Orthodox Banking in Russia

One of the most bizarre news from Russia this week features the General Manager of the troubled “Peresvet” bank Alexander Schvets who ended up in an intensive care unit just as his bank was forced to limit the withdrawal of deposits to 100,000 rubles (USD 1,500) per client. On October 14, TV channel RainTV reported that Schvets disappeared after the rating agency Fitch published an audit of the bank’s operations and found that it lent 12 billion rubles (USD 192 million) to companies that hardly have any assets at all. “Peresvet” denied the connection between the disappearance of Schvets and the report issued by Fitch.
To make things more interesting, “Peresvet’s” single largest shareholder is none other than the Russian Orthodox Church with 36.5 percent of the shares. Notwithstanding its numinous background, the bank is keen on supporting innovative technologies: “Peresvet” is one of the founders of two venture fund management companies, one of which was established jointly with Rosnano, Russian government agency for investments in nanotechnology, known for massive losses.

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