Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is set to take over the country's third largest bank, Banco de Venezuela, which is owned by a Spanish banking company.

In a televised address Thursday, President Chavez said he will pay fair compensation for the bank and said he hoped for a friendly agreement with the bank's owner, Spain's Banco Santander.

Mr. Chavez said he decided to nationalize the bank after Santander sought permission to sell it, which the president said he denied.

Bloomberg news service reports the Venezuelan bank has 285 offices and nearly $9.5 billion in deposits.

President Chavez has nationalized other industries including oil, steel, cement, electricity and telecommunications.

The bank takeover would further Mr. Chavez's goal to move Venezuela toward what he calls "21st century socialism."