Russia's banks endured a tough 2013, as shown by the results in The Banker's Top 100 ranking, with the picture only likely to get bleaker when the impact of a turbulent 2014 is known.
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A tumbling exchange rate and sharp interest rate hikes point to growing threats to Russia's financial stability in 2015, even though the central government's debt burden is very low.
Russia has been a key profit driver for several Western European banks and the slide in the rouble will have a significant impact.
The speed and scope of sanctions imposed on Russia since the start of the crisis in Ukraine have forced many companies to enhance their compliance infrastructure and rewrite contracts to restrict potential liabilities from sanctions breaches.
Political tensions continue to dog Russia's capital markets. Following a difficult few months, the shoots of a recovery seemed to be appearing until the US imposed another round of sanctions on the country and a deadly attack on a commercial airliner flying over a disputed region of Ukraine sparked fresh hostilities, jeopardising the market's fragile rebound.
The ongoing dispute over the sovereignty of the Ukrainian republic of Crimea, which is currently occupied by Russian forces, has wreaked havoc in its financial sector, with many banks pulling out of the region and depositors unable to access their funds.
The regulation of the global financial sector should be extended to include intensive monitoring of merger and acquisition deals, which are a key source of instability.
Russian bank profitability is healthy, but there are fears around asset quality in consumer banking, and the regulator is taking a tougher line on money laundering and liquidity problems.
Competition and non-performing loans are rising among Russia's consumer lenders, but their profit performance is still well ahead of the rest of the Russian banking sector
The merger of the Micex and RTS groups to form the Moscow Exchange has proven harmonious and, so far, successful, with plenty of big names attracted to the bourse. Indeed, as Moscow looks to prove its credentials as an international finance hub, the exchange appears to be setting the standards for the rest of the city's financial institutions to follow.
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