Credit Institutions



russian banking sector: forecast for 2024

  • In 2023, the Russian banking system proved it is able to successfully develop despite the contradictory conditions of the operating environment. The sector’s net profit will exceed RUB 3.3 tln by the end of the year, which is a new record. Furthermore, the sector managed to grow net interest and net commission income. Banks were able to increase their portfolio in all key segments with cumulative growth of over 25%.

  • Conditions for development of the sector are gradually deteriorating. The hiking of the key rate from 7.5% to 16% this year will most likely lead to a considerable decline in the rates of growth of the loan portfolio, which may grow by no more than 15% in 2024. In addition, ACRA considers there to be a significant risk of deterioration in the quality of the portfolio in the corporate segment, where a fairly large share of loans are provided at a floating rate, and in 2023 there was a significant increase in the debt load.

  • The deterioration of lending conditions is another factor that is beginning to negatively affect the pace of industry development. To limit the growth of the population’s debt load, this year the Bank of Russia introduced higher RWA ratios in unsecured and mortgage lending. ACRA also expects the growth rate of the mortgage portfolio, which exceeded 25% this year, to slow to 13–15% due to the gradual restriction of the use of government support measures.

  • The influence of those factors may lead to a decrease in net profit in 2024. In ACRA’s opinion, bank profits will amount to about RUB 3 tln under an optimistic scenario. However, the prospects for the implementation of this scenario depend on how successfully banks and borrowers cope with rising rates. At the same time, the Agency expects a reduction in the influence of foreign exchange transactions on profits, as well as deductions for the creation of new reserves.

  • The sector continues to be resilient in terms of most metrics. Even amid rapid growth of assets, the sector continues to have a capital surplus of around RUB 5 tln. The quality of the portfolio continues to be stable, with the sector avoiding the delayed rise in non-performing loans due to the restructurings of 2022.

  • 2023 saw an increase in banks’ use of government funding to fuel asset growth. However, the Agency assumes that on the back of the growth in rates, retail liabilities (the share of which amounted to 36% of client funds at the end of 2023) will play a more important role in 2024, and this will lead to increased competition among banks for the cheapest resources (including payroll projects).

Table 1. Performance of key indicators of the Russian banking system in 2020–2024










Balance sheet indicators

Loans and other credit, total







Corporate loans







Retail loans







Including mortgage loans







Client deposits, total







Corporate deposits







Retail deposits







Public organizations (growth)

RUB tln





Asset quality

Corporate past due debt[1]







Retail past due debt







Financial ratios






















Net profit

RUB bln






1 1+ day past due loans according to the Bank of Russia’s accounting standards.
Sources: Bank of Russia, ACRA


The Russian banking sector’s performance in 2023 not only demonstrates that it has overcome the challenges it faced since February 2022, but also demonstrates its ability to develop successfully and sustainably.

According to the Agency’s estimates, the net profit of Russian banks in 2023 will exceed RUB 3.3 tln, while growth of the aggregate loan portfolio may amount to more than 25% amid increasing lending in both the corporate and retail segments.

The industry also avoided the noticeable impact of delayed realization of credit risks, which could have followed large-scale restructurings in 2022; this indicates that both banks and borrowers have successfully adapted to the new conditions.

Despite credit institutions’ continued interest in further increasing active operations and growing demand for banking services in Russia, the sector’s development may slow down in 2024.

In general, ACRA notes that the banking sector retains potential for growth in 2024. The Agency expects GDP growth in real terms to amount to 0.5–1.3% next year, amid investments in fixed capital increasing by 2.5–3.75% and further growth in industrial production and retail trade turnover.

At the same time, the sector is facing new challenges that may require credit institutions to adjust their strategies, which were successful in 2023.

The main challenge is the tightening of monetary policy and the radical increase in the key rate from 7.5% to 16%. According to the Agency, the higher rate will not only slow down lending growth, but may also become a factor in the deterioration of the quality of the corporate portfolio.

Another challenge is changing regulation of the activities of credit institutions, primarily expressed in the reduction of preferential mortgage programs and tightening of requirements for unsecured lending to certain categories of citizens.

Amid changing conditions, ACRA expects net profit in 2024 to be below the 2023 indicator and reach RUB 3 tln under an optimistic scenario. The growth of the loan portfolio will also slow down and be in the range of 10–15% by the end of 2024.

ACRA also notes that 2023 was the third year in a row when there was a significant change in the banking sector’s operating environment. While the challenges the industry has faced over the past 12 months are much less significant compared to 2020 and even less so than in 2022, the sector continues to demonstrate a very high level of resilience and ability to adapt to rapid changes. Taking this into account, the Agency assumes that new challenges will push credit institutions to modify strategies, which will not only limit the impact of next year’s challenges on its results, but also exceed 2023’s indicators in certain areas.


ACRA expects the banking sector’s profit to exceed RUB 3.3 tln by the end of 2023, which will be a new record.

The improvement of banks’ ability to generate profit is mainly due to the growth of net interest income, which was influenced by both the rapid increase in the size of the loan portfolio, as well as the increase in net interest margin (NIM increased from 4% to 4.6% in January–September). The Agency expects net interest income to reach RUB 6 tln by the end of the current year.

A characteristic feature of 2023 was the stability of NIM in the third quarter despite the increase in the key rate, which confirms the ability of banks to adapt to changes in monetary policy even in the context of the existing duration gap (the average maturity of assets exceeds the maturity of liabilities). In the future, ACRA expects that although profitability will be under certain pressure, it will not record a considerable decline, which will be facilitated by both a sufficiently large share of floating rate loans provided to corporate borrowers, and an increased inflow of household funds into deposits against the backdrop of rising profitability of savings products, allowing banks to contain the cost of funding. Taking this into account, ACRA expects NIM to be within 4–4.3% in 2024.

Figure 1. The sensitivity of NIM to changes in the key rate is limited

Sources: Bank of Russia, ACRA

At the same time, tightening monetary policy, reducing preferential mortgage lending programs, and increasing regulatory pressure on consumer lending will lead to slower growth of the loan portfolio, which will also limit the ability of banks to increase interest income. According to the Agency’s estimates, net interest income will range from RUB 6.2 to 6.7 tln by the end of 2024.

Banks also managed to increase non-interest income — net commission income will approach RUB 2 tln by the end of this year. ACRA believes that, despite a number of measures taken by various regulatory authorities to limit the possibility of receiving commission income (for example, when transferring funds and paying for housing and communal services by certain categories of the population), the industry will continue to increase revenues that are unrelated to credit transactions. Significant marketing efforts and investments are now being directed toward achieving this goal.

Regardless of expected growth of net interest and commission income in 2024, the sector’s ability to repeat or exceed its outstanding performance of 2023 will heavily depend on such factors as income from foreign exchange transactions, as well as the size of credit impairment reserves.

Figure 2. Breakdown of net profit for 9M 2022, RUB bln

For details, see ACRA’s forecast Charting a Course from November 28, 2023.

In January to September 2023, income received by banks from foreign exchange transactions amounted to about RUB 1.12 tln, or 17% of operating income before reserves. Various systemically important credit institutions (SICIs) generated from 7% to 50% of operating income through foreign exchange transactions. The main factor behind this result was the depreciation of the ruble against the US dollar, which partly pushed the Bank of Russia to tighten monetary policy. ACRA expects the average USD/RUB annual exchange rate at 86.5–91.9 in 2024. Lower volatility in the foreign exchange market, in the Agency’s opinion, will be the reason for a significant decrease in revenues from operations in this market — in the relatively stable years of 2019 and 2021 — the total result from foreign exchange operations was close to neutral. ACRA believes that the result from currency transactions may also be close to zero in 2024.

Another aspect of the formation of the financial result in 2023 was the persistence of high deductions for additional creation of reserves. This differs from the situation in 2020–2021, when the cost of risk in the post-crisis period was significantly lower than during the period of deterioration of the operating environment, and the volume of newly created reserves in 2021 (RUB 486 bln) was more than three times lower than the figure recorded a year earlier (RUB 1,760 bln). Reserves created directly for the loan portfolio reached RUB 1,193 bln in 2020 and RUB 295 bln in 2021.

Reserves created by Russian banks over 9M 2023 amounted to RUB 1,685 bln, which is comparable to the same period in 2022 (RUB 1,698 bln). At the same time, reserves created for the corporate portfolio (RUB 628 bln) were higher than in January to September 2022 (RUB 465 bln). In its Banking Sector Review for Q3 2023, the Bank of Russia noted that the cost of risk this year is lower than the average values recorded since 2018. However, according to the Review, the cost of risk in the corporate segment in the second and third quarters of this year exceeded the values for the same period in 2022.

Assessing the volume of additionally created reserves in 2023, ACRA assumes that the sector in principle will maintain its conservative approach to risk assessment, primarily in the corporate segment. With this in mind, the main creditors are not in a rush to dissolve the reserves they created in 2022, which could offset the negative effect of new charges. The cancellation of easing with regard to the creation of reserves for loans provided to sanctions-hit borrowers could also produce a certain effect. Should the cost of risk be maintained at the level as of the end of 2023, additionally created reserves for the loan portfolio may amount to RUB 1.3–1.4 tln.

At the same time, a heightened share of reserves for other receivables, which include, among other things, receivables from banks and securities, has remained in the overall structure of created reserves in 2023. The total volume of these receivables exceeded RUB 640 bln in January to September 2023 (in 2022, banks created RUB 1.1 tln of reserves for these receivables). At the same time, the Agency believes that a significant amount of them is accounted for by frozen assets (including currency revaluation for them).

In ACRA’s opinion, the persistence of a high volume of new reserves for other receivables may be due to the fact that credit institutions, taking advantage of increased profitability in 2023, created reserves for frozen assets in an amount exceeding the level required by the Bank of Russia (10% annually).

ACRA notes that the volume of reserves created for other receivables is difficult to predict, but expects it to decline in 2024, largely against the backdrop of stabilization of the foreign exchange market.

Thanks to the combination of the above factors, the net profit of the industry could reach RUB 3 tln under an optimistic scenario by the end of 2024, however, the Agency believes that the record is unlikely to be repeated.

The risk to the implementation of the forecast remains the fairly high unpredictability of the impact of increasing interest rates in the corporate segment on the quality of debt. ACRA assumes this process may be accompanied by a significant amount of restructuring and additional creation of reserves, as a result of which the total profit in 2024 may be lower than the specified forecast.


High demand for borrowed funds among legal entities continued in 2023, as a result of which portfolio growth in January to October 2023 exceeded 20% (15.6% excluding the impact of currency fluctuations). According to the Bank of Russia, this growth was accompanied by an increase in the number of borrowers, the total number of which has increased by more than 90,000 since the beginning of the year. ACRA, in turn, notes that around 50% of loans issued were loans with terms of over a year (most of which could be investment loans), while, for example, in 2021 their share was about 30%.

New loan issuances and growth of the portfolio are largely due to construction companies, which is obviously determined by the high growth rates of residential construction. At the same time, an increase in debt load has been observed in all major industrial sectors. The incentives for the growth of corporate lending also include the active implementation of state policy aimed at ensuring technological sovereignty and structural adaptation of the economy to new conditions. Simultaneously, the implementation of preferential programs in the SME segment contributed to the portfolio growing by 20%.

The forecast for continued economic growth in 2024 reinforces the Agency’s view that corporate lending will continue to grow next year. ACRA notes that despite rapid growth, loan issuance rates in 2023 remained below 2021 levels, which may indicate continued potential for lending recovery as the economy remains resilient.

Table 2. Construction accounts for more than 30% of portfolio growth

Real estate transactions

RUB 3.3 tln

Metals and mining




Transport and communications*






* Mainly pipelines
** Including sectors not specified here
Sources: Bank of Russia, ACRA

Metrics used to assess the national business climate are consistently high, which indicates entrepreneurs’ continued optimism. This, in turn, will support sufficiently high demand for loans in the coming months.

Another factor that will facilitate the increased growth rates of the corporate loan portfolio may be the preservation of capital reserves by Russian banks amid an increased inflow of retail funds driven by attractive deposit terms. In general, ACRA believes that banks’ appetite for expanding portfolios in the corporate segment is quite high, which is supported by the high quality of borrowers.

In ACRA’s opinion, the tighter monetary policy will be a factor that slows the growth rate of the corporate loan portfolio, but the effect of this may be moderate. The Agency notes that in the first months of the new lending conditions, there was no pronounced impact of rate hikes on the volume of new loans. Thus, regardless that the volume of loans issued in September was 7.2% lower than in August, it was 12% higher than the average monthly amount of loans granted since the beginning of 2023. In addition, an increase in the total volume of the portfolio was observed in October.

This situation indicates a relatively low sensitivity of demand for credit resources (primarily loans for replenishing working capital) to increased borrowing costs, which may be explained, on the one hand, by borrowers’ continued optimism regarding further economic growth, and on the other hand, by the need of large (primarily state-owned) corporations to continue investment activity aimed at, among other things, the structural transformation of the economy.

In 2024, the logical consequence of high rates will be, first of all, a decrease in the volume of investment loans provided for purposes that are not related to government programs or do not benefit from various government support measures. However, the scale of this reduction is also unlikely to be major, given that banks retain some room to curb the growth in the cost of credit.

At the same time, ACRA is of the opinion that the impact of rate hikes on the growth rate of the corporate portfolio will be limited, but the quality of the portfolio may be affected significantly.

The Bank of Russia estimates the share of loans provided at a floating rate at 60% of the total portfolio in such sectors as oil and gas, metals, chemicals, and at 30% for SMEs, but ACRA believes that the share of these loans may be significantly higher. In the Agency’s opinion, most of the issued loans contain terms that allow lenders to raise the interest rate in one way or another in response to changing market conditions. Moreover, in ACRA’s view, floating-rate loans may dominate new issuances in a period of growing expectations of tighter monetary policy.

At the start of the tightening of the monetary policy in August 2023, the average credit risk premium in the banking system was 2–2.5% for short-term loans and 1.5–2% for long-term loans, which indicates high sensitivity of the amount of loan repayments to changes in the key rate. In this situation, an increase in the key rate from 7.5% in July to the current 16% may be accompanied by an increase in interest payments by 1.7–1.8 times.

In its Financial Stability Review for Q2 and Q3 2023, the Bank of Russia reported that the interest coverage ratio of the largest companies in the oil and gas sector, metals and mining sector, and fertilizer sector was 11.4, 7.5, and 10.3, respectively. These indicators allow borrowers to increase interest payments significantly, although the expected growth of payments will push up borrowers’ sensitivity to the stability of operating income. A comparable increase in the ratio is likely to occur in other corporate lending segments.

Figure 4. Debt load is growing in the oil and gas, metals and chemicals sectors 

Source: Bank of Russia

According to the Bank of Russia’s estimates for 70 largest non-financial companies whose debt amounted to 36.3% of the debt of the entire non-financial sector as of June 30, 2023, following the key rate hike, the total share of debt of companies that do not have sufficient operating profit to cover interest payments may exceed 12%, while the number of debt restructurings in this sample is not high, in the Bank of Russia’s opinion. At the same time, the average solvency of borrowers outside the sample may be lower, which may result in a sufficiently large number of restructurings if the period of high rates goes on for too long.

Moreover, the projected (including due to tighter monetary policy) slowdown in the GDP growth, accompanied by a decrease in borrowers’ revenues expected from operations in the domestic market, may lead to the negative impact of rising rates on the solvency not being limited solely to an increase in interest expenses.

Housing construction may be among the most affected sectors if rising mortgage rates result in such a serious drop in sales that developers encounter problems servicing their loans.

In a negative scenario, ACRA expects that a prolonged period of high interest rates could lead to over 3% of the corporate loan portfolio becoming distressed or potentially distressed debt that may require restructuring. As of October 1, 2023, the share of loans of IV–V quality categories was 5.6%, but this share may reach 8–9% on the horizon of 12–18 months.

In addition, the GDP growth slowdown may also become a factor exerting pressure on the volume of new loans. ACRA expects the nominal volume of investments in fixed assets and the retail turnover to continue growing in 2024, which in one way or another will drive lending. However, a slowdown of the growth of both indicators along with the effect of rising interest rates may lead to the fact that the growth rate of the corporate portfolio in 2024 will be in the range of 10–15%.

retail lending — goodbye dolce vita

For details, see ACRA’s forecast Charting a Course from November 28, 2023.

Throughout the year, the main lines of retail lending have demonstrated steady growth, overcoming both rate hikes and regulatory restrictions with varying success.

Consumer lending was under pressure from the Bank of Russia’s increasingly tight macroprudential policy, which aims to curb the growth of households’ debt burden. In the regulator’s view, the main risk factor is a large proportion of loans with a relatively high debt-to-income (DTI) in the total volume of new loans. Although the quality of the unsecured portfolio did not deteriorate in 2022, the share of loans issued to borrowers with a DTI of 80%+ reached 37% in Q4 2022, which is certainly high.

It is notable that attempts to directly limit the issuance of loans in the most risky market segments have had limited success. Although the share of loans issued to borrowers with a DTI of 80%+ has fallen below 30% since the beginning of the year, in April 2023, the growth rate of the entire portfolio returned to the level that was observed back in 2021. At the same time, the volume of loans issued to borrowers with an increased DTI has also grown, as well as the volume and share of loans issued to borrowers whose DTI is 50–80%, which suggests that banks are modifying their lending terms in order to support business growth. The introduction of increased RWA ratios in parallel with growing interest rates allowed banks to constrain the growth of the unsecured portfolio to 1% in October 2023. However, the impact of these measures on the volume of loans issued to borrowers with a high DTI and, as a result, on the creditworthiness of the population, has yet to be assessed.

The Agency believes that borrowers’ demand will remain quite high in 2024. This will allow banks to maintain the portfolio growth rate at 1–1.2% per month so that the annual increase will be 12–15%. At the same time, the Agency believes that banks retain a very high interest in the development of this segment, but their focus may shift from the deferred payment segment to buy now, pay later products, as well as MFIs.

The quality of the unsecured portfolio will depend on higher interest rates to a much lesser extent than in the corporate segment, since these borrowings are carried out mainly at a floating rate. In addition, the higher surcharges to RWA ratios on loans provided to borrowers with increased DTI somewhat reduces the risks of replacing repayable assets with loans provided at a higher rate. However, ACRA considers the low unemployment rate to be the main factor supporting the quality of the portfolio, which, in the Agency’s opinion, will remain in the range of 2.8–3.2% in 2024. Another factor is the further growth of real incomes of the population (by 1.2–2.1%). Largely due to this, the Agency expects that the quality of the retail portfolio will remain stable (the share of NPL90+ will remain below 10%).

Figure 5. Growing loans to borrowers with high DTI has not impacted the portfolio quality

Source: Bank of Russia

At the same time, ACRA maintains its position that the growing debt burden of households is a systemic risk, and its significance is determined not only by an increase in the number of borrowers, but also by the fact that the total amount of income is mainly spent on essential goods, which increases the sensitivity of solvency to the risks of rising unemployment, falling real incomes, etc. In this regard, ACRA believes that a further increase in the volume of loans issued to borrowers with heightened DTI gradually increases the probability of a systemic crisis in this segment, however, the Agency does not associate this scenario with the current operating environment.

Contrary to expectations, 2023 will be a record year in terms of issued mortgage loans. In 10 months of this year alone, the volume of the mortgage portfolio in the Russian banking system increased by RUB 3.5 tln (or 25%), while its growth for the whole of 2022, 2021 and 2020 amounted to RUB 2 tln (+17%), RUB 2.5 tln (+26%), and RUB 1.7 tln (+21%), respectively, which previously seemed to be an extremely aggressive trend. Retail customers continue to borrow loans to buy residential real estate, even though interest rates are growing fast and prices are not falling.

The main drivers of this increased demand are: 1) the intent to avoid depreciation of savings against the background of rising inflation; 2) the need to improve housing conditions; 3) the intent to buy a home using a mortgage loan before the next increase in interest rates and down payments and/or while preferential programs and promotions from developers are in effect; 4) lower interest in savings in dollars and euros due to the strengthening of the ruble, as well as in speculative operations on the securities market. In addition, the growth is undoubtedly supported by large-scale preferential programs that are part of more than 90% of new loans on average.

Figure 6. Government programs play a key role in supporting mortgage growth rate

Regulatory innovations and rate increases may have an equally strong impact on the growth prospects of the mortgage segment compared to the consumer lending segment. Similar to the unsecured lending segment, an increase in the share of loans to borrowers with high DTI was the reason for intervention of the regulator that established increased RWA ratios for certain categories of loans. The terms and conditions for loans issued under preferential programs are also changing (mainly due to an increase in the down payment). Given the relatively small size of the risk premium in mortgages, the impact of the rate on mortgage service costs will be more extensive compared to unsecured lending.

At the same time, as described above, until now, the population’s demand for real estate has shown very low elasticity to the deterioration of conditions for obtaining housing. Given the continued price growth in the primary market, the key rate hikes and the restriction of benefits may not result in the expected effect. ACRA believes that the mortgage portfolio will grow from 10% to 15% by the end of 2024. However, in the case of a softer monetary policy, the Agency does not exclude the possibility of a more significant increase.

The quality of the mortgage portfolio remains high (overdue loans amount to less than 0.5%), despite the increase in the DTI in new loans. This situation is likely to continue in 2024, but rising rates are likely to limit the volume of early repayments, which may lead to a buildup of non-performing loans.

The revival of car loans in 2023 was associated with the gradual recovery of supply in the automotive market, thanks to which the growth of the loan portfolio in this segment may reach 40% by the end of the year. ACRA notes that the monthly number of car sales remains below the level of 2021, so the portfolio of car loans may grow by 20% or more in 2024, even amid rising rates. However, the market has not yet fully adapted to the changing car model range and the growing dominance of Chinese passenger vehicles. This may curb growth of both the car market and car loans if the cars sold in 2023 fail to match consumer expectations. At the same time, the Agency sees an increase in banks’ interest in car loans, which may drive their work with potential car buyers who are ready to become borrowers.

As in the other retail segments, the probability of deterioration in the quality of the car loan portfolio is low.

capital and funding — there’s enough money

Even with the rapid growth of the loan portfolio, excess internal funds in the industry remain high. This not only allows banks to maintain a loss absorption buffer, but makes further growth of the loan portfolio possible as well.

At the end of 2023, the total surplus of internal funds in the system amounted to about RUB 5 tln, which, other things being equal, makes it possible to increase the loan portfolio by almost RUB 60 tln. Although this surplus is unevenly distributed among banks (Sberbank accounts for about 40%), ACRA notes that all SICIs retain a certain margin of safety. In addition, it is worth emphasizing that most SICIs do not apply the Bank of Russia’s permission not to comply with macro additions to capital adequacy standards, and none of the SICIs will experience problems with the planned increase in additions by 0.5% from January 1, 2024. On the other hand, the values of N1.0 and N1.2 capital adequacy ratios are currently lower than the indicators observed as of February 1, 2022.

ACRA expects the high profitability of banks to be maintained in 2024 and a slowdown in portfolio growth, which will enable credit institutions to avoid a fall in capital adequacy ratios in the next 12 months. The current margin of safety and the ability of most banks to increase capital at the expense of profits indicate that the industry has no need in capital injections following the results of overcoming the problems of 2022. In addition, ACRA believes that a significant amount of capital received by banks as profits will not be used for further business expansion, but instead will be paid as dividends, the total amount of which may exceed RUB 1.5 tln by the end of 2024.

Figure 7. Capital surplus allows the industry to expand the loan portfolio fast

Source: Bank of Russia

The behavior of credit institutions’ resource base in 2023 was characterized by a significant increase in the volume of federal funds, primarily from the Federal Treasury. The total amount of these funds increased by RUB 4.5 tln over the year (which is comparable to the increase in funds of corporate and retail customers), while their share in the total liabilities is relatively small (less than 10%).

ACRA expects banks to gradually return to more common funding sources (primarily, retail accounts and deposits).

ACRA notes that the share of funds of individuals (excluding funds held in brokerage accounts and escrow accounts) in the total volume of client funds was about 50% in 2020, but now it is less than 40%. At the same time, by the end of 2023, cash held by households (both national currency and foreign currency) exceeded RUB 20 tln.

After the significant increase in the key rate, retail funds held with banks increased accordingly. In the Agency’s opinion, this trend will continue in the coming months, which, against the background of slowing portfolio growth, will provide credit institutions with sufficient resources for development.

At the same time, ACRA believes that competition among banks for relatively cheap resources will grow. The interest of credit institutions in simultaneously maintaining the portfolio growth rate and profitability will encourage them to compete more actively for payroll projects, social benefit payments, etc.

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Valeriy Piven
Managing Director, Head of Financial Institutions Ratings Group
+7 (495) 139 04 93
Svetlana Panicheva
Head of External Communications
+7 (495) 139 04 80, ext. 169
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