ATHENS, June 12 Greece's fourth-biggest lender
Alpha Bank is close to clinching a deal to buy
Citibank's retail operations in Greece, two Greek banking
sources told Reuters on Thursday.
Greece's debt crisis has prompted foreign banks, including
France's Credit Agricole and Societe Generale
, to sell local units to Greek banks in recent years.
"We're close," said one banking source who spoke on
condition of anonymity. "There are just some formalities left."
Greece's bank bailout fund, the HFSF, a majority owner of
Alpha Bank with a 69.9 percent stake, has approved the deal, a
second source told Reuters.
"We have given the green light," the source said.
Greece's top four banks control about 90 percent of its
banking market after a wave of consolidation and the
winding-down of smaller banks that were deemed not viable.
Citibank, which started shipping and corporate lending
operations in Greece in 1964 and expanded into retail banking in
the 1980s, has a network of some 21 branches across the country.
Alpha acquired Emporiki Bank from Credit Agricole in 2012.
(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Karolina Tagaris
and David Evans)