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MOSCOW -- Business consultants at McKinsey were aghast when a Russian entrepreneur, Roustam Tariko, told them he wanted to call his new bank - for which they had drawn up the plans - the same as his vodka brand, Russian Standard.
He overruled them and Russian Standard Bank, created in 2000, is now among the top three most profitable banks in Russia and the largest specialized consumer finance bank, according to the credit rating agency Standard & Poor's.
"The vodka business is an excellent business and the credit business is brilliant," said Al Breach, a Moscow-based economist and strategist for Russia at UBS.
Market research commissioned by Tariko at the time showed that Russians trusted the vodka brand enough to borrow from a bank with the same name - highlighting the differences between consumers in Russia and in developed markets, where alcohol and banking are never mentioned in the same breath.
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