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World Bank reportedly urging Sberbank to privatize

At a closed presentation of the World Bank's annual report on Russia, the bank recommended that the government and the Central Bank take immediate action on developing a strategy to reform Sberbank, the state-owned bank that has a virtual monopoly over private deposits, utro.ru reported on 5 June.

The website quoted the report as saying that shares of the bank's retail network should be sold and that buyers should be "strategic investors with solid reputations," and not "insiders or organizations controlled by, for example, financial-industrial groups." Representatives of Sberbank and the Central Bank were quoted as saying that the World Bank's recommendation de facto means that the Sberbank shares should be sold to foreign interests. Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank Andrei Kozlov told the website that instead of privatizing Sberbank, it would be better to create several other banks to compete with Sberbank in the retail-banking sector

(RFE/RL 05.vi.02)

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