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Priorbank/Raiffeisen International

It's not easy being the only private, foreign-owned bank in a country where 80% of the economy is state-owned and all the other banks are run as extensions of state policy and ordered to lend at favourable rates to the state enterprises that create most of Belarus' GDP.

Nonetheless, Priorbank, which is owned by Raiffeisen International, is in an interesting position in Belarus. As the country's most independent bank, it should be in a good position should president Aleksander Lukashenko's dictatorial regime fall.

Priorbank also offers the Belarus market a unique window to international financing – it has helped arrange the first lending backed by the EBRD and the International Finance Corporation for Belarus's beleaguered smaller companies sector.

The bank has managed to carve out an 11% market share of the corporate sector, and is a market leader in credit cards, having issued 122,000 new cards in the past 12 months.

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