BOFIT Viikkokatsaus / BOFIT Weekly Review 2018/10

While access to banking services in Russia overall is quite satisfactory by international standards, disparities across regions and various population groups are large. Many pensioners, for example, have poor access to banking services, and about a third of them do not even have bank accounts. The key goals of the strategy draft paper concern access to high-quality financial services outside big cities and development of online banking services. These goals necessarily overlap, as web and mobile services are seen as critical in bringing banking and other financial services to households even in small localities and sparsely populated areas. Digitalisation of financial services and financial supervision are also supported in the central bank's 2018–2020 Fintech programme.

Besides technical solutions, expansion of access to financial services requires greater financial awareness. Survey studies in recent years have found that the average Russian's level of financial literacy is quite rudimentary. In particular, understanding of basic economic concepts such as inflation and interest rates is feeble. In October 2017, the government approved a strategy developed by the finance ministry and CBR to promote financial literacy during 2017–2023. The financial literacy campaign seeks, among other things, to introduce new teaching materials, both online and printed, laying out fundamental economic concepts to be integrated into regular school curricula.

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