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    Supervisory board recommends Gref as Sberbank president -1

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    The supervisory board of Sberbank, Russia's largest bank, said on Tuesday it had recommended ex-economics minister German Gref as the state-controlled saving bank's president.

    (Recasts para 2, adds background, details, Gref quotes in paras 3-11)

    MOSCOW, October 16 (RIA Novosti) - The supervisory board of Sberbank, Russia's largest bank, said on Tuesday it had recommended ex-economics minister German Gref as the state-controlled saving bank's president.

    His candidacy will be formally approved at a shareholders meeting on November 28, Sberbank said in a news release.

    The prime minister announced last week that outgoing Sberbank president Andrei Kazmin, who has held the job since 1996, will head Russia's postal service, to advance its modernization.

    Gref's spokesperson earlier said he had been considering a job in the business world after President Vladimir Putin dismissed the Cabinet on September 12. A company was not named, but sources close to the former minister suggested it would probably be a state-run company.

    An advocate of liberal economic reforms and Russia's economics minister from 2000, Gref outlined Sberbank's priority as consumer lending, including mortgage on Tuesday.

    "A large bank is a conservative bank," Gref said. "If a bank keeps more than 50% of private individuals' savings nationally, it must be highly reliable. So there must be a focus on financial stability and a proper balance of its credit portfolio in terms of risks."

    Gref also said he would focus on loans to small businesses, investment and plans to develop modern services like online banking.

    Sberbank is the largest bank in Eastern Europe with assets totaling over 3.5 trillion rubles ($141 billion), or more than 25% of Russia's overall banking assets.

    Analysts say Sberbank's share price will not depreciate in the wake of the reshuffles. Shares slipped 2.5% in early October following media reports of Kazmin's possible resignation after 10 years as Sberbank chief, but have since bounced back on the news of the respected liberal economist's upcoming appointment to the post.

    The head of Olma investment, Alexei Bystrov, said on Tuesday that Sberbank shares would continue to rise against the backdrop of the generally positive situation on the Russian stock market.

    Several Sberbank top managers announced the sale of their minor stakes on the bank's Web site, but experts attribute the moves to upcoming changes in management teams.

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