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Erste Bank: retail leader by organic growth

Erste Bank sets its sights on large local corporates, a less coveted market for regional expansion, but one that could prove to have greater potential.

Wenceslas looks out on a country full
of foreign banks

Although large local corporates have commanded the attentions of most western banks, Austria's Erste Bank is aiming its regional expansion at a less coveted market, but one it believes may have greater potential. By targeting consumers of retail banking services, Erste Bank is playing to its core strengths while developing a distribution network that is among the largest in the region.

Almost immediately following its formation some four years ago when Erste Bank and GiroCredit Bank merged to form Austria's second-biggest bank, Erste Bank has aggressively built up operational size and scale in central and eastern Europe.

And despite the fact that Erste Bank was not among the early entrants - such as domestic competitors RZB and Bank Austria/Creditanstalt - the retail focus has enabled it to do so largely in a vacuum.

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