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Consumer Rights Chief Damns Reckless Bank Lending

Russia's chief sanitary inspector criticized the country's consumer lending system Wednesday, saying that loans are too easy to obtain and collection agencies often resort to illegal practices while pursuing debt payments.

"Getting a loan is criminally easy in Russia, no one is doing any checks," said Gennady Onishchenko, who heads the country's consumer rights watchdog.

"Collection agencies are not regulated by the law, they undertake functions such as investigative procedures, [they resort to] physical pressure, moral, psychological — any type of pressure to collect a loan," he said.

Onishchenko has repeatedly said that selling loans to debt collection agencies contradicts several provisions of the Russian Civil Code and the federal law on banks.

Russia has no specific legislation about debt collection, and activities of collection agencies are regulated only by several relevant provisions of the Civil Code.

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