector. Russian banks tend to be small (under $100 million in total assets) and are often owned by individuals and companies (similar to industrial banks that have all but disappeared in the United States).

Most of the banks in Russia cater to business clientele. Their customer bases may be comprised of no more than a handful of companies. The consumer banking sector, with its checking and savings accounts, car loans, resi- dential mortgages and other personal financial services, such as ATMs and credit cards, is virtually nonexistent. (ATMs and credit cards are used almost exclusively by foreign business travelers.)

Russian banks have an especially difficult time attracting deposits, due in part to the country's poor economy, lack of a deposit insurance system, inadequate regulatory oversight, distrust of centralized banking authorities and sometimes unenforceable banking statutes.

A sound and viable banking system is reliant upon access to and exchange of accurate financial data. Personal and corporate financial statements that meet generally accepted Western accounting standards are rarely submitted as part of the loan application process. Centralized credit reporting agencies, vitally important sources of information for Western bankers upon which loan decisions are based, are viewed as steps backward to an era of Big Brother government. Equally important, there is a substantial lack of networking among banking professionals due in part to cultural patterns that discouraged information sharing and learning.

The Russian banking system must travel a long and somewhat perilous road to attain Western standards of stability and credibility. But there is hope for its future. There is a talented pool of professionals in the banking sector, many with whom we met and consulted. They are eager to learn and willing to adopt the best practices of Western financial institutions. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Russian Journey
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.