French bank BNP Paribas is to keep a toe in the water in Russia with a joint consumer lending venture with state-backed Sberbank.
Previously BNP had said it would end much of its stand-alone retail banking activities in Russia: Britain’s Barclays and HSBC have already pulled out.
The French will own 30 percent of the joint venture which offers loans to clients directly in the store where a purchase is made, rather than at a bank branch, also known as point-of-sale lending.
Pascal Roussarie, a spokesman for BNP’s Cetelem brand said: “Sberbank is bringing its network, which is enormous … Cetelem, meanwhile, is bringing existing partnerships and its expertise in loans. We wanted to stay in the (consumer) market.”
Banks are pulling out of Russia as they slim down their balance sheets to beef up capital in the face of tougher regulations and Europe’s debt crisis.