The Russian authorities have reportedly given the go-ahead for Russian Post and VTB, the country’s second-biggest state bank, to set up their new joint venture project, Post Bank.
According to a report posted last night (23 September) on the Moscow Timeswebsite, the new entity will have access to some of Russian Post’s 42,000 offices.
This will potentially put Post Bank in a strong position to compete with Sberbank, the lender (also state-owned) which currently dominates Russia’s banking sector.
Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that VTB was looking to open Post Bank branches in 15,000 post offices over the next three years. Currently, VTB has around 1,700 branches, and Sberbank has more than 16,000 – although it is reported that plans are afoot to pare down the Sberbank network.
The Moscow Times added that the creation of Post Bank, which is set to start operations next year, is part of the government’s plans to modernise Russian Post in preparation for possible privatisation a few years down the line.
The Russian authorities have been mulling over plans for a postal bank for many years. Russian Standard Bank and Nomos Bank have both reportedly taken an interest in the idea in the past.