Bank of Cyprus moves into Russia
The Bank of Cyprus has won a licence that will allow it to start operations in Russia, a market that it said was dynamic and had excellent prospects.
For the first two years, the bank will not be able to take deposits and will only be able to offer services such as loans and foreign exchange.
The bank already has operations in the UK, Greece, Australia and Romania.
Russia's economy has been boosted by a surge in oil and commodity prices, helping lift wage and savings levels.
As well as moving into Russia, the Bank of Cyprus said it was also interested in expanding into Ukraine.
The bank said it had hired Russian staff and was looking to expand quickly, focusing mainly on the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg.
"This is a very promising new market," said the Bank of Cyprus's chief executive Andreas Eliades.
Cyprus has long been a favoured location among wealthy Russians for banking and trading services and investment.