CEE’s best bank 2021: OTP Group
A decade of work on reinforcing capital bases, managing bad debts, improving risk management processes and investment in technology paid off for the big regional banking groups in central and eastern Europe (CEE) during the first 12 months of the pandemic.
Proactive provisioning inevitably took a toll on profitability last year, but operating income remained robust, asset quality was largely stable and the switch to remote banking and home office working was achieved seamlessly.
While Raiffeisen Bank International, Erste and UniCredit all posted solid results, the standout performer and the winner of this year’s award for CEE’s best bank is OTP Group.
The Hungarian entity was the only major banking group in the region to post a double-digit return on equity last year on the back of an equally impressive 9% rise in outstanding loans. It also successfully completed two complex merger processes on schedule despite the switch to remote working.
The loan portfolio expansion – which was driven by double-digit growth in Hungary, Serbia, Romania and Ukraine, with key segments including mortgages, consumer lending and large corporates – helped boost OTP’s net interest income by 12% year on year.