The Russians broke a new record for loans in June

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The statistics from the consulting company Frank RG are impressive. For example, mortgage loans were issued in June in the amount of 639.5 billion rubles (9% more than in May), car loans – 128.1 billion rubles (plus 8%), cash loans – 666.8 billion rubles (plus 1 %). In total, in January-June, Russians borrowed 7.3 trillion rubles from banks, which is 10.7% higher than the result of the second half of 2022, when the retail lending market began to recover after the failure of that spring.

In fact, for the economy, the credit growth factor is positive: it demonstrates its development. But specifically in the current conditions for our country, this is a serious risk factor. There is no growth in the economy, but only a fall below the expected level, as they say from high tribunes. The same is true with the incomes of the population – in real terms they are not growing. Consequently, people take out loans with two main goals: to support a falling standard of living at any cost, or to refinance on previously made debts. This situation is fraught with inflating a financial “bubble” in the lending market – with the risk of its further loud “collapse”.

It is noteworthy that the new credit boom in Russia is taking place against the backdrop of crackdowns on the part of the Central Bank. From January 1, banks began to have direct quantitative restrictions on the provision of unsecured loans to overly indebted customers, as well as consumer loans for periods over five years (no more than 25% of disbursements per quarter for the first group of assets and no more than 10% for the second). The Central Bank is also tightening requirements for mortgages: for example, surcharges have been increased for loans with a low down payment.

Meanwhile, the overall market situation is still far from idyllic. Judge for yourself: the total amount of debts of Russians (over 12 million debtors in total) to credit institutions amounted to 30.2 trillion rubles as of May 1, while a month earlier the figure reached 27.8 trillion. On mortgage loans, citizens owe banks more than 15 trillion rubles (on average for each borrower – 3.68 million), and the volume of “arrears” (payments stopped for more than 90 days) on mortgages for new buildings increased by 4.3% in the first quarter . At the end of 2022, the volume of overdue bank loans to individuals, excluding mortgages, increased by 16% (plus 139.5 billion) to 1.017 trillion rubles.

“Citizens are less motivated to save, to accumulate long-term savings, and it is through loans that they try to solve their problems,” says Nikita Maslennikov, a leading expert at the Center for Political Technologies. – In the first quarter, inflation and inflation expectations dropped significantly (today they are at a minimum in the last 25 months), which dispersed consumer demand. At the same time, the level of the maximum debt load of the population is alarming: banks issue about 44% of loans to people who spend 80% of their income on servicing them. The market is seriously overheated, it’s obvious. And there are risks for both borrowers and banks. When “arrears” become larger, the latter have to increase the norms of required reserves, which ensure the fulfillment of obligations to customers. As a result, profits are falling.”

Despite all the measures taken by the Central Bank since the beginning of the year, the picture of a dangerous credit boom does not change. Apparently, more drastic steps are needed.

Since July 1, Nabiullina’s department has increased the limits on the most risky transactions in the field of consumer lending. And at a meeting on July 21, the Central Bank may go for a serious tightening of monetary policy by raising the key rate in the range from 0.5% to 2.5%. Less does not make sense, argues Maslennikov.

In his opinion, this will solve two problems: firstly, the weakening of the ruble will not affect store price tags, and secondly, the growth rate of borrowing will be able to at least slow down to some extent.

Answering the question why the credit boom occurred in June, the interlocutor of MK reminds: traditionally this month people take vacations, start repairs in the apartment, cottage construction (fortunately, the weather allows), buy building materials, acquire cars, including for the purpose of traveling around the country. Moreover, you don’t fly a lot on airplanes now: ticket prices have skyrocketed, and some air routes are closed, especially to the south.

“The credit boom in Russia is taking place against the backdrop of two trends: the tightening of regulatory measures by the Central Bank and the fall in household incomes,” said Artem Deev, head of the analytical department at AMarkets. – At the same time, at the moment, the key rate of the regulator is at the level of 7.5%, which means the same conditions for bank customers. But soon it will almost certainly be raised, due to rising inflation and the weakening of the ruble. And then loans will become less profitable. And now both banks and consumers are trying to “break away” to the maximum: some give out more loans, others are in a hurry to get them before it’s too late.”

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