15 Oct 2010 17:23

VEB to select Postal Bank partner by mid-Nov

MOSCOW. Oct 15 (Interfax) - Vnesheconombank (VEB) will not select a partner bank for the project to create a Postal Bank in October as planned, sources in financial circles told Interfax.

"There will be no decision in October. The timing has been moved to mid-November," one of the sources told Interfax.

On September 15 Nomos Bank and Russian Standard Bank submitted revised financial plans and business models for creation of Postal Bank from Sviaz Bank with the participation of Russian Post.

VEB, Nomos Bank and Russian Standard declined to comment on the scheduling change.

VEB chief Vladimir Dmitriev said in mid-September that the partner would be selected no sooner than in a month, since the proposals from the banks did not meet all the selection requirements. The issue of how Russian Post will be compensated for the business it loses following establishment of the Postal Bank was being discussed with the potential partner banks, as well as the issue of VEB's compensation for the Sviaz Bank rescue.

However, a source close to Russian Post said there has been no final decision on how many of the financial services currently provided by Russian Post, if any, would be transferred to Postal Bank.

"The discussion continues," the source said.

It is not the first time VEB has put off selecting a partner. The selection was originally expected in July this year. VEB subsequently put off the decision until August 15, with Dmitriev saying that "the project is much more complicated than it appeared at first glance."

Nonetheless, VEB still plans to begin practical implementation of the Postal Bank project this year. The rebranding of Sviaz Bank will begin in 2011, Dmitriev said in an interview with Rossiya 24 television in mid-September.

VEB selected UniCredit Bank, Russian Standard and Nomos Bank jointly with Home Credit and Finance Bank as potential partners at the end of March. Later HCFB and UniCredit decided against investment in the project.

One requirement for the partner is that it be prepared to take a stake in Postal Bank, purchasing a supplementary share issue amounting to between 25% and 50% of equity.