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Date: Sunday, 26-Jan-2014 13:29:36

Putin-213x300  MOSCOW, January 22 (RIA Novosti) – President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that there are too many banks in Russia, Prime business news agency reported.

“We have just under a thousand banks. That is, of course, a large quantity of financial institutions for our economy,” Putin said during a meeting with a group of Moscow students.

Dozens of Russian banks have been shut down in recent months after the financial regulator pulled their banking licenses in a campaign to tighten oversight of the country’s lenders.

Putin compared Russia to Germany, where he said there were just 250 banks.

“Some [Russian] financial institutions should increase their capital and their assets in order to feel secure and be in a position to fight for a quality credit portfolio,” Putin said.

Russia’s Largest Banks

Elvira Nabiullina, a former economic development minister and advisor to Putin, was appointed chairwoman of Russia’s central bank in June, and has made a push to rein in shadow banking a key part of her agenda for the regulator.

Experts have predicted that a drive for consolidation in the sector could precipitate a flood of new customers for the large state-owned banks that dominate Russia’s financial system.