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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bank of Cyprus Gets Russian License

NICOSIA, Cyprus -- The Bank of Cyprus said Thursday that it had been granted a license to start operating in Russia, becoming the first lender in Greece or Cyprus to enter that market.

"A major pillar of the group's strategy is its expansion to new dynamic markets with excellent prospects to increase size and profitability," a bank statement said.

The bank said its strategy for penetrating the Russian market was to develop initially a loan portfolio and provide services such as loan guarantees, letters of credit, foreign exchange services and payment orders to existing corporate clients.

Under Russian regulations, the bank cannot take deposits for the first two years of operation there.

Last month, Bank of Cyprus said it was completing the establishment of operations in the country. The bank, which is the first Cypriot bank to set up in Russia, said it had leased office space and was employing a staff of 30 people.

Cyprus' biggest lender operates in Greece, Britain, Australia and Romania, and has said it was looking to expand into Ukraine.

AP, MT