Little Valley, N.Y., may be on the opposite side of the world from Kazakhstan, but Salvatore Marranca is trying to apply the same banking principles in both places.

The president of $90 million-asset Cattaraugus County Bank is spending several weeks in Almanty, capital of the former Soviet republic, working with senior officials at Turanbank to improve their management, policies, and procedures. In particular, Mr. Marranca is focusing on marketing the bank to new consumer and business customers in an effort to raise capital.

Turanbank is an industrial bank dealing in industry and construction financing. Formerly part of the state-run system, it was spun off after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and is now an independent, commercial bank. Although it has only about $100 million in assets, it employs a staff of 3,200 spread over 76 branches.

"Turanbank and the country of Kazakhstan are undergoing profound political and economic changes as they struggle to complete the transition from central government control to a market-based form of democracy and economy," Mr. Marranca said in a press release.

Mr. Marranca is participating in a volunteer project to promote the growth and stability of the fledgling republic's commercial banking industry.

The project is run by Agricultural Cooperative Development International, a nonprofit training and technical organization that provides commercial, marketing, management, and credit expertise to developing countries in an effort to encourage private and investor-driven economic growth.

Kazakhstan, located in south central Asia and bordering on Russia and China, is roughly half the size of the United States and has a population of about 1.2 million.


Besides providing the standard information on bank hours and services on its Internet site, Homeland Bankshares offers browsers a little culture: a collection of Iowa artwork.

The Waterloo, Iowa-based company has had local art on display in its offices since 1976, so the World Wide Web was the next logical step.

"The addition of Iowa art brings a unique flavor to our Internet presence and, we expect, will attract more visitors to our site," chief executive Erl Schmiesing said in a prepared statement.

The art was either created in the state or by artists born or educated there. Six works now are visible on the $1.2 billion-asset company's home page and 11 more are accessible from an archive.

Homeland said it will rotate its selections periodically, "just as in a museum."

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