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Greece: State bank privatized in no-cash takeover

The Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greece's troubled state-run ATEBank has been privatized after the government agreed to divide its assets and hand the lender to private Piraeus Bank at no cost.

The country's central Bank of Greece announced the deal late Friday, keeping non-performing loans and other loss making assets under state management, and handing the remainder to Piraeus Bank which was the only one of several Greek and foreign banks that expressed interest in the deal.

Other details of the agreement were not announced.

Greek banks have been under growing pressure to merge since the start of the financial crisis in late 2009, the loss of assets in a massive state debt restructuring deal this year, and the country's ongoing severe recession.