BankAmerica Corp. has obtained approval from the Russian Central Bank to open a wholly owned subsidiary in Moscow.

The subsidiary, to be known as ZAO Bank of America, is expected to start operations this year, the bank said in a release. The subsidiary will have $50 million in capital and will handle corporate and institutional banking.

Ralph Schauss, BankAmerica group executive vice president and head of emerging markets in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, said the subsidiary will let the bank expand its business with Russian and international clients in areas such as capital markets, international cash management, and correspondent banking.

BankAmerica originally opened a representative office in Moscow in 1973 and is the fourth U.S. bank to obtain a Russian banking license. Citicorp, Chase Manhattan Corp., and Republic New York Corp. already have such units.

The bank last month named David Lingelbach as country manager for Russia, the Baltic countries, and Central Asia.

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