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Report: Alfa-Bank seeks to buy mortgage portfolio from Absolut Bank

JSC Alfa-Bank plans to acquire a mortgage portfolio worth around 3 billion Russian rubles from Absolut Bank (PAO) as part of plans to strengthen its position on the Russian mortgage market, Kommersant reported Dec. 14.

Alfa-Bank hopes to close the transaction by the end of 2017 or in the first quarter of 2018, the newspaper said, citing sources from the local banking sector.

PJSC Sovcombank also eyed the portfolio, but the lender was not able to match the price offered by Alfa-Bank, Kommersant said.

Both lenders were also interested in purchasing a 2 billion ruble mortgage portfolio from Housing Finance Bank, but the lender decided to sell it to JSC The Agency for Housing Mortgage Lending, with the transaction to be closed by the end of 2017, the newspaper said.

Interest in high-quality mortgage portfolios is currently high in the Russian banking sector, especially from banks that have not developed mortgage lending before, and this trend is set to continue due to the lack of sufficient number of potential sellers, Kommersant noted.

As of Dec. 13, US$1 was equivalent to 58.77 Russian rubles.