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Hungary: OTP believes in convergence


OTP’s liquidity reserves

Hungarian bank OTP remains committed to central and eastern Europe despite operating in some of the region’s most challenging markets. The bank, which has a presence in nine countries in the region including Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria, believes that growth opportunities outweigh the macroeconomic risks. "We believe that the economic convergence of the region should continue," says Laszlo Bencsik, chief financial officer. "Unit labour costs are still about 35% lower in central and eastern Europe than in western Europe. This difference will keep on fuelling investment and economic growth."

Bencsik adds that he does not foresee a dramatic change in the banking landscape despite the financial crisis. "We do not expect huge changes in the market structure: assets of multinational banks have reached 80% of banking assets in central and eastern Europe. They are either well-capitalized or have access to fresh capital. Maybe some will shift strategies – or those that received government equity support might be forced to change strategy – and even exit the region. However, most of them will probably stay as the region remains strategically attractive."

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