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Sberbank’s biggest domestic rival is growing fast

The arrival of German Gref, apparently with a mandate to build Sberbank into at least a regional if not a global banking force, has generated huge excitement among Russian bankers.

Sberbank aims for glory

One of the juicier sub-plots is the potential for competition with the highly regarded departing senior management of Sberbank. Andrei Kazmin has taken over the Russian Post Office and his former second in command at Sberbank, Alla Alyoshkina, has taken over at Sviaz Bank, which is linked to the post office. The expectation is that the post office will expand further into banking in Russia, competing on a national basis through its widespread office network with Sberbank. Kazmin has had to patiently remind the markets what its main job will continue to be – delivering the post.

Meanwhile another potential natural competitor is often overlooked. State-owned Russian Agricultural Bank, whose national priority mission is to lend to the agricultural industry and the rural population, has spread itself far and wide across the huge country and grown at an extraordinarily rapid pace under the leadership of chairman Yuri Trushin. He tells Euromoney: "Seven and a half years ago, we were roughly bank number 400 in Russia. Now we are in the top 10 and by assets in the top five of Russian banks. We grew assets six- or seven-fold in the two years 2006 and 2007."

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