Press Release (ePRNews.com) - WARSAW, Poland - Jul 28, 2017 - Big shift among CEE banking leaders. Erste takes the regional lead from UniCredit. Local groups: PZU, PKO, OTP grow.
Assets of banks operating in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE15*) have been growing steadily recently. They have added another 4% during 2016 and reached nearly EUR 1.16 trillion as of Dec. 2016.
After overcoming recent bad debts restructuring and despite various headwinds, including unfavourable regulatory and tax developments, the banking industry across CEE region remains in a growing trend. During 2016, banking assets have increased in 12 out of 15 CEE markets with Czech Republic, Lithuania and Albania experiencing the 8%+ growth. Only in two markets – Slovenia and Latvia – bank assets have contracted and in one, Croatia they have remained nearly unchanged.
A convergence trend in the level of financial intermediation across CEE can be observed. Markets with the highest assets per capita e.g. Slovenia are seeing contraction or slow growth while countries with the least developed banking markets experience faster expansion. Nevertheless, the gap between regional leaders and laggards remains big. For example banking assets per capita in Bosnia or Albania are six times lower than those of Czech Republic. It is also worth to note that increased flows of retail deposits into region take place from Western Europe – an effect of interest rate arbitrage facilitated by a range of specialized intermediaries operating in Germany and other.
One of most encouraging developments in CEE banking sector has been quickly growing profitability. The average ROA and ROE ratios for major CEE banks surged to 1.18% and 10.2% in 2016 vs. 0.79% and 6.81% a year ago respectively.
Falling role of foreign investors
Top banks operating in Central and Eastern Europe have been typically controlled by major foreign financial groups including: UniCredit, Erste, KBC or Raiffeisen. However, due to problems in home markets, many foreign players, e.g. UniCredit have been forced to reduce their stakes in CEE banks. As a consequence, significant ownership changes could be observed within TOP 10 investors. Erste has recently become the largest group within CEE by assets while UniCredit fell to #3 position. Capital groups with local origin are on the rise with PKO, PZU and OTP reinforcing their position within TOP10
The outlook for CEE banking sectors remains positive. The level of financial intermediation across CEE is still low if compared to Western Europe creating an upside potential for growing volumes while a wide application of technological advancements will help to increase efficiency and boost profitability.
For more information on recent developments in CEE banking sectors, please refer to the publication “Top 200 banks in Central and Eastern Europe” available at: http://www.inteliace.com/en/00156_List_of_Top_200_banks_i…