If the Central Bank were the General Staff

On Thursday from the plenary discussion “Digital development. How to keep the pace?!» the forum of innovative financial technologies FINOPOLIS 2021/22 has begun – this discussion turned out to be interesting and, what is important, optimistic.

Elvira Nabiullina moderated, Maksut Shadayev, Mikhail Oseevsky, German Gref, Andrey Kostin (VTB) and Sergey Khotimsky (Sovcombank) participated.

The general impression is that the bankers, in the ninth month of unthinkable sanctions, are doing well. The banking system has experienced a disconnection from international payment systems, and in some places from SWIFT. The information security of the domestic fintech managed to be ensured under attacks of prohibitive – probably the maximum possible – intensity.

This fact is yet to be comprehended. For the time being, we will limit ourselves to a military analogy: the significance of the fact that banking IT systems in Russia today work is comparable to the success of the battle for Moscow in December 1941.

The NSPK and SBP are the merit of the Central Bank, without which the banks would not have coped. “They don’t supply ATMs – okay, the digital ruble will help us,” says Khotimsky. This should be considered a good example of the effectiveness of the Central Bank with its technological projects.

Actually fintech services are the merit of banks. “I have a low opinion of the competitiveness of foreign banks,” Gref allows himself to say, and he has the right to do so. According to him, Sberbank has entered an innovative stage of development, thanks to which it is ready to solve new problems that have not yet happened.

Kostin is innocently happy about the departure of foreign software vendors. He says that by buying domestic, VTB plans to save 30 billion over three years.

See also: VTB24’s new IT platform: without domestic software products >>>

Gref complains about the same thing: without foreigners, the level of competition in the software market will decrease, and if there is no competition, there is no innovation (for innovation, it is best if competition goes country by country: space flights, supercomputers, nuclear energy, etc. – AA) . Oseevsky is also dissatisfied: due to the departure of foreigners, Rostelecom does not save money, like VTB, but vice versa.

Shadayev spoke about the importance of trust – IT-specialists in the state. It wasn’t said directly, but that’s the context. The struggle for the trust of IT people is equal to the struggle for the vitality of the industry. With software developers, the Ministry of Digital Development succeeds, with equipment (read: microelectronics) it is much more difficult.

In general, the topic “where to get the chips” was practically passed over in silence, but meanwhile it is frightening.

The most interesting began (thanks to Elvira Nabiullina, who skillfully moderated it) with a discussion of the issue of the boundary between the areas of activity of the regulator and banks.

The same Gref, who, when he was the Minister of Economic Development, actually harmed The IT industry is one size fits all, now stating that it does not believe in the state’s ability to provide innovation. There comes a time when the regulator should give its projects to the market – say, a system of fast payments, the head of Sberbank believes, and quotes [нобелевского лауреата по экономике Фридриха] Hayek: the most terrible kind of monopoly is the state monopoly.

No, you think about it: Sberbank is against monopolies. The chairman of the Central Bank reacted with the words “the most terrible enemy of the state monopoly is the private monopoly.” The audience laughed (which they did repeatedly during the plenary session).

Kostin praised the Central Bank for the NSPK and SBP: many banks were ready to offer a payment system for bank cards, and no one succeeded, but Mir did work. (It is difficult to resist the temptation to recall in this regard the PRO100 system of Sberbank, funny was history).

Khotimsky praised the Central Bank, recalling how before “Sber took large market shares and built a concrete fence with barbed wire around them,” but the Central Bank did not allow this, and Sber corrected itself, “without which it would be difficult for us to compete.” (It would be difficult for us, ordinary clients, too – remember how Sber at one time erected the same concrete fence around the SBP button in its application? – AA).

How to proceed. Surprisingly, the bankers were talking about investing in startups! Kostin: “Now 70% of our costs go to solving current problems, and 30% to new ones, taking into account the new picture of the world.” And it is necessary that it be the other way around, because without money “people cannot develop further, and we do not lend them.” Cross-border payments, for example, should be somehow provided – that’s where you need to invest.

Oseevsky about the same thing: to invest more actively in infrastructure and new products, “investment in people”, in support of people, employees.

For Gref, “the crisis is a gift, there is an incentive to live, create and work, life has become more colorful and interesting.”

This text does not convey the general impression, but it is good, giving hope and creating a constructive mood. No one contradicted each other and did not even scold the regulator. Well, the result, we repeat, is obvious: everything (pah-pah) works, even NFC payments are back, thanks to Sberbank and NSPK.

It should be noted that we are now only talking about the technological side of things, the actual financial and economic policy of the Central Bank is outside the competence of

Final analogy. If our military showed at least half of the technological foresight that the bankers did … At least draft Gref into the army and appoint him chief of the General Staff.

The opinion of the editors regarding the last paragraph did not coincide with the opinion of the author

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