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Report: Sberbank ponders exit from point-of-sale lending segment

PAO Sberbank of Russia could wind down point-of-sale lending services offered via its unit Cetelem Bank LLC by mid-2018, after it failed to gain a significant market share in the segment, Kommersant reported Oct. 10, citing sources close to the companies.

Sberbank is reportedly considering withdrawing from local retail chains by July 2018, with around 1,000 employees offering POS services to be potentially laid off, one of Kommersant's sources said, adding, however, that the lender's decision to leave the POS segment has not yet been finalized.

When investing into Cetelem five years ago, Sberbank planned to get a 25% market share in the POS segment but only managed to increase it to 7.9% from 4.5% as of Sept. 1, according to data collected by Frank Research Group. The Russian point-of-sale segment is attractive for new participants, Kommersant noted, attributing Sberbank's failure to secure the desired market share to problems with Cetelem's development strategy.

Cetelem Russia, in which Sberbank has a 79.2% holding, mainly focuses on car lending, with the value of the portfolio amounting to 92.8 billion rubles. The value of Cetelem's POS portfolio stood at 17 billion rubles as of Sept. 1, down by around 1 billion rubles since the beginning of 2017, the newspaper said.

As of Oct. 9, US$1 was equivalent to 58.46 Russian rubles.