ECONOMY

Restis to enter domestic banking through Germany

A long-expected expansion of Restis Group’s activities in the domestic banking sector has finally been announced. The move, however, is being realized through the acquisition of a banking license in Germany. In recent weeks, a barrage of rumors maintained that Restis was interested either in Geniki Bank or Hellenic Post Bank. However, the group eventually opted for announcing the establishment of a credit institution in Germany. Based on the German license, Restis’s plans include the development of a retail banking network both locally and abroad. This banking network would offer a full range of products and services to both private and corporate clients. The new bank will be based in Frankfurt, where it is soon expected to open its first branch. According to the business plan filed with German supervisory authorities, the bank will open more branches in Hamburg, Stuttgart and Bonn by the end of the year. Subsequent further expansion of activities means Greece, where the group plans to open two branches, in Athens and Thessaloniki, during the course of 2008. Restis already controls a 51 percent stake in First Business Bank (FBB), with the remaining 49 percent held by ATEbank. It was recently announced that FBB was to go ahead with an increase in share capital, which may result in Restis raising its holding in the bank.