Russia central bank withdraws licences from four banks

MOSCOW, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Russia’s central bank said on Tuesday it had withdrawn the licences from four banks for violating banking regulations, part of a long-running campaign to clean up the country’s financial sector.

The four were Moscow-based Baltica Bank, Svyaznoy Bank and Nota-Bank, and Samara-based Ipozembank.

Nota-Bank was in Russia’s top 100 banks by assets, while Svyaznoy Bank is the banking arm of one of Russia’s largest electronics retailers.

Two of the banks, Ipozembank and Baltica Bank, were found to be engaged in suspect banking operations or high-risk lending. The other two saw their capital levels sink below the minimum required level according to Russian legislation.

The state guarantees up to 1.4 million roubles ($21,400) of retail deposits per client at banks that participate in a deposit insurance scheme. All four banks participated in the scheme, hence depositors will receive compensation.

The central bank has now revoked the licences of 87 banks this year, the same as in 2014.

The clean-up has gathered pace since Elvira Nabiullina became head of the central bank in the summer of 2013 and is partly aimed at stemming large-scale capital flight and minimising risks to depositors.

Russia still has over 700 functioning banks. President Vladimir Putin has given his public blessing to the banking-sector clean-up on a number of occasions. ($1 = 65.4600 roubles) (Reporting by Alexander Winning; Editing by Jason Bush and David Holmes)