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Head of Sberbank speaks in favor of bank’s privatization

Russia’s Central Bank is the founder and main shareholder of Sberbank
Sberbank CEO Herman Gref  Mikhail Metzel/TASS
Sberbank CEO Herman Gref
© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, September 12. /TASS/. Sberbank CEO Herman Gref spoke in favor of privatizing the bank and reducing the share of public sector in the Russian economy.

Talking to reporters Gref at a press-conference on the results of the meeting of the Bank’s Supervisory Board he said:

"I always stood with it - participation of public sector in the economy should be as little as possible As few state banks as possible, as many strong private banks as possible. Therefore, we support competition and we have always been in favor of privatizing Sberbank, as soon as the state decides to do this, we support it an any possible way," Gref said.

Sberbank’s CEO stressed that lack of competition is "a disaster." "I hope to God we won’t get the situation when only few large banks remain. We are for competition," he said.

Earlier this year, head of the Bank of Russia Elvira Nabiullina said she considers privatization of the state stake in Sberbank to be unfeasible.

In November 2016, Gref said that no one had approached him to discuss a possibility of the bank’s privatization in the coming years and that "it is unlikely to happen."

Earlier President Vladimir Putin said that the privatization of Sberbank would not be considered in a mid-term perspective.

Russia’s Central Bank is the founder and main shareholder of Sberbank. It owns 50% of the bank’s charter capital plus one voting share. Sberbank is the largest bank in Russia, which has 17 regional branches and more than 19,000 divisions. In addition to the CIS countries (Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Belarus), Sberbank is represented in nine countries in Central and Eastern Europe (Sberbank Europe AG, formerly the VBI) and in Turkey (DenizBank).