Four Baltic Banks Choose Visa Cards

SAN FRANCISCO -- Visa International said four commercial banks in the Baltic republics have joined the bank card association and will become the first issuers of payment cards in their region.

The new members -- Baltic Bank of Estonia, Rigas Commercial Bank of Latvia, Vilnius Bank of Lithuania, and the Bank of Lithuania -- plan to issue Visa cards that can be used internationally, with payments settled in hard currencies.

Before the recent economic opening of Eastern Europe, most of the few credit cards in the region could not be used in other countries.

Visa said Credobank of Moscow began issuing its cards earlier this year. The association also has issuing members in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland.

Charles T. Russell, president of Visa, said the Baltic banks' cards will aid the transition to new national currencies and "also help modernize banking" in the republics.

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