Thursday, August 22, 2002

NEW YORK-- The Federal Reserve Bank of New York yesterday approved the application by Cera Stichting VZW, Cera Beheersmaatschappij N.V., Cera Holding CVBA, Almancora CVA, Almanij N.V., KBC Bankverzekeringsholding N.V., and KBC Bank N.V. ("KBC Group"), all from Belgium, to become bank holding companies, pursuant to Section 3(a)(1) of the BHC Act, through their acquisition of LBS Bank, New York, New York ("LBS"). LBS is a wholly- owned subsidiary of Nova Ljubljanska Banka d.d., Ljubljana, Slovenia, of which KBC will acquire 34 percent.

According to standard procedure, the proposal cannot be completed for 15 days.

The Reserve Bank acted under authority delegated by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.