MDM Bank and Ursa Bank will merge to form Russia’s second-largest private lender as a fall in retail deposits and soaring bad loans added to evidence that the financial crisis is accelerating in the country. “This deal is a harbinger,” said Alexei Dyomkin, director of fixed-income research at Trust Investment Bank in Moscow. “You have a chance to survive when you aren’t alone.” Vladimir Putin’s government is channeling USD 200 billion to banks and companies to boost liquidity and stave off bankruptcies after investors pulled USD 190 billion out of Russia since the start of August, BNP Paribas SA estimates. Service industries from banking and telecommunications to supermarkets shrank in November to the lowest-ever level as the crisis deepened. (Bloomberg)

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