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ECONOMIC BRIEFS

NBS yanks license from Ekoagrobanka

The National Bank of Slovakia (NBS) has withdrawn the banking license from the Slovak branch of the Czech Ekoagrobanka Inc. in Ústí nad Labem. The central bank's decision followed nine-months of a caretaker administration by the Czech Union Banka. "Despite many assurances from the Czech side, the NBS received no information regarding how the bank's several-billion Sk losses would be covered, or under what conditions Ekoagrobanka has been sold to the Czech Union Banka," said NBS Bank Supervisor Department Chairman Tibor Kačiak in explaining NBS's decision.

In addition to having managed Ekoagrobanka, Union Banka took over two more problematic Czech banks, and is also expanding into several non-banking fields this year. The NBS has most likely closed the doors of the Slovak market to Union Banka, and the bank will probably try to sell its Ekoagrobanka Slovak branch, with Dopravná Banka continuing to be one of the interested parties. The NBS prefers to sell the branch to a Slovak bank because it wants to prevent pouring into Slovakia the large losses of Czech banks. It is likely that the NBS will audit all the branches for any deficiencies, forcing the branches to transform into independent banks, or sell out to a Slovak bank.

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