Top 30 Russian bank Jugra faces inspection

By Jason Corcoran in Moscow April 4, 2016

Bank Jugra, One of Russia's 30 largest lenders, faces an inspection from the regulators on April 4 after it was restricted from taking deposits.

Both the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) and the Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA) will check the register of depositors at the bank and the size and structure of Jugra's liabilities relative to deposits, according to a report by Vedomosti newspaper.

In the past, CBR inspections have led to banks being put in administration and wound down as the regulator continues to purge the sector's bloated ranks.

Jugra was founded in 1990 in the Tyumen region and is one of Russia's oldest banks. It is the nation's 28th largest lender with RUB270bn in assets as of January  1, and climbing to 27th before the CBR began its check, according to ratings website

The lender last year applied for a state recapitalisation through the OFZ programme but never received the funds.

On March 31, chairman of the bank's management board Yuri Gusev said Jugra considered it inexpedient to participate in the OFZ recap programme.

"Today, the capital of Bank Jugra is RUB65bn and the bank feels confident in terms of capital adequacy," he said in a statement on the lender's website. "The Bank is ready to continue to consider the options offered by the state to maintain a high level of regulatory cooperation with the country's government agencies."

The bank's counterparties told Vedomosti that the CBR had instructed the lender not to take funds on deposit.

Jugra's management also said in February that the bank would be listed on the Moscow Exchange in the middle of March but the listing has yet to take place.

The bank's deposits grew by 136% during 2015 and these funds were funnelled into lending to companies. Jugra's corporate portfolio increased by 137% over the same period.

A purge of Russia's financial sector is accelerating as the CBR takes down bigger targets and gets more powers to track down and prosecute blacklisted bankers guilty of money laundering and asset stripping.  

In the two years to January 2016, the number of banks in Russia was slashed by 20% to 596 from 733. The trend is accelerating this year, and saw the stripping of licenses belonging to Vneshprombank, the country's 37th largest lender, and Intercommerz bank (67th) in January.

If Jugra topples it will be the biggest banking collapse since Trust Bank at the end of 2014. Trust, fronted by Hollywood beefcake Bruce Willis, received a RUB127bn bailout.

President Vladimir Putin's government committed RUB1 trillion to support the capital of banks as the recession bit deeper since 2014. But the estimated RUB2.5 trillion that so far had to be covered by the DIA, which guarantees savings of up to RUB1.4mn and provides loans to banks to rescue troubled lenders, is just the start of that bill.

In a report late last year, S&P speculates the state will have to somehow come up with another RUB 2.5 trillion this year, as well as plug a gaping hole in the 2016 budget.

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