Abstract

Paying special regard to events in the Russian Federation, this chapter briefly examines some of the developments in banking laws in the Baltic countries, the Russian Federation, and the other countries of the former Soviet Union. It is necessary to recall the environment in which banks in the region operate. Originally, there were a few large, specialized banks. Some of these, in one form or another, still exist. Where the large banks had branches in republics other than Russia, they were taken over by the newly emerging countries. In addition to those original banks, the system now has a number of smaller banks, some very small indeed. In Russia, there are over 1,700 banks, but 65 of these make up two-thirds of the system.1 Many cannot meet the existing capital requirements, which were recently increased, and some closures or mergers are expected.2 The largest bank in Russia, in terms of assets, was the savings bank, Sberbank, but this is now second or third in that category.3