Rates of Vneshtorgbank development 50% higher than Russian banking sector's average

NOVO-OGAREVO, June 3 (RIA Novosti) - President of Vneshtorgbank (Foreign Trade Bank) Andrei Kostin told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Vneshtorgbank's development rates were 50% higher than the Russian banking sector's average.

"The country's banking sector is developing dynamically, and the rates of Vneshtorgbank's development are 50% higher than the sector's average," Kostin said.

According to him, last year's increment in assets in the banking sector was 54%, with advances portfolio growing by 80%. "Profits reached 10 billion rubles ($352 million)," the head of Vneshtorgbank said.

"Emphasis is laid on socially important activity, first of all community outreach, mortgage lending and work with small business," Kostin added.

He told President Putin that August 1 would see the launch of an extensive project, VTB-24, simultaneously in 40 Russian regions.

"Main kinds of bank services are offered to the population virtually 24 hours a day," Kostin said.

Speaking about his participation in the opening ceremony of Vneshtorgbank's office in Kiev along with Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and Andrei Kostin, not long before, President Putin asked the latter about how the work of the office went on.

"The work is going on well, and we have many clients," the head of the bank answered.

"The bank is seeking to create an extensive network abroad," he stressed, adding that three banks operated in the CIS and four in Western Europe.

"We intend to open a number of banks abroad before the end of the year," Kostin said.

Head of the Bank of Russia Sergei Ignatyev announced earlier that the sale of Russian overseas banks to Vneshtorgbank would be settled by the end of 2005. Intense consultations are currently being held on the issue with financial watchdogs in Russia and in the countries where Russian overseas banks are located.

Vneshtorgbank is the country's largest commercial bank in terms of authorized capital, which totals 42.1 billion rubles ($1.5 billion). The Russian government holds a 99.9% stake in the bank. Among other shareholders are the Gazexport limited liability company, Sberbank (Savings Bank), the Energomashexport closed company, the Ingosstrakh open insurance company and Russia's Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Vneshtorgbank was granted the highest ratings by Moody's Investors Service, Standard & Poor's and Fitch. Vneshtorgbank is represented abroad by six subsidiaries in Zurich (Switzerland), Limassol (Cyprus), Vienna (Austria), Kiev (Ukraine), Tbilisi (Georgia) and Yerevan (Armenia), associated banks in Frankfurt am Main (Germany ) and Luxembourg, offices in Milan (Italy), Beijing (China), New Delhi (India) and Minsk (Belarus).

The bank owns a wide network of offices, subsidiaries and associated banks, situated in the most important and promising economic regions of Russia.

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