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OTP to double staff, increase clients at its Ukrainian business

OTP Bank Nyrt, the Hungarian bank that has spent $2.4 billion buying lenders in eastern Europe, plans to double its staff and quadruple the number of its clients in Ukraine through 2008.

“We want to at least double the number of staff in the next two years,'' Dmytro Zinkov, CEO of OTP Bank's Ukrainian unit, said today at a press conference in Kiev. “That will allow us to increase the number of our clients to 500,000 by the end of 2008.” OTP bank, based in Budapest, bought its Ukrainian unit in June for €650 million ($856 million). The lender is expanding in eastern European countries such as Ukraine and Russia, where economic growth is faster than in the European Union. Ukraine's €67.6 billion ($89 billion) economy is expected to expand 6% this year. “Ukraine and Russia are the most important countries for us,” Géza Lenk, a member of OTP's board, said today in Kiev. “The countries have incredible growth potential.” OTP plans to open as many as 35 new branches in Russia this year, he said. (Bloomberg)