Retailers hope to boost sales as people’s access to consumer loans improves
As of May 1st, 2017, the National Bank lifted the requirement to provide a certificate of income when applying for a consumer loan. This requirement was introduced in April 2014 in order to restrict loans to individuals who later could not service the loan. Amid lowered interest rates and small share of troubled loans among the population, most banks are likely to abandon the income certificate rule for small loans. The competition on the consumer lending market is likely to increase, as well, the length period for instalments in some retailers on consumer purchases could be increased and size of overpayments decreased. As people’s wages increase, they could step up demand for consumer loans, and retailers could offer more goods with a low initial payment or without the down payment altogether.
The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.