The Government of the Russian Federation appointed Vnesheconombank (VEB) head Andrey Kostin to head Vneshtorgbank and clarified its strategy for marrying the business side of the two state-owned banks at the VTB supervisory board meeting on Monday.
Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said he should receive the paperwork allowing state debt manager Vneshekonombank`s commercial activities to be married to Vneshtorgbank in the "nearest future".
The restructuring should take place by the end of 2002, news agencies reported Kostin as saying. Kostin, who headed VEB since 1996, estimated that VEB could transfer $2 billion in commercial banking assets to VTB.
Kasyanov laid to rest rumors that the state planned to develop the new VTB into a quasi export-import bank, saying state support for exports should be kept separate from commercial banking.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which had expressed interest in acquiring a minority stake in VTB last year, has taken a cautious approach to the VEB-VTB restructuring plans.
First vice president Noreen Doyle said last week the EBRD is prepared to participate in a transparent commercial bank, as long as it acts independently of the Government and does not serve as a state export-import bank.