Emerging Europe: Bank chiefs face up to the risks of tighter regulation
Regulators are addressing the shortcomings that created so much damage in the global banking system. Sudip Roy assesses what impact the reforms will have on central and eastern Europe, which suffered more than any other emerging region in the crisis.
HERBERT STEPIC, CHIEF executive of Raiffeisen International, sums up the frustration felt by many senior bankers about the likely effects on his firm of a more intense regulatory environment. "I’m engaging a large number of employees only for regulatory issues," he says with a sigh. "We have been bombarded with regulatory issues over the past year." For Stepic the stiffer requirements on capital, liquidity and general reporting that international and national bodies are placing on banks are proving onerous. The RZB Group, of which Raiffeisen is a subsidiary, produces more than 60,000 pages of reporting on a yearly basis as it is. Who knows how many more trees will have to be felled as regulation becomes more stringent for banks. No wonder Raiffeisen is on a hiring spree – for administrative personnel.
"We’ve had to increase our back-office staff, which is not what an institution should do normally. But we have to do it because that’s what regulators are requiring," he says, adding: "For us it’s a relatively large amount because we’ve had to hire in Vienna [Raiffeisen’s hub] and in all of the 15 countries where we have banks.