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Russia - Banking

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Russia does not currently have an efficient banking system. The financial sector suffered heavily as a result of the 1998 financial crisis, when numerous depositors lost their savings, and many banks did not survive. A number of the major banks have allegedly been involved in money laundering scandals, further reducing confidence in the banking sector.

Although the sector is now experiencing strong growth, it still remains relatively small, disjointed and poor regulated. There are a very large number of banks throughout the country, but a low level of assets in the sector. It is commonplace for people to have local salaries paid in cash, and not to use the services of banks.

There are a number of foreign banks with branches in Moscow and St Petersburg and most foreign business and employees use these for their local banking needs. However, there are very few foreign banks outside these two cities. Expatriate workers are likely to be asked to provide a copy of their employment contract when opening an account.

There are ATM facilities throughout the towns and cities, and a number of banks are now offering internet banking.

Banking hours are normally from 9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. Mondays to Fridays.

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