Bank of Russia mimics commercial banks in holding an investor conference call

The Bank of Russia reaches out to a broader international expert public via an inaugural joint meeting and conference call with institutional investors. A release by its Press Service:

“Among the main points of discussion were the decisions of the recent meeting of the Bank of Russia’s Board of Directors, inflation expectations and risks as well as economic forecasts. More than 50 representatives of local and international investment funds, including from the US, UK, and continental Europe, participated in the meeting and the call.

The Bank of Russia will be holding regular meetings and teleconferences with institutional investors to increase information transparency and provide an insight into the Bank of Russia’s monetary policy.

Russia’s central bank will organize such meetings and teleconferences on a quarterly basis, following each publication of the Monetary Policy Report.

There seems to be a clear trend emerging: Central banks increasingly employ communication techniques pursued by commercial companies in establishing a two-way dialog with key stakeholders.

Russians choose bank note symbols in public competition

The Bank of Russia has become another central bank to let the general public have a say in the selection of a bank note design. Its public competition to select city symbols for new 200 and 2000 ruble bank notes on a dedicated website (Твоя-Россия.рф) follows in the footsteps of the Bank of Canada's public request for nominations of an iconic Canadian woman to appear on a new bank note.

The Bank of Russia, as well as the Bank of Canada, leveraged the use of social media to pull their public votings off. Both provide good case studies of how central banks may try to appeal to members of the general public with an issue concerning everyone's wallet, literally.

Never before the Russians could offer and select symbols for new banknotes by themselves. The competition will be a three-step procedure with 7 October 2016 being its final day when the winners will be announced.

The qualification stage lasts one month with 28 July being the last day to send suggestions for the selection of city symbols for the new banknotes.

More than half a million of Russians have voted so far, most of them on social media. The Motherland Calls Monument in Volgograd tops the rankings.

Central banks of Russia, Armenia tip their toes into social media

The Bank of Russia and the Central Bank of Armenia have begun communicating through their newly-launched social media accounts.

The Bank of Russia launched Twitter and Facebook pages in late May. The Central Bank of Armenia established an official Facebook page earlier this week.

"Vast numbers of citizens today use these new media sources, in addition to traditional ones, to receive information. In recognition of this trend, the BoR Board decided that the Bank of Russia create its Twitter and Facebook pages," said Marina Ryklina, Head of BoR Press Service.

"It is essential that we not only inform citizens of the functioning of the Bank of Russia, but also get their feedback. Social media should therefore become an effective tool for us to build public relations."

The Bank of Russia has already operated a YouTube page to post videos, while the Central Bank of Armenia has built a followers' base on its LinkedIn profile.

Engaging in social media is certainly not an easy task for the world's central banks. Even more challenging it is for them to build, and crucially maintain, a successful presence in that online environment they neither own nor control. A central bank is a control freak by definition, and the lack of control has for years been a key reason for central banks' unease about social media.

The announcements by the Bank of Russia and the Central Bank of Armenia are yet another sign that traditionally conservative central banks are increasingly embracing social media.

My argument has long been that it is becoming increasingly untenable for central banks to ignore social media much longer.