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Banking sector reform sits high on the new government’s agenda, and in late September the cabinet approved a masterplan intended to force some long-awaited consolidation of the sector. The move follows legislation passed in 2003 setting minimum paid-up capital for banks at£E 500 million. Outside the stated aims of the masterplan, the Central Bank of Egypt on 15 September approved the merger of the local branch of American Express with Egyptian American Bank (EAB), its 40 per cent-owned local affiliate, and the merger of the local Credit Lyonnais branch with Credit Agricole Indosuez.