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It may appear at first glance that most Russians don’t have too great a loan debt burden. However, outstanding individual debt in Russia is dominated by short-term consumer loans with high interest rates, and a significant percentage of borrowers spend at least half of their earnings paying off debt. HSE experts have examined the use of bank loans and outstanding debt rates as part of Monitoring the Public’s Financial Behaviour
Some 45% of residents in Russia’s small towns live with loans, and 23% have problems with repayments. A lack of financial literacy is the main cause of the problem. Formal credit has replaced informal borrowing and lending between community members and local retailers, Grigory Yudin and Ivan Pavlyutkin found in their study 'Debt and the Community: Two Debt-driven Economies of Small Towns'
The Russian Government is discussing a proposal on the administrative limitation of maximum interest rates on consumer loans. The reason is the state’s concern regarding citizens who fall into debt to banks and micro finance organizations. One of Russia’s partners in BRICS – South Africa – already has experience of such a solution. The HSE Center of Development published an analysis of this case in its ‘Banks: Statistics and Economics’ newsletter