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    VTB to triple mortgage portfolio in 2006

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    MOSCOW, March 24 (RIA Novosti) - Vneshtorgbank 24, a retail subsidiary of state-controlled foreign trade bank Vneshtorgbank (VTB), plans to triple its mortgage portfolio in 2006, the bank's vice president said Friday.

    Addressing a conference, Mortgages in Russia, Yelena Tarasova said the bank would increase its portfolio in the country's fledgling mortgage market from $200 million at the end of 2005 to $600-650 million by the end of 2006.

    She said the bank intended to extend about 10,000 mortgages in 2006.

    Talking about the bank's mortgage program until 2010, Tarasova said VTB planned to take hold of 11-12% of the Russian market against the current 9-10%.

    According to Tarasova, the objectives required an expansion of the product line to meet the demands of the target audience, though she added that 70% of the entire portfolio was made up of loans for the secondary market.

    Tarasova said VTB 24 planned to launch an agent program in 2006 to set up a chain of agent banks where it will buy out mortgages.

    The banker added that VTB 24 was ready to buy out mortgage portfolios in line with the standards established by housing finance agencies. She also said agent banks would be selected proceeding from their cooperation with housing finance agencies, experience in the sector, financial position and reputation.

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