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Vladimir Putin meets Andrey Kostin, head of Vneshtorgbank

25 November 2004

Vneshtorgbank`s development program was in the focus of the meeting.

The Bank is actively expanding its branch network throughout the territory of Russia; Andrey Kostin is reported to say. Presently, lending to small- and mid-size businesses is offered in 12 regions of the country and will soon be expanded to cover other regions as well.

Mortgage lending is another priority of the Bank. Services are offered in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Head of Vneshtorgbank believes that there is a stronger demand for banking services in Russia now.

November1, 2004.

Vneshtorgbank is set to enhance lending to small- and mid-size businesses, as well as develop investment programs, head of the Bank reports to President of Russia

MOSCOW, November 1. Before the end of the year, Vneshtorgbank plans to increase the number of its regional branches, including those operating on the North Caucasus.

"We are expanding the branch network and open 10 to 12 offices per year. Before the year-end, their number will exceed 50, including those to be opened on the North Caucasus", - said Andrey Kostin, head of Vneshtorgbank, on the meeting with the Russian President.

"I know of the development challenges you are faced with, especially in striving to transform the Bank into a universal financial institution", - said Vladimir Putin. The President expressed a keen interest in the programs the Bank is presently implementing.

In response, A. Kostin said that alongside expanding the branch network, the Bank is increasing the volume of lending to small- and mid-size businesses. "The program covers 12 regions and is designed to extend credits of up to RUR 30 million ", - he added. We also plan to further diversify the geographical spread of house mortgage lending. "Presently, mortgage lending is mostly offered in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but we will certainly achieve a higher degree of its geographic diversification in the near future", - promised the head of the Bank.

"Over the last year, the Bank has obviously changed from a standard Moscow bank oriented at large corporate customers into a bank working with individuals, small- and mid-size businesses, as well as municipalities", - said A. Kostin. And President Putin wondered if such business is profitable to the Bank. "There is no doubt about that, - answered A. Kostin, since these areas - lending to small- and mid-size businesses and enhancing investment programs - are currentlyong the most lucrative banking activities".

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