He said the agreement on the acquisition of a controlling share of Sberbank has already been reached. "Now we are close to completing the deal. We only have to obtain the Central Bank's consent," Mr. Kostin said.
Mr. Kostin noted that there is an agreement to open a Vneshtorgbank branch in Ukraine. "Our bank must receive the state registration by August and the banking license by September," Mr. Kostin said.
Negotiations on opening branches in Kazakhstan and Georgia are being held as well, Mr. Kostin mentioned.
He said the concept of Vneshtorgbank's development envisages the doubling of its branches and offices by 2008.
By 2006, Vneshtorgbank is going to open 25 new branches in Russian cities with a population over 200,000.
The development of this infrastructure requires at least $50 million a year.
Today Vneshtorgbank has 43 branches.