ATHENS, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Greece has launched the takeover process of Cypriot bank branches operating in the country by a Greek lender in close coordination with Nicosia, the Greek Finance Ministry announced on Friday.
"With this development, Greece is safeguarded, since all deposits in Cypriot banks are fully protected. We work hard to safeguard the stability of the financial system and reach a viable solution for Cyprus and its citizens," Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said in a statement.
The announcement was made after a new telephone conversation between Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Friday.
According to local media reports in Athens, citing government sources, there is interest from at least three Greek banks for the takeover of two Cypriot lenders operating in Greece.
A final deal and official announcement could be made later on Friday, so that next week bank branches in Greece will open, after a week long closure in line with Cypriot authorities.
The move comes following last week's Eurogroup decision for a "haircut" on deposits in Cyprus' banking system in exchange for vital bailout aid to avert chaotic default.
Meanwhile according to Cypriot media reports on Friday, Cyprus and Greece have agreed to spin off the Greek branches in Cypriot banks, the Cypriot presidency said.
The spinoff issue "has been settled with the most favorable terms under the present circumstances, with a significant benefit for the Cypriot side," Cypriot media reported, citing a Cypriot presidency statement.