Rouble deposits proving attractive once more

Following rise in refinancing rate, banks start offering profitable rates to savers — exceeding 50 percent per annum

By Roman Anikeev

In early 2011, annual interest rates on deposits reached 15-16 percent on average, meaning that Br1m generated around Br15,000 a month. The situation has changed recently, with some banks tempting depositors with 60 percent rates; accordingly, over a period of thirty days, a million Belarusian Roubles can generate around Br50,000.

While more Rouble deposits have been registered recently, the profitability of foreign currency savings has fallen. Just two months ago, a Dollar or Euro deposit guaranteed up to 10 percent per annum; now, the average rate is just 8 percent. No doubt, this situation enhances the attractiveness of Belarusian Rouble deposits.

From early 2011 to November, the volume of bank savings in the national currency rose by almost 25 percent. The Deputy Chairman of the National Bank’s Board, Sergey Dubkov, confirms, “The National Bank is stimulating the public to save by offering more attractive interest rates. Of course, Belarusian Rouble deposits have higher rates than foreign currency savings. As a result, people have trust in the banking system.”

Growing deposit rates enable people to compensate for losses caused by the Rouble devaluation and rising prices. The Chairman of Belvnesheconombank’s Board, Pavel Kallaur, notes that, in the first months of 2012, interest rates for deposits may rise above the rate of inflation. In future, the refinancing rate and interest rates may fall, if consumer price growth subsides, emphasises the Chair of the National Bank’s Board, Nadezhda Yermakova.

“Whether today’s interest rates are high is a subjective opinion,” ponders Mr. Dubkov. “They are perceived as low by savers, while borrowers view them as high — as is natural. Professionalism in the banking sphere requires us to satisfy all clients, while creating stable conditions for the bank’s functioning.”
If interest rates do fall in the future, those wishing to make money from saving should choose fixed rates. Meanwhile, those planning to take out a loan should wait until rates fall significantly.

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