Russian Banks Enter The Computer Age

The Russian Republic is gearing up to push its backward banking system into the 20th century. On Sept. 24, the Russian government signed a preliminary agreement with American Telephone & Telegraph's NCR unit to computerize the Russian banking system. The contract is worth up to $1.5 billion. The deal would involve installing computers, automatic teller machines, and communications equipment in up to 40,000 Russian savings banks over the next five years.

In a separate development, Russian executives who travel abroad will soon be able to have their own Visa cards--legally--for the first time. CredoBank, one of the republic's 3,000 fledgling commercial banks, will start issuing Visa debit cards to customers with hard-currency accounts at the bank.

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