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Cypriot Bank to Enter Russian Market in 2011

Hellenic Bank, Cyprus’ third-largest lender, said Thursday that it would start full banking operations in Russia in January of next year.

The Russian unit, Commercial Bank Hellenic Bank, will begin operating after acquiring a license from the Central Bank of Russia in May 2009, the bank said in a statement.

“We shall focus on clients such as companies and legal entities we already know from Cyprus,” said Yiannis Telonis, general manager of Hellenic Bank in Russia.

Telonis said the decision to open business in Russia was made after prospects of the Russian economy improved.

“The global financial crisis was troubling us. We took the decision with deliberateness," Telonis said. “We weighed the prospects of the Russian economy as well those of the markets where we currently operate, Cyprus and Greece.”

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