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BNP Paribas Ukrainian Unit Aims to Double Clients, Cut Branches

Nov. 30 (Bloomberg) -- BNP Paribas SA’s Ukrainian business wants to double the number of individual clients in coming years as it pushes short-term cash, car and consumer loans, said Philippe Joannier, chairman of the unit’s management board.

“The Ukrainian banking market is going to grow,” Joannier told reporters today in the country’s capital, Kiev, where PAT UkrSibbank is based. The lender will “restructure its retail network to adopt branches to an increased number of clients,” he said, adding that number of branches may be cut to 600 at the end of 2012 from 650 now.

UkrSibbank, which has as much as 5 percent of the domestic market, wants to win more clients in the country of 46 million. Household loans rose 3.4 percent in October from a year earlier, while corporate loans increased 1 percent, according to central bank data.

“We are going to concentrate on short-term cash loans” that will range in size from 7,000 hryvnia ($873) to 10,000 hryvnia and which may mature in 18 months, as well as “car loans and consumer loans in big shops,” Joannier said. “They are simple for approval, simple for clients, simple for banks. Today is not the time for 15-year loans.”

UkrSibbank, the fifth-largest Ukrainian bank by assets, is now in talks with Delta Bank to sell its bad loans, Joannier said, declining to provide details.

The lender has “15 percent of negatively classified assets, which we will reduce to 10 percent gradually in another year or year and a half,” he said.

UkrSibbank may issue hryvnia-denonimated bonds next year if “the markets calms down.” Joannier said. The lender may become profitable next year provided Ukraine’s national currency, the hryvnia, avoids devaluation, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Daryna Krasnolutska in Kiev at dkrasnolutsk@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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