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NBU proposes bill on nationalization of Sense Bank, bank announces potential investors

KYIV. March 7 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The National Bank of Ukraine (NUB) has written and submitted to the Verkhovna Rada a bill, the adoption of which will allow the state to nationalize Sense Bank (formerly Alfa-Bank) of sanctioned Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and several other Russian shareholders, the Economic Pravda publication reported in Tuesday and published a corresponding letter to the relevant parliamentary committee.

“The key change proposed by the NBU is to oblige the regulator to recognize the bank as insolvent and withdraw it from the market if Ukrainian and international sanctions are applied against the owners of such an institution,” the newspaper wrote.

Earlier in 2022, the Rada already adopted a law on a simplified procedure for the nationalization of systemically important banks, which allows it to be carried out without additional capitalization from the state. However, it names the illiquidity of a financial institution as the only condition for nationalization.

Some MPs and experts argued that this law would be applied to Sense Bank, but at present, its financial indicators do not give grounds for this.

In turn, the bank, at the request of the agency to comment on the new bill, said that they were aware of such an initiative and called it one of the possible scenarios for the development of events. However, they continued work to find investors and capitalize the bank with private money of $1 billion.

“We are ready for any scenario: to remain a private bank or become a public one,” the bank said in the response to the request.

In addition, it contains the words of the head of the supervisory board of the bank, Roman Shpek, who reported on negotiations with Polish investors.

“Last Friday, a Memorandum was signed with potential investors from Poland who are interested in entering the Ukrainian market. We also know that investors sent their letters to the leadership of the NBU and the Deputy Head of the President’s Office,” Shpek said.

The bank said that at this stage they cannot disclose the names of potential investors.

According to the NBU, as of January 1, 2023, in terms of total assets, Sense Bank ranked ninth (UAH 99.93 billion) among 67 banks operating in the country.