Bulgaria Outstands in SEE Penetration of Foreign Banks

Business | March 13, 2006, Monday // 00:00

Bulgaria appears to top the South East European region in holding the highest percentages of penetration of foreign banks.

This is largely due to the completed privatisation of banks in the country and a sequence of mergers within the banking sector, according to an analytical document by the Union of Greek Banks (EET).

Foreign banks control two-thirds of the assets of the banking system in the countries of South East Europe, with Austria controlling 25%, followed by Greece and Italy with 13% each.

The highest percentages - above 90% - are on the tally of Bulgaria and Albania, followed by Romania with 60% where the process of privatisations is continuing.

The five largest Greek banks have made overall investments of more than EUR 2 B the region, establishing a network of approximately 950 branches that employ 16,000 people. These Top 5 are commanding more than 16% of the banking market share in South East Europe, the report said as quoted by ANA news agency.

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