Troubled Western European Banks Cash in on Their CEE Holdings to Fill the Gap

“Although banking sectors in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) are doing a good job of withstanding the global financial crisis, a number of troubled Western European banks will need to abandon the region to raise cash in 2011/2012,” says Marcin Mazurek, director of Intelace Research, during a presentation of Intelace’s latest report, TOP 200 banks in CEE.

Warsaw, Poland, September 04, 2011 --( Despite the persisting financial crisis, the banking sector in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) managed to grow during 2010. Total banking assets in CEE15* increased by 6% YoY to a total of EUR 987 billion at the end of 2010. Poland, with banking assets worth EUR 292 billion, remained the largest country in the region, holding an almost 30% share. UniCredit, Erste, and KBC were among the largest foreign investors in CEE, controlling a combined 27% of total banking assets in the region.

The TOP200 CEE league table is led by two Polish banks: PKO Bank Polski (assets of EUR 42.2 billion) and Bank Pekao (assets of EUR 32.9 billion). The profitability of TOP200 banks in CEE improved slightly in 2010 against the year before – the average return on equity (ROAE) was close to 8.4%, and the average return on assets (ROAA) exceeded 0.8%.

The future outlook remains mixed. Although the economic situation in most CEE countries is likely to remain stable through 2012, another wave of foreign investor exits from the region is expected. In an urgent need of cash, troubled Western European banks, including KBC, BCP, Volksbank , EFG Eurobank, and a few others want to quickly abandon the region. This will create a unique opportunity for buyers. The French BNP Paribas, Italian Intesa, and Russian Sberbank, among others, are reported to be very interested in the upcoming sale.

For more information on recent developments in CEE banking sectors, please refer to the publication "Top 200 banks in Central and Eastern Europe/CEE 2011," available at:

-*CEE15 includes Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovak Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, and Macedonia.

About Intelace Research
Intelace Research is an independent consulting company that focuses on the financial markets in Central and Eastern Europe. Intelace Research specializes in management consulting and custom research services, including market entry strategy, product launch, performance and benchmarking analysis.

During 2005-2010, Intelace Research provided its products and services to more than 50 clients, including major CEE banks and several "The Banker" top world banks. To learn more about the company, visit Intelace Research’s webpage:

Intelace Research
Marcin Mazurek