March 31, 2010

YEREVAN, March 31. /ARKA/. Ameriabank and Cascade Bank will merge
before the end of this year, Artak Hanesyan, director general of
Ameriabank and chairman of the bank's directorial board, said at a
news conference on Wednesday.

"Our banks' shareholders sealed merger deal today. Such a merger of
two banks on market conditions is unprecedented in Armenia. This is a
new phenomenon uniting our services, widening the range of our services
and improving these services. Our clients will benefit from this deal."

The aim of this merger is to support Armenia's financial sector and
create a firm financial platform for post-crisis development.

Hanesyan said that the two banks' consolidated capital of will
reach $75 million, aggregate assets will total about $400 million,
liabilities $262 million and joint credit portfolio $180 million
after the merger.

"The merged bank will be among three leaders on these indicators,"
he said adding that the calculations have been based on the figures
of late 2009, and indicators of joint development in 2010 haven't
been taken into account.

Answering the question ARKA News Agency put up to him, Hanesyan said
that joint discussions have resulted in a decision to function under
the name "Ameriabank".

The banker said that the merging is not completed and the shares of
the parties are not decided so far.

Under the agreement, he said, two stages have to be implemented before
the final merger.

"At the first stage, a merger program will be worked out by joint
efforts and all agreements with third parties, including the central
bank and international organizations cooperating with banks, will be
sealed," Hanesyan said adding that after that the second stage would
be launched.

He said that the bank's strategy may be changed, though the two banks'
strategies and in tune with each other - that is why he find changes

"Changes, if any, can be positive and related to growth, development
and enlargement of joint activity."

Aharon Levonyan, executive director of Cascade Bank, who spoke at
the same news conference, said that the merger would strengthen

"The merger is aimed at creation of a stronger financial organization,
which will become a serious competitor and one of three leaders among
Armenian banks," he said.

Ameriabank is a corporate bank with integrated investment-banking
and a limited number of retail banking services. The bank board of
directors is headed by Ruben Vardanian. Its CEO is Artak Hanesian.

Ameriabank's strategic partner is one of the biggest Russian investment
cosmogonies Troika Dialog.

Cascade Bank was established in 2005 after Cascade Capital Holdings
purchased 100 percent shares of Emporiki Bank. It cooperates now with
EBRD in micro-financing project. Millennium Challenges Armenia Fund
has chosen this bank to handle its account as part of a five year
program of assistance to Armenia by the US government.