Kazakhstan to sell Sber once it is out of sanctions

The process may take about 18 months, the bank owner says

According to Kanat Sharlapayev, CEO of the National Holding Baiterek, Bereke Bank might be sold to a foreign investor. The process of selling this bank, a former Sber Kazakhstan, may last up to 18 months.

The main task for the holding is to bring the bank back to normal work by lifting foreign sanctions. Then the bank will be sold, said Sharlapayev.

“I would personally prefer a foreign investor. This is necessary to strengthen competitiveness between actors in the financial market. Although, of course, I won’t be the only decision maker,” he said.

However, in order to achieve this goal Baiterek must figure out how to solve one problem: to remove the bank from the U.S. Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List, also known as the SDN List. US citizens and companies are prohibited from doing business with any entity included in the list.

“Once we achieve this, we can potentially open the door for further cooperation between the bank and international payment systems, rating agencies and other counteragents. We are going to work on that goal – to remove the bank from the SND List – and the bank is going to be sold within 18 months,” he said.

On September 13, the former Sber Kazakhstan finished its rebranding. Now it is called Bereke Bank.

At the end of August, the National Managing Holding Baiterek signed a purchasing agreement with the subsidiary of Russian Sber in Kazakhstan. The holding highlighted that the bank had played an important role in the entire financial system of the country.

“This deal is going to facilitate the bank in the full restoration of its active operations, attracting deposits, making transactions and developing more products and services for people and businesses,” the Baiterek press service said.

Sber Kazakhstan was put on the market after both its Russian parent company and the bank itself have fallen under Western sanctions. On April 6, U.S. authorities blocked correspondent and payment accounts of Sber Kazakhstan as well as its assets in the U.S.

Later, the Agency for Regulation and Development of the Financial Market and Sber announced the deal with the U.S. government that allowed the bank to continue its operations until July 12, 2022. This deadline was then extended to October 11. At the same time, Sber had negotiated with the national holding about this potential deal.

Even though Sberbank Kazakhstan was ranked second in terms of assets at the beginning of this year, the bank has still lost a lot of money. As of July, its assets were about $4.8 billion. The bank’s loan portfolio shrunk by $2.7 billion while deposits decreased by $5 billion.

According to the National Bank of Kazakhstan, Sber is ranked 8th out of 22 commercial banks in terms of assets ($4 billion). As of today, its loan portfolio is about $2.9 billion and clients’ deposits are about $485.8 million in total.

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