Maria Mikhailova: ‘Banks and payment systems may participate in providing government services to the people’

Maria Mikhailova, Deputy Chairperson of the Board of Center for Financial Technologies Group of Companies, took part in the Annual General Meeting of the Regional Banks’ Association. The current state and the trends in the banking business development in the regions of Russia, the participation of the Association in enhancing the role of credit organizations in modernization of the Russian economy and the issues of deploying the national payment system were discussed at the meeting.
In her speech, Maria Mikhailova noted: ‘Considering concentration of the market now existing in Russia, the decision to deploy a payment system of the national scale with exclusive possibilities on the basis of banks is critically incorrect.’
The global experience demonstrates absence of any successful examples when a bank is the organizer of a payment system. Not a single effectively functioning payment system—MasterCard, Visa, AmericanExpress, DinersClub, or Golden Crown—is based on a credit organization, Maria Mikhailova stressed.
‘This is not related to the facts that wrong cards or wrong technologies were chosen, but to those trends which directly indicate to the specialized function of being the organizer of a payment system’, Maria Mikhailova explained.
The specialized function consists in three aspects:
  • to be banks’ aggregator and not to be their competitor in any areas;
  • to act as a platform to connect banks with the retail market participants other than banks, like retail and insurance businesses;
  • to be a specialized concentrator of technologies: the simpler and the more accessible a financial product is, the more technologically sophisticated it is.
Having touched upon the subject of the Universal Electronic Card, Maria Mikhailova noted that the most effective method of providing government services to the population does not involve participation of banks in the new payment system (as all the banks are now already members of different payment systems in various combinations), but access of the operators of payment systems to the inter-agency document flow and to the social regional registers. Everyone gains from that: the population will get a possibility of making payments and of receiving services with any payment tools and the banks will be able to take part in providing government services to the population on equal terms, without competition bias.