NEWSWATCH: “Russia pushes to rid itself of ‘Potemkin’ banks by 2019” – Reuters/Alexander Winning, Andrey Ostroukh

“Russia plans to extend a review of bank licenses for another two years, shutting down scores more banks after closing hundreds in the past four years, mostly for committing fraud or other crimes …. Vasily Pozdyshev, a deputy governor at Russia’s central bank, says … his team is still finding more propping up criminal activity and would need until 2019 …. The review … has already reduced the number of banks in Russia to around 570 from 900. At that pace, Russia would end up with around 400 …. The closure of so many banks has helped strengthen Russia’s few large lenders, such as Sberbank (SBER.MM) and VTB (VTBR.MM) ….

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