Banca Comerciala Romana Best investment bank
Most improved bank
Banca Comerciala Romana continues to dominate an increasingly competitive Romanian banking market. It has a 29% share of total assets. In the past year, its deposits grew by 20%, while its leasing unit grew by 60% in 2003. It is also developing a consumer finance business.
In January, it launched a $200 million syndicated loan, which was the first international loan launched by a Romanian financial institution. The issue was helped by a ratings upgrade from Standard & Poor?s before launch, from B to B+.
Towards the end of 2003, the Romanian government finally took some steps forward with the privatization of BCR, selling a 25% stake to the European Investment Bank and International Finance Corporation. Privatization of the bank has become a priority after the IMF made it a condition of lending, and the EU also signalled that it expected more progress in banking privatization. Another 25% stake of BCR is expected to be sold to a private investor this year. A strong investor would put BCR in a good position to maintain its leadership of the market in the run-up to EU accession.