Russian Orthodox Church began talks to buy a controlling stake of the Ergobank, which serves 61 organizations of the Church, rbc.ru reports citing sources close to the bank and the Russian Orthodox Church.
“If the parties agree on a transaction, the bank will be bough by the person affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church or the Church will look for sponsors who would give money for direct purchase,” said one of the sources.
At the end of 2015, Ergabank started having problems with liquidity. The rbc.ru source notes that the Church is interested in buying the bank to save money of the dioceses stored in its accounts.
As reported by the rbc.ru, the Church agreed to open accounts in the Ergobank through one of its shareholders – Valery Meshalkin, who owns 19.87% of the bank shares. “He is a church person, an Orthodox businessman who helped many churches. It was believed that it is the guarantee that nothing would happen with the bank,” said the source.
On 11 January, the Ergobank published an appeal to the customers, where it reported on attempts to attract new investors. At the same time, the Ergobank is in talks to avoid bankruptcy.
The Ergobank is in the fourth hundred of the Russian banks in terms of assets.