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NAMMS and RMC have delivered the IX National Conference «Microfinance in Russia on the Threshold of Change: Lessons of the Crisis and New Opportunities» on November 17-19, 2010 at the Holiday Inn Moscow Sokolniki, Moscow.
The National Association of Microfinance Market Stakeholders (NAMMS) and the Russian Microfinance Center have delivered the IX National Conference «Microfinance in Russia on the Threshold of Change: Lessons of the Crisis and New Opportunities» on November 17-19, 2010 t the Holiday Inn Moscow Sokolniki, Moscow.The photos and presentation (in Russian) from the conference are available at: http://conf.rmcenter.ru/2010/report/
The conference attracted more than 500 representatives from microfinance organizations, banks, the federal and regional authorities and international development institutions from Russia and other countries. Participants discussed microfinance regulations, conditions and practical examples of the use of innovation to increase the availability of financial services for the whole population and all business groups in the post-crisis environment in Russia and the world.
Alexei Savatyugin, Russian deputy finance minister, told conference participants of the measures taken by the Russian government to increase the availability of financial services for the public. Savatyugin noted that the concept of microfinance, which both the government and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev actively support, has become part of the government's anti-crisis program. The law On Microfinance and Microfinance Organizations was passed in July this year and will come into effect in 2011. The law was introduced to ensure effective market regulation and protect the rights of consumers of financial services. The government is also preparing a number of regulatory acts to develop the microfinance market and a medium-term strategy for development of the banking sector, in which particular attention is paid to microfinance issues. Furthermore, a new draft law has been submitted to the Duma On the National Payment System regulating the electronic money market and creating conditions for an improvement in the availability of financing.
Mikhail Mamuta, president of the National Partnership of Microfinance Market Stakeholders (NAMMS), emphasized at the opening of the conference that financial services must be available everywhere and for everyone in Russia. This will accelerate the modernization of the financial system and the economy on the whole as well as improve standards of living for the general population. “In Russia almost half of the working age population and 60% of micro businesses don’t have access to financial services. Generally this is those who live in small towns and remote regions or with a low income or entrepreneurs just setting up their businesses. With proper regulation, microfinance, electronic money and many other innovative solutions will help increase the availability of financing and the quality of services, as well as help fight poverty”, Mamuta noted.
According to Garegin Tosunyan, president of the Association of Russian Banks, the microfinance market is valued at 200-300 billion rubles. However, there are still not enough microfinance organizations to meet consumer demand. The main task now is to put the conditions in place so that growth in the microfinancing market will mean the cost of loans is reduced.
According to NAMMS, since 2003 in Russia, the volume of microfinancing has multiplied 9 times and is now approaching one million dollars. This year growth on the microfinancing services market in Russia was 17%.
Sergey Kryukov, chairman of the board at the Russian Bank for Development (RBD) spoke about the development of microfinance institutions. The RBD sees its role as supporting and developing microfinance infrastructure in Russia, as well as developing and implementing global best practice and governing standards.
The government is also stepping up financial support for the microfinance market in an effort to control the effects of the crisis and to tackle poverty and unemployment. As part of discussions at the conference, participants shared examples of similar projects, including a joint project that has just started between the Federal Labor and Employment Service, the NAMMS and Opora Russia to support the unemployed. Many experts shared their experiences, including Michaela Walsh, founder of Women's World Banking, Amit Sah, head of consumer banking at Citi in Russia and the CIS and Timothy Lyman, senior policy advisor to the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) who has worked with the G20's Financial Inclusion Experts Group.
Participants noted that the conference is an effective platform for analyzing pressing issues and exploring innovative ways to develop the Russian financial system.
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The conference was organized by the National Partnership of Microfinance Market Stakeholders (NAMMS) and the Russian Microfinance Center with the support of the State Duma, the RF Federation Council of the Federal Assembly, the RF Ministry of Finance and the RF Ministry of Economic Development, as well as the RF Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
National Partnership of Microfinance Market Stakeholders (NAMMS)
The NAMMS works with various financial and credit institutions to create a small business microfinancing and crediting system in Russia. NAMMS' mission is to assist in the development of microfinancing in Russia by developing microfinance standards and legislation governing microfinancing and related institutions and supporting the implementation of microfinance programs for financial and credit institutions taking into account the evolving needs of small businesses by working with professional organizations representing the interests of stakeholders in the microfinance market.
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