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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Raiffeisen Looking to Expand Into Regions in Coming Year

Austria's Raiffeisenbank is in talks to open five regional branches through partnerships with local banks next year, chairman Michel Perhirin told reporters Tuesday.

Perhirin declined to specify the regions or the banks involved in the talks, and said the official decision won't be announced until June 2004. No timeline yet exists, he said. In case of partnership, Raiffeisen would let local banks manage the branches while offering a set of the bank's products and services, Perhirin said.

The bank also has a lease to open four additional Moscow branches by February 2004, to add to the eight branches already doing business in the capital, Perhirin added.

Until now, no foreign bank has seriously mulled such expansion, said Dmitry Vinogradov, banking analyst at Brunswick UBS. "If this is true, Raiffeisen would be the first foreign bank in the region. It is good that they are thinking about it," he said.

"Moscow has become very competitive," Vinogradov added, pointing out that even Sberbank -- which has a stronger presence in the regions than any other national bank -- collects about 20 percent of its retail deposits in the capital. The foreign banks are starting to "understand growth potential in the regions," he said.

So are the regions, he said: "Before, they were not even considering getting foreign presence in their territory. Now, they want us to come."