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Kazakhstan Prepared to Help Banks Compete, Nazarbayev Says

Kazakhstan must provide conditions for its lenders to compete with the local units of foreign banks that receive support from their parent institutions and the state, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said.

“Foreign banks have competitive advantages that must be taken into account” by the Kazakh government and the central bank, Nazarbayev was quoted as telling businessmen in Astana by the state-owned Kazinform news service.

Sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna, the primary conduit for the banking industry’s bailout program, took control of BTA Bank in 2009 and bought shares in Kazkommertsbank and Halyk Savings Bank, which is controlled by Nazarbayev’s daughter and son-in-law. Russian state-run OAO Sberbank’s unit became Kazakhstan’s sixth largest lender by assets as of May 1 from eighth largest a year earlier, according to the Kazakh central bank’s financial oversight committee website.

Foreign banks shouldn’t control over 30 percent of the financial services in Kazakhstan, Nazarbayev said.

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