Gazprombank warns of losses stemming from launch of Russian CBDC
Gazprombank is one of 15 banks participating in a pilot test of a Russian CBDC and believes that launching a digital ruble will inevitably lead to losses for banks.
Gazprombank said the Russian central bank digital currency (CBDC) has to be launched gradually and carefully to minimize the losses banks will face as a consequence, Russian news outlet RBC reported Feb. 7.
According to the report, the lender believes the digital ruble will lead to an inevitable fall in banks’ income due to lower commissions as retailers will no longer have to rely as heavily on banking services. The lender added that this is more likely to lead to higher profits for retailers rather than lower pricing for consumers.
Analysts predict that banks face roughly 50 billion rubles in losses yearly once a CBDC is launched, while retailers are expected to see a savings of 80 billion rubles annually, according to a separate report.
Russia has been looking into CBDCs for a number of years and is currently conducting a preliminary test with 15 banks, including Gazprombank.
The bank also noted that introducing a digital form of the national currency would increase the transparency of all financial transactions, which it said will have a positive effect on the economy and the country’s banking system.
Meanwhile, Russia’s finance minister Anton Siluanov recently told local media that CBDCs are a reliable financial tool because it is issued and backed by the country’s central bank.
Russia has previously said it hopes to roll out the CBDC by 2024, ahead of the next Presidential election.
However, as the Sino-Russia economic bloc continues to strengthen in the wake of Western economic sanctions, the prospect of CBDCs is gaining an edge in both countries, all of which appear part of a broader geopolitical shift away from USD-denominated means of international settlement and exchange.