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08/14/1998 07:50:35 Russia bank association sees no systemic crisis

MOSCOW, Aug 14 (Reuters) - Russia's banking association

denied on Friday the country was in the midst of a wide-ranging

bank crisis.

"I do not think there is a systemic crisis of banks,"

vice-president of the Association of Russian Banks, Vyacheslav

Zakharov, told Reuters.


Zakharov, whose organisation represents Russia's commercial

banks, said the central bank was the lender of last resort in

the market and it would not allow big banks to go bankrupt.

The central bank was likely to help banks on an individual

basis after they had fulfilled any requests that the central

bank made of them, including a change of owner, he said.

He said the central bank's efforts would aim at having the

maximum effect for the minimum effort.

It was the largest banks which were having most problems on

the markets because they were the most active in interbank trade

and in buying Russian treasury bills, he said.

All Russia's markets have been thrown into panic this week,

fearing a rouble devaluation and that Prime Minister Sergei

Kiriyenko will be unable to pull Russia back from the brink of

financial collapse.

The interbank market has been particularly hard hit, with

trade grinding to a halt and some banks failing to make

repayments.

The T-bill market has seen yields soar to unprecedented

levels of 200 percent for paper maturing in a month.

Zakharov said downgrades of Russian banks by international

rating agencies was a reflection of the whole Russian economy

rather than just the financial sector.

The downgrades would make it more difficult for Russian

banks to obtain credits abroad, he said.

((Svetlana Kovaleva, Moscow Newsroom, +7095 941-8520

moscow.newsroom@reuters.com))

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