Putin Nominates Bank of Russia Head Nabiullina for New Term

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas, Stepan Kravchenko – March 22, 2017) Russian President Vladimir #Putin told Bank of #Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina he plans to nominate her for a new 5-year term, praising her stewardship of the central bank as the country emerges from the longest recession this century. “The central bank under your leadership has done a #great […]

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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 …. […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with CEO of Sberbank German Gref

File Photo of German Gref Shaking Hands with U.S. Official

(Kremlin.ru – February 23, 2017) Sberbank CEO and Chairman of the Board German Gref briefed Vladimir Putin on the bank’s 2016 performance results and its current activities, including the prospects for developing mortgage lending, and new financial support mechanisms for the defence industry and agricultural sector businesses. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Gref, concerning the bank’s performance, we know […]

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Russian Central Bank Chief Nabiullina Named European Banker of the Year

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 4, 2017) The British finance journal The Banker has named Russian Central Bank Head Elvira Nabiullina as the European Central Bank Chairman of the year. The journal highlighted Nabiullina’s success in controlling Russia’s inflation rate. “The efforts of the Central Bank head has led to the fact that the rate of inflation by the […]

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Russian Banking System Safe From Cyber-Threats — Central Bank Head

Central Bank of Russia file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 28, 2016) Russian Central Bank Head Elvira Nabiullina said that Russia’s banking system is protected against cyber-threats in an interview with the Rossiya 24 television channel. “I should say that our banking system currently has an adequate level of protection against cyber threats,” she said. Nabiullina also said the Central Bank has created a […]

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Russia’s Central Bank Wants You to Believe; Governor Elvira Nabiullina has introduced her own version of forward guidance. The results are mixed.

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova – November 29, 2016) [Charts here bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-29/russia-s-central-bank-wants-you-to-believe] When central bankers start making predictions about what they’re going to do in the future, reality often has other plans. Just ask Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, or Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. Recent attempts at so-called “forward guidance” — telling the public how interest rates […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Conference Into the Future: Russia’s Role and Place

Sberbank File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – November 10, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in the international conference Into the Future: Russia’s Role and Place, organised by Russia’s oldest bank, Sberbank, to mark its 175th anniversary. The conference focused on forecasting and analysing future technology trends, discussing the main outlines for technological development, and examining the potential benefits and risks their mass use could bring. […]

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Russia Hones Bank Oversight in Biggest Shakeup Since Crisis

Central Bank of Russia file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas October 4, 2016) Russia’s central bank sidelined the officials who headed its unprecedented cull of lenders, rearranging its leadership in the biggest shakeup since a currency crisis last year. Dmitry Tulin, the first deputy governor in charge of monetary policy, will replace Alexei Simanovsky and take over banking regulation and supervision starting Oct. 17, […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with CEO of Sberbank German Gref

Sberbank File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – August 4, 2016) Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Sberbank CEO and Chairman of the Board German Gref to discuss the bank’s results for the last year, the situation on the housing mortgage market, and financial support measures for small businesses. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Gref, I know that the bank’s work has been not […]

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Hybrid Business — The Risks In The Kremlin’s Weaponization Of The Economy

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Commentary: Mark Galeotti, Anna Arutunyan – July 20, 2016) Mark Galeotti is a senior research fellow at the Institute of International Relations Prague and director of the consultancy Mayak Intelligence. Anna Arutunyan is a Moscow-based journalist and writer, author of The Putin Mystique. “How many divisions does the pope have?” Josef Stalin was meant to have […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Most Important Bank Needs a Bailout. VEB faces task of paying off about $20 billion in foreign-currency debt.” – Wall Street Journal

Cash, Calculator, Pen

When the Russian government needed to build up infrastructure in … Sochi ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, it turned to Russia’s most important lender: Vnesheconombank, the country’s state-owned development bank. … eventually holding the equivalent of at least $2.9 billion in overdue loans. … the bill is coming due. VEB for years kept its books in balance by […]

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Banks Too Big to Sanction as War Wrecks Russia’s Ukraine Ties

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Volodymyr Verbyany, Jake Rudnitsky – November 30, 2015) Your enemy’s bank is your friend. Or so Ukraine wants to believe after giving Russian banks a pass more than a year and a half into a separatist insurgency it blames on the Kremlin. Banks including state-run lenders sanctioned by the U.S. and the European Union have clung […]

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Putin’s Fortress Russia Takes Its Toll

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – November 5, 2015) It’s difficult to quantify the damage Western economic sanctions have done to Russia. The country’s slump is almost exclusively due to a drop in oil prices, which has led to a sharp currency devaluation and a jump in interest rates. Yet the sanctions have fueled the Kremlin’s paranoia, lending Russia’s […]

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Moscow creates vast new bank from Post Office

Cash, Calculator, Pen

Russia’s postal service joined forces with VTB Bank to establish Post Bank, a new retail lender with three times as many retail branches as the current leader, Sberbank. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Kira Egorova – November 4, 2015) Russia’s government approved the establishment of a massive new bank based on the country’s postal service, a move that […]

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Hard to call Russian banking system healthy – Sberbank exec

Sberbank File Photo

MOSCOW. Oct 28 (Interfax) – It is currently difficult to call the Russian banking system healthy, Sberbank (MOEX: SBER) deputy CEO Bella Zlatkis believes. “If two or three banking institutions in the country close per week, if this number increases by tens in a year, if a whole number of banking institutions are having problems with capital and liquidity, I […]

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European Union Prohibits Studies of Sanctioned Russian Banks

EU Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 23, 2015) The European Union has prohibited its financial institutions from publishing analytical research of the Russian banks under EU sanctions, the European Commission said in a statement. The European Commission, the EU’s legislative body, prohibited publishing research on Russian banks because the analysis contained in the reports could help investors in Russia make […]

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Russia’s banking pain is forcing long-overdue sector consolidation

Central Bank of Russia file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – September 24, 2015) Russian banks are in a world of pain. Real incomes are falling for the first time since President Vladimir Putin has been on the job, and sanctions have cut banks off from their main source of long-term cheap financing. The upshot is that Russia’s financial sector […]

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Deutsche Bank confirms its retreat from Russia

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Jason Corcoran in Moscow – September 18, 2015) Deutsche Bank, a lender whose ties with Russia span 134 years, will exit its investment banking business in Moscow by the end of year following allegations its bankers laundered money on behalf of its clients, it was confirmed on September 18. The German bank’s corporate finance […]

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Ulyukayev not expecting ‘major shocks’ from potential rate hike in U.S

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

SOCHI. Sept 16 (Interfax) – Because financial markets have largely priced in the effect of a potential rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev does not expect any major shocks if the U.S. Fed does approve a rate hike. “It seems to me that for the most part the markets have included the rate hike […]

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Interfax: Main indicators of Russian banking system point to its stability – Nabiullina

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

MOSCOW. Aug 10 (Interfax) – The main figures from Russia’s banking system show that it is stable and in a safe zone, Central Bank head Elvira Nabiullina said at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “The situation in the banking sphere is a lot like a mirror of what is happening in the economy. Of course, outside factors can […]

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NEWSWATCH BBC: Russian debtors despair as boom turns to bust

Cash, Calculator, Pen

The BBC covers the Russian economic crisis and the plight of Russians who took on debt during boom times only to face misery and potential disaster now. Millions of Russians took out loans during the economic boom years, but now they face crippling debts and the law is not on their side …. * * * … the Russian United Credit Bureau […]

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Russia’s state banks are rotten

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – June 29, 2015) Banks epitomise capitalism, but not in Russia. The financial industrial empires of men like JP Morgan, Rockefeller, Rothschild and Harriman are intimately tied up with creating the vibrant no-holds-barred capitalism in the US. In Russia the top five banks are all state-owned and their power comes […]

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The long decline in Russia’s international reserves has stopped

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Heli Simola of Bank of Finland – June 18, 2015) [Charts here bne.eu/content/story/comment-long-decline-russias-international-reserves-has-stopped] Russia’s international reserves have declined substantially, by around $150bn, since the start of 2014. However, during the second quarter of this year the level of reserves has been relatively stable, fluctuating at around $350bn-360bn. The recent stabilization has been supported by […]

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War-Weary Ukraine Shutters Cash-Starved Banks as Trust Falls

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Volodymyr Verbyany, Andras Gergely – June 12, 2015) When Vasyl Klos plunked $9,000 into a bank branch in his hometown of Lviv, Ukraine, in 2013, he assumed it was safe because it was German owned. He was wrong. Bank Forum JSC had already been sold by Commerzbank AG to Ukrainian businessman Vadim Novinsky, a fact Klos […]

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Russia No Longer a Good Option for Foreign Banks

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 3, 2015) The economic fallout of the Ukraine crisis has transformed perceptions of Russia among foreign banks and will likely see lenders curtail the operations of their Russian subsidiaries, ratings agency Standard & Poor’s said Tuesday. Foreign banks piled into Russia in the early 2000s in the hope that near 10 percent annual economic […]

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Russian Bank Lending Drops 60 Percent as Crisis Paralyses System

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 6, 2015) The number of loans issued in Russia in the first quarter of this year fell by 58 percent compared to the same period in 2014, as the devaluation of the ruble, Western sanctions and sky-high interest rates hit the banking system, a report showed Tuesday. The tide is now slowly beginning to turn […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: Russia cuts key interest rate, hopes worst of crisis over

File Photo of Elvira Nabiullina at OECD Event, at Podium and On Large Video Screen

Russia’s central bank cut its main lending rate by 1-1/2 percentage points on Thursday, its third rate cut this year, a sign that it believes the worst of an economic crisis is over. The cut to 12.5 percent follows the rouble’s recovery in recent weeks after a dramatic decline last year as global oil prices fell and Western economic sanctions […]

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No artificial liquidity crunch – Nabiullina

File Photo of Elvira Nabiullina at OECD Event, at Podium and On Large Video Screen

MOSCOW. April 7 (Interfax) – There’s no artificial deliberate liquidity crunch in Russia, Elvira Nabiullina, head of the Central Bank, said. “There’s no artificial liquidity crunch,” she said. She said the ruble was strengthening due to the stabilization of oil prices, and end to peak foreign debt repayments and a high key rate. “Some people have described the ruble’s strengthening […]

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Sexism in Russia: On the retreat but still a long way to go

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH – April 4, 2015) There is a prevalent idea in Russian society that men and women should behave according to some unwritten standards. However, it is the country’s women that are affected much more by discrimination. What kinds of problems does this create in daily life and how long is […]

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Fight between Ukraine’s government and oligarchs embroils largest lender Privatbank

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Graham Stack in Kyiv – April 1, 2015) The war between Ukraine’s government and the oligarchs has reached into the fragile banking system, as the central bank felt moved to reassure depositors in Privatbank, the country’s largest, after allies of President Petro Poroshenko made murder allegations regarding its owner, Ihor Kolomoisky. The National Bank […]

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The Russian banking system? Yeah, that’s going to be a problem

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Mark Adomanis in Philadelphia – March 16, 2015) The most basic part of any bank’s business model is the extension of loans to consumers and corporations. Clients need money, to expand their business, buy a home, or, in a less sunny scenario, to re-finance existing borrowing, and the bank gives it to them while […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: Is a banking crisis looming in Russia?

Russian Central Bank file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH – January 20, 2015) The Russian government will supply banks with nearly $15 billion to help stave off a possible financial crisis. Only banks that are willing to increase credit in the production sector of the economy will be eligible to receive the money. In such a way the government […]

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Putin offers Russian business ‘full’ offshore capital amnesty

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – December 4, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a complete capital amnesty, allowing businesses to repatriate offshore funds without fear of the consequences. “We need to finally turn the ‘offshore page’ in the history of our economy and country,” Putin told the federal assembly in his annual address. “If someone […]

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Sanctions Affect Half Of Russia’s Banking Sector, Report Says

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 19, 2014) Russian banks are the most vulnerable among the world’s large emerging market economies due to Western sanctions and near zero levels of economic growth, a Standard & Poor’s report released Wednesday said. Sanctions directly affect more than 50 percent of Russia’s banking sector, which is dominated by state financial institutions, the report […]

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Safe-Deposit Box Craze Lays Bare Ukraine Woes After Vote

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Daryna Krasnolutska – October 29, 2014) Wary of banks and alarmed by armed conflict around her parents’ town, Daria Demianenko joined Ukraine’s rush to an old-fashioned way of squirreling away cash. More commonly known as a home for fancy jewels and ill-gotten gains, safe-deposit boxes are swallowing a growing chunk of regular savings in Ukraine. For […]

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Russians Lose Faith in Banks as Ruble Falls and Sanctions Bite

VTB Bank Facade file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – October 16, 2014) Consumer confidence in Russia’s financial system is falling, with half of Russians saying they don’t trust banks and are using such services less, in a troubling signal for a system under pressure from Western sanctions and more sensitive than ever to outflows of depositors, a recent study showed. In […]

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How Bulgaria’s Bank Run Affects Ukraine’s European Dream

EU Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ian Wishart, Elizabeth Konstantinova – July 3, 2014) Joining the European Union was meant to give Bulgaria a fresh start. Try telling that to Anna Dimitrova. “Bulgaria didn’t gain from the EU as much as it could have, because it’s mismanaged by corrupt politicians,” said Dimitrova, a law student, in central Sofia. “Our politicians are not […]

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Why Putin Is in Trouble With 86% Approval

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com –  Evgenia Pismennaya, Henry Meyer, Brad Cook – June 27, 2014) One month he wins the Olympics and kudos from world leaders. The next he grabs Crimea and gets kicked out of their most exclusive club. Now he’s facing a recession with few tools to fight it save the public’s love. Even Vladimir Putin, in his 15th […]

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Russians Paying Up to Turn Rubles Into Homes: Mortgages

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Lyubov Pronina – June 4, 2014) Denis Ichetkin’s decision to get a mortgage for a one-bedroom apartment on the outskirts of Moscow in late January couldn’t have been better timed, he said. The 30-year-old journalist and his wife Veronika secured a 15-year loan from VTB Group with a 12 percent interest rate before Russia’s March incursion […]

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Interfax: Visa, MasterCard to continue operating in Russia – Siluanov

File Photo of Stack of Credit Cards, adapted from image at fdic.gov

(Interfax – May 20, 2014) The payment systems Visa and MasterCard will continue operating in Russia, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told Interfax on Tuesday. “We can’t abandon these systems since over 90 percent of those who use payment systems work with them,” he said. He did not say how the problem would be resolved with security deposits that Visa and […]

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Medvedev Orders Bank Chiefs to Reveal Personal Assets in Corruption Battle

VTB Bank Facade file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 13, 2014) Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered the heads of Russia’s two largest banks – state-owned Sberbank and VTB – to report their income, expenses and assets as part of an annual anti-corruption checkup. Sberbank’s German Gref, a former economic development minister, and VTB’s Andrei Kostin were among those officials required to report […]

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Visa and MasterCard Cling to Russia Despite $3.8 Billion Blow

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Diana Kulchitskaya – May 7, 2014) Visa and MasterCard will hold fast to Russia despite a new law that forces them to pay over $3.8 billion as a security deposit to the Central Bank. Both international firms consider the measures taken as too severe and think that they will not only make work in Russia […]

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RIA Novosti: Geopolitics Poses Risks to Russian Financial Stability – Bank of Russia

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

MOSCOW, April 2 (RIA Novosti) – A review of ratings of Russian borrowers and the threat of their exclusion from international capital markets may affect Russia’s financial stability, the head of the Central Bank of Russia said Wednesday. “The geopolitical risks are large, especially if our banks and companies run into limitations on refinancing in Western markets, and a review […]

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Kudrin on sanctions: Western banks already closing credit lines to Russian corporate sector

Alexei Kudrin file photo

ST. PETERSBURG. March 13 (Interfax) – Former Russian finance minister Alexei Kudrin is apprehensive about possible Western sanctions against Russia and said limitations in the banking sector have already begun. “I can say quite definitely: credit line limits for Russia are being closed,” said Kudrin, who is currently a member of the Presidential Economic Council. “Our corporate sector currently has […]

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Banks Scramble for Clients as Mortgage Lending Takes Off

Sberbank File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – February 18, 2014) Mortgage lending is soaring as banks lower their rates, carrying with it both the benefits and potential drawbacks of a mortgage-greedy banking system. Until recently, Russian banks and consumers alike were skeptical of mortgages, and the rapidly escalating price of real estate did not help matters. Now, stable housing […]

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Russia’s bank consolidation is going surprisingly smoothly

Russian Central Bank file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – February 17, 2014) Russia’s central bank moved in on its latest two victims on February 11, pulling the banking licenses from Moscow-based European Trust Bank (Eurotrust) and Link-Bank. Eurotrust was already a zombie. The bank stopped taking in new retail customers last November due to the tough economic conditions, […]

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