Everybody wants to be in retail
Euromoney, is part of the Delinian Group, Delinian Limited, 4 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8AX, Registered in England & Wales, Company number 00954730
Copyright © Delinian Limited and its affiliated companies 2024
Accessibility | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Modern Slavery Statement

Everybody wants to be in retail

Poorly served under the communists, ignored in the nineties' frenzy of corporate activity, he's suddenly being courted by bankers across central and eastern Europe. Hail the consumer. James Rutter on the rise of the retail client.

For many banks in central and eastern Europe the corporate client is no longer king. Increasing competition and decreasing margins mean that corporate banking has lost its lustre. The traditional corporate client is being usurped by a new breed of customer, one that has been quietly growing for a number of years, nurtured by the expanding range of shops and boutiques in downtown Warsaw and Prague. Banks are calling this new client "the consumer"; and consumer retail banking is suddenly a business that everyone wants to be in.

Banks that traditionally have focused solely on corporate or investment banking activities are re-defining themselves as mass market, consumer retail banks. In Poland, Bank Slaski is already some way towards achieving the transformation, helped by the investment and know-how of ING.

When the Dutch bank became majority shareholder in 1996 it realized that the corporate market, where Slaski had traditionally focused, was too crowded. "We decided it would be too risky to focus solely on corporate banking," says Bank Slaski first executive vice-president, Ludo Wyngaarden. Since then, the bank has invested more than $100 million on its retail banking project, boosting its market share from 5% to 6.7%

Gift this article