Russian carmaker Avtovaz sets up auto industry-focused bank

Production facilities of Russian carmaker AvtoVAZ

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian carmaker Avtovaz said on Tuesday it had launched an auto industry-focused bank called Auto Finance Bank on the basis of RN Bank, a onetime joint venture between Italian lender UniCredit and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.

President Vladimir Putin approved Avtovaz's purchase of RN Bank in November, issuing a waiver for the sale to go through that bypassed a ban on some foreign-owned strategic asset sales.

Avtovaz said in a statement it would significantly expand the bank's strategy while continuing to provide car loans to individuals.

It would increase the volume of corporate business, including financing component suppliers and offering new services to private customers, it said.

Some Western automakers have decided to withdraw from the Russian market since the start of what Russia calls its "special military operation" in Ukraine in February 2022.

French automaker Renault signed an agreement to transfer its Russian assets to the city of Moscow in May 2022.

(Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov, writing by Ksenia Orlova; Editing by Andrew Osborn)