IFC: ARMECONOMBANK: FIRST ARMENIAN BANK TO JOIN GLOBAL TRADE FINANCE PROGRAM

International Finance Corporation (IFC)
http://www.ifc.org/
May 30 2006

The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of
the World Bank Group, today announced that Armeconombank will be the
first Armenian issuing bank to join IFC's Global Trade Finance Program.

IFC has approved an uncommitted trade finance line of up to $1
million for Armeconombank to facilitate the bank's trade finance
operations worldwide. Armeconombank is a private bank that focuses
on small and medium-size enterprises. This is IFC's second project
with Armeconombank.

Sabrina Borlini, IFC's trade officer for the program in Europe, said,
"The Global Trade Finance Program will help Armeconombank expand
its growing trade finance operations by providing an attractive
and flexible new product that the bank can offer to its clients. By
joining our global program, the bank will also have access to a wide
network of international corresponding banks."

The Global Trade Finance Program supports trade with emerging
markets by supporting flows of goods and services to and from
developing countries. IFC provides guarantee coverage of bank risk in
emerging markets, allowing recipients to expand their trade finance
transactions within an extensive network of countries and banks, as
well as to enhance their trade finance service to their clients. IFC
issued the program's first guarantee in September 2005. Since then,
IFC has issued guarantees in excess of $180 million related to more
than 245 transactions.

Edward Nassim, IFC's Director of the Central and Eastern Europe
Department, said, "Availability of trade finance products in Armenia
is important for further development of the domestic economy. This
will allow local companies and entrepreneurs to obtain access to
financing for their trade operations and so help modernize Armenia's
industrial base. I am very pleased that we pilot this product in
Armenia with Armeconombank, our reliable partner in other transactions
in the region."

Armeconombank's Chief Executive Officer, Ashot Osipyan, said, "We
highly appreciate an opportunity to continue working with IFC on
trade finance operations in Armenia. We are proud to become IFC's
first partner bank in Armenia in the Global Trade Finance Program.

This financing will help us increase the bank's client base and
broaden regional experience. The bank will continue focusing on trade
finance activities in the future to remain a leader in this area in
the country."

About Armeconombank Armeconombank is one of the largest, privately
controlled banks in Armenia. It is the 5th largest bank in Armenia
in terms of assets, with 41 branches across the country and 560
employees. Today the bank focuses on serving SMEs, retail clients,
and financial institutions.

The bank had the net worth of approximately $12 million and total
assets of approximately $77 million equivalent as of the end of 2005.

About IFC The International Finance Corporation is the private sector
arm of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington,
D.C. IFC coordinates its activities with the other institutions of the
World Bank Group but is legally and financially independent. Its 178
member countries provide its share capital and collectively determine
its policies.

The mission of IFC is to promote sustainable private sector investment
in developing and transition countries, helping to reduce poverty
and improve people's lives. IFC finances private sector investments
in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international
financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental
sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to
governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY05,
IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its own funds and arranged
$24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140 developing
countries. IFC's worldwide committed portfolio as of FY05 was $19.3
billion for its own account and $5.3 billion held for participants
in loan syndications. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

Armenia became an IFC member in 1995. The Corporation began investing
in the country in 2000. As of May 2006, IFC has invested $9 million
in 3 projects. IFC continues to explore the investment opportunities
in partnership with strategic investors in both the financial and
real sectors of the country. In addition to the investment program,
IFC has been providing advisory services on corporate governance,
improvement of the investment climate. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org/europe.