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Greece's Piraeus Bank easily meets capital target

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greece's Piraeus Bank has raised nearly double the amount of money needed to avoid nationalization, part of a major program to restore health to the country's financial system.

The bank said Wednesday it had raised 19.8 percent of its 7.34 billion euros ($9.56 billion) recapitalization needs from private investors. It needed to raise at least 10 percent from private investors to avoid nationalization.

The rest of the money will come from the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund, which is financed by the country's bailout program.

Piraeus becomes the third bank to avoid nationalization, after the National Bank of Greece and Alphabank.

Greek banks were left short of money following the restructuring of the government's debt last year and due to the effects of the deep recession that started in late 2008.