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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

VTB Takes Over VEB Operations

State debt agency Vneshekonombank on Thursday completed the transfer of its commercial assets to Vneshtorgbank, a key step in the government's plan to exit the commercial banking sector.

The move comes just days before the Central Bank is to transfer to the government its 99.9 percent stake in Vneshtorgbank, or VTB, in exchange for Finance Ministry bonds.

Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said the stake transfer would be completed by the end of next week.

Last fall, the government made the share transfer a precondition to the further sale of a 10 percent to 20 percent stake of VTB to a foreign investor, most likely the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development.

VEB deputy chairman Nikolai Kosov said earlier this month that the bank's commercial business is worth about $340 million to $350 million, even though VEB never had a license to perform commercial operations.

A VTB spokeswoman, who asked not to be named, confirmed that "transfer of the business was overall complete." She declined to provide financial details of the transfer.

VEB will, however, continue to operate as a full service bank, but its only client will be the government.

"Vneshekonombank will perform all functions, but only to carry out government normative acts as a government agent," VEB chief Vladimir Chernyukhin was quoted by news agencies as saying.