For Russia to have a successful market economy, a viable banking sector is essential. Most banks are still unable to offer efficient service because the Soviet Union had no retail banking tradition. The reconstruction process has been complex and time-consuming. The quality of the Russian banking system is still lower than the standards accepted in Western countries.
The Russian banking system consists of 2 main parts - a central bank (Sberbank Rossii, Russian Savings Bank) and commercial banks. Most of the commercial banks offer their customers savings deposit accounts. The more established banks provide foreign-exchange, investment and corporate services.
Bank checks are still rarely used in Russia because check clearance is a long process. Some banks offer debit cards that allow customers to pay for goods and services deducted directly from their bank balances. Only a few banks offer credit cards to customers with impeccable credit ratings. For more on baking in Russia visit our website devoted to expat finances, Expat-Wealth.com.
Opening hours vary depending on the branch. Most banks are open from 9am - 6pm on weekdays and from 9am - 3pm on Saturdays. Banks are usually closed on Sundays. There are also ATMs around the cities which allow withdrawals 24 hours a day.