A fierce race for small-scale victories
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A fierce race for small-scale victories

The Croatian banking market is small and the experience of foreign investors in it has so far not been entirely happy. Nevertheless some foreign banks – notably from Austria, Germany and Italy – see it as crucial to their growth and a core part of their regional strategy.

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One man's trash is another man's treasure. The old adage is as true in banking as anywhere, and seldom more so than in the case of Croatia's Rijecka banka.

Earlier this spring, Bayerische Landesbank Girozentrale handed back its almost 60% stake in Croatia's third-largest lender to the Croatian government for a nominal sum after discovering that a rogue foreign exchange trader had left a near $100 million hole in the bank. After two years and an investment of tens of millions of euros, executives of Germany's second-largest state-owned bank decided to beat a hasty retreat from the Croatian market.

BayernLB's decision to cut and run left some wondering about the magnitude of the problems at Rijecka - and in the parent bank's home market - but the scandal and its aftermath failed to dampen the interest of other potential investors.

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