Stonegate Bank in Pompano Beach, Fla., has confirmed that it will provide a bank account to the Cuban government.

The $1.7 billion-asset bank was asked by the U.S. State Department open an account for Cuba, Dave Seleski, Stonegate’s chief executive, said. The account will smooth the road for Cuba to open an embassy in Washington.

Cuba needs a U.S. bank account to "ease the burden … in terms of issuing travel visas and other functions associated with any embassy in Washington," Seleski said in an emailed statement.

"We hope this is the initial step to normalize banking ties between the two countries, which will benefit American companies wanting to do business in Cuba, as well as the Cuban people," Seleski added.

The Obama administration's new rules on economic ties with Cuba allow U.S. banks to have correspondent banking relationships in Cuba, and to process card transactions there.

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