Privately owned Marfin Bank yesterday announced its takeover of the banking activities of Thessaloniki branch of Credit Commercial de France Hellas after signing a preliminary agreement with the French bank, part of global banking group HSBC. Last year, CCF reached an agreement with General Hellenic Bank under which the latter was to take over its two branches in Athens and another in Thessaloniki. The deal fell through eventually. CCF is strong in the Greek corporate banking sector. It reported 601 million euros in assets under management last year. Total bank deposits amounted to some 202 million euros. The French bank came under the HSBC group in 2000. Marfin said the acquisition will strengthen its presence in northern Greece and also underlined its commitment to Thessaloniki and its potential as a hub for the Balkans. The bank said it will retain branch manager Savvas Vafeiadis, in view of his 12 years of experience, and other staff members. The takeover agreement is subject to approval from the Bank of Greece. Early this week, Marfin, which specializes in private and investment banking, announced significant gains in nine-month results. Pre-tax profits rose to 1.6 million euros on the back of a sevenfold increase in deposits to 176 million euros. Loans went up by 500 percent to 73 million euros from 14 million. Assets increased threefold to 233 million euros. Marfin said it had assets under management amounting to 1.5 billion euros on a group basis. The solvency index at the end of September 30 amounted to 38 percent and the capital adequacy 33.4 percent, significantly higher than other Greek banks, Marfin said. Marfin has four branches nationwide, in Athens, Piraeus, Thessaloniki and on the island of Chios.