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May 16, 5:27 AM EDT

Cyprus religious leader: Church mulling founding own bank

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Cyprus religious leader: Church mulling founding own bank

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) -- Cyprus' Orthodox Christian Church says it is considering setting up a bank after forswearing any new investments in existing lenders.

The Church leader, Archibshop Chrysostomos II, told state broadcaster RIK Tuesday that the bank could be in the form of a cooperative, but stressed that this is only in the idea phase and that no final decisions have been made.

Chrysostomos said the Church, which is Cyprus' largest land owner, lost millions during the east Mediterranean island's 2013 banking crisis, which saw the country require a multi-billion euro rescue package from international creditors.

The rescue deal included the closure of Cyprus' second-largest lender as well as the seizure of uninsured savings in the largest bank in order to prop up the wobbly banking sector.

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