The government strategy for the sale of the Romanian Savings House - CEC, the last Romanian bank yet to be privatized, covers a five-year period which will start this year, peak in 2010 and conclude in 2011.

Economy minister Varujan Vosganian on Thursday, saying that the first phase will seek to bring more efficiency, modernization and a higher client loyalty, that is a phase of reconstruction for CEC.

This first phase is due to conclude in 2009, when the future of the bank will be properly discussed: whether it will be privatized or not, listed or not, etc. No decision will be taken until then, Vosganian said.

The second phase, due to last until 2010, will be focused on the development of the bank by forging into the SME market and by boosting the loan and savings volume in the rural and small town markets.

Lastly, a third phase will focus on consolidation as CEC aims at becoming a leader on the SME, rural & small town markets. The target market share for the end of the period (2011) is 5.5-6% in terms of assets, a 5-6% share of the consumer loan market and a 7-8% of the national savings market.

Varujan also said layoffs should be expected but a precise plan in this regard is yet to be accomplished. CEC has some 7,000 employees working for the largest national market (1,400 branches with a strong presence in rural areas).