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Central Bank Governor advises against borrowing

23 july 2014, 13:42
Central Bank Governor Kairat Kelimbetov. Photo courtesy of ortcom.kz
Central Bank Governor Kairat Kelimbetov. Photo courtesy of ortcom.kz

Central Bank Governor Kairat Kelimbetov advises Kazakhstan’s populace to abstain from borrowing from banks, a Tengrinews.kz journalist reports, citing him as telling a briefing in Astana July 22.

“I advise you to abstain from borrowing if you don’t feel confident that you can pay off. Kazakhstan’s people have been excessively eager to take mortgages and consumer loans (…) every one of us strives to better his or her living conditions, which is a natural wish. However, in more developed nations up to 70% permanently live in rented housing. People mostly don’t own the housing they live in”, Mr. Kelimbetov said, adding that he had had experience of taking loans.

“Here at the Central Bank we are often surprised seeing retired people taking loans worth $1 million. How are they supposed to pay such amounts off? Or is it a deliberate action with no intention to pay off? And how do risk managers at banks let such borrowers take that huge loans”, he said.

When commenting on consumer loans, Kairat Kelimbetov said many of the borrowers live from hand to mouth. “There are certain shortages of money in every family once in a while (…) loans enable to neutralize these shortages; however, given that the interest rate is very high, each potential borrower should think over expediency of such borrowing”.

Mid-February 2014 at the extended government sitting Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev commissioned banks’ heads to reduce the share of NPLs “in any possible ways” to 15% of their portfolio by 2015 and further to 10% by 2016.

As of the end of 2013, the share of NPLs throughout the country’s banking sector stood at 31.2%. According to Fitch Ratings, in February the indicator grew to 33%.

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