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BNP Paribas enters retail-banking market in Russia

BNP Paribas is expanding the scope of its operations in Russia, by entering the retail banking market through its subsidiary BNP Paribas Zao. Beginning in 2006, and continuing over the next 6 years, BNP Paribas will set up approximately 150 branches in Russia's major cities and in the Moscow region, which alone represents 17 million inhabitants and accounts for almost 20% of Russia's GNP. The initial branches will open during the first half of 2006.

BNP Paribas Zao opens up to small and medium-sized businesses and individuals clienteles. At the same time, Cetelem will develop a complete consumer credit offering.

BNP Paribas strengthens its presence in Russia, where its subsidiary BNP Paribas Zao has been active since 2002 in trading, and large corporates and trade financing. In the insurance sector, Cardif has been established in Russia since 2003 through the joint venture Russian Standard Insurance, offering creditor insurance and personal protection. BNP Paribas also opened recently a Trade Center in Moscow.

Russia should become a new significant bridge to growth for the BNP Paribas group. There are 143 million inhabitants in Russia and its GNP is expected to reach 760 billion dollars by the end of 2005, a 6% annual increase. Internal demand should support Russia's economic momentum. Household spending is expected to be fed by increased real wages, rising consumer credit, and lower interest rates, in a stable macroeconomic and political environment. Additionally, as the world's second oil exporter, Russia should continue to benefit from favourable oil market conditions.

This program of organic growth will complement the group's international retail banking network in the United States (739 branches in 20 States), in the Mediterranean and the Gulf regions (381 branches in late 2005), and in China (58 branches).

About BNP Paribas
BNP Paribas ( is a European leader in banking and financial services, with a significant and growing presence in the United States and leading positions in Asia. BNP Paribas is the first bank in the Euro zone in terms of net income (2004). The group has one of the largest international banking networks, a presence in over 85 countries and employs approximately 100 000 employees, including 67,000 in Europe. BNP Paribas enjoys key positions in its three core businesses: Corporate and Investment Banking, Asset management & Services and Retail Banking.