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Reports: AK Bars Bank denies merger talks with Tatfondbank

PAO AK Bars Bank denied media reports suggesting it might merge with financially troubled PJSC Tatfondbank, RIA Novosti reported Dec. 13.

Vedomosti said earlier that day that the authorities of Russia's Republic of Tatarstan, which controls both lenders, are considering their merger as one of several options for Tatfondbank's financial recovery plan. The latter lender's board of directors was set to have a meeting Dec. 13 to discuss financial recovery measures.

Following media reports about its financial problems, Tatfondbank experienced outflow of funds from client accounts and introduced a limit of 15,000 Russian rubles per day on withdrawals from ATMs and a 50,000-ruble payment limit on deposits terminated ahead of schedule, Vedomosti added.

Due to liquidity concerns caused by the withdrawal of funds, the size of financial support needed to save the lender increased to 120 billion rubles from 80 billion rubles within a week, Kommersant noted Dec. 13. The Russian central bank and Tatfondbank's shareholders have already decided to launch a financial rehabilitation program for the bank, but details of the scheme were still being discussed, the newspaper added.

Tatfondbank has been experiencing financial difficulties for a while, with JSCB for Charity and Spiritual Dev of Fatherland PERESVET's problems and a dispute with former owners of JSC Bank Sovetsky contributing to its predicament, Kommersant said earlier in December.

As of Dec. 12, US$1 was equivalent to 60.99 Russian rubles.