MOSCOW, October 13 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has said that up to 200 Russian banks could cease to exist through mergers and acquisitions in the next two years.
"The restructuring of the banking sector [in Russia] will be gradual. About 50-100 banks per year may cease to exist in the next two years," Kudrin said in an interview with the Promyshlennik Rossii (Russian Industrialist) magazine.
There are about 1,100 banks in Russia at present.
Kudrin said that only 42 banks, or 3.7% of the total, have closed down during the first year of the current financial crisis, and while the number of mergers and acquisitions is expected to grow, the process would not become a massive trend.
Overall, the Russian banking system has proven its stability and the capacity to effectively withstand financial problems during the economic crisis and has a sufficient financial cushion to face emergency situations, the finance minister said.