MOSCOW, January 14 – PRIME. Mortgage lending in 2021 will remain the driver of retail lending, its portfolio at Russian banks may grow by 10%, Sergey Tishchenko, Director General of the Expert RA rating agency, told RIA Novosti. “We expect a revival in retail lending. Mortgage lending in 2021 will remain the market driver: it will grow by more than 10%, thanks to record low rates and the state interest rate subsidy program extended until mid-2021,” the expert predicts. VTB: mortgages remain a priority In addition, he expects banks will seek to increase lending in the segment of unsecured consumer loans to support profitability. The number of loan applications in Russia increased by 10% in December At the same time, lending to companies will continue in 2021 stagnation or show weak dynamics, Tishchenko said. Rampant demand for mortgages in Russia is currently supported by the program of concessional lending at 6.5%. In October, the government extended the 6.5% concessional mortgage program until July 1, 2021. Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said that the decision on the further fate of the preferential mortgage program would be made at the end of the first half of next year. At the same time, the Bank of Russia noted that extending the program for long periods of time could lead to imbalances in the market. According to the latest data from the Central Bank, the debts of Russians on loans for the purchase of housing in November increased by 0.7% – to 8.92 trillion rubles. Read the full text of the interview on the website of the Prime Economic Information Agency (part of the Russia Today media group) 1prime.ru at 10.00 Moscow time.