Country Awards for Excellence 2016: Western Europe

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Austria

Best bank: Bawag PSK
Best investment bank: JPMorgan

Austrian market leader Erste Bank posted another set of healthy results in 2015 but the standout story of the year, in terms of both growth and profitability, belonged to Bawag PSK. The private equity-owned bank saw its bottom-line result jump by 26% year-on-year to €418 million, giving a sector-beating return on equity of 16.2% on the back of higher core revenues, lower operating expenses and a dramatic reduction in risk costs.

In recent years, Bawag has steadily worked to reduce its exposure to non-core markets and business lines, scaling back lending in central and eastern Europe, selling its asset management arm and discontinuing propriety trading. This has been matched by a renewed focus on expansion in the domestic Austrian market and in particular the retail...