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‘Orange lightning’ dives

Bank consumer loans still expensive although becoming cheaper
By Yury Chernyakevich

The refinancing rate of the National Bank has dropped by 1.5 percent since mid-March, reaching 28.5 percent per annum. The fall has led to loans becoming cheaper and, thereby, more accessible.

Belarusky Narodny Bank has reduced its rates by 10-15 percent, while ‘Orange Lightning’ loans have fallen by a significant 22 percent: from 77 to 55 percent per annum.

Other banks remain more cautious in reducing loan interest rates but the trend is certainly downwards. Alexander Mukha, an analyst with the Business Forecast Research Group, emphasises that loan rates will continue to fall this year. He tells us, “According to our estimates, the refinancing rate will continue to fall by 1-2 percent each month; by the end of the year, it may stand at 15-16 percent per annum. However, in my opinion, despite such big reductions, the attractiveness of Belarusian Rouble deposits will remain high. I think that the public will continue to keep their savings in the national currency, rather than foreign currencies. This will ensure dynamic and gradual development of the country’s banking sector.”

His opinion is confirmed by data recently published by the National Bank of Belarus, which states that enterprises and people kept more deposits in the national currency than in any other in February. Belarusian Rouble savings by individuals rose by more than 13 percent, to reach almost Br28 trillion by early March. Deposits by legal entities in the national currency also rose in February, by more than 4 percent, to exceed Br28 trillion.

Meanwhile, foreign currency deposits are falling in volume: by almost 1.5 percent in February.
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