Argentina's Banco de Galicia y Buenos Aires expects to soon get Federal Reserve Board approval to open a branch in New York, sources close to the bank said.

The $5 billion-asset bank originally applied for a license from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in May 1992 and completed supplying information on its application in October that year.

Sources said Galicia officials were in the process of finalizing talks with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the New York Federal Reserve Bank, and the Washington Fed.

Go-Ahead Expected

They added that the Fed was also finalizing talks with Argentine regulators and likely to give the bank the go-ahead to open a branch within 60 or so days.

Like other foreign banks seeking approval to open U.S. offices, Galicia had its application delayed after the Foreign Bank Supervision Enhancement Act took effect in March 1992.

The act requires foreign banks applying to open a U.S. office to prove they are subject to consolidated and comprehensive supervision by a single regulator.

Soaring Earnings

On Wednesday, Galicia reported an increase of more than 30% in earnings to $51 million for the nine months ended March 31.

The bank earned $6.6 million in the first quarter this year. Earnings would have been higher had the bank not suffered an $18 million loss, mainly on prices for its portfolio of Argentine government securities.

Total assets rose nearly 77% over the 12 months ended March 31 to $5 billion, while deposits rose 68.5% to nearly $3 billion.

Ongoing Growth

Galicia said that net income is continuing to grow, mainly from an increase in earning assets and income from nonfinancial services.

The bank has also reduced its administrative costs.

Prices for Galicia's American Depositary Shares have fluctuated between a 52-week high of $45 and a low of $19. They reached $32.50 Thursday morning, climbing steadily from $26 last week.

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