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Privatbank and Aval Bank have long been battling it out for dominance of Ukraine's banking sector, and it appears Privatbank has edged ahead in the past 12 months. It overtook its rival to become the biggest bank by assets. It also has the largest loan portfolio in the banking sector, with Hrn1 billion ($198 million) more loans than Aval. And it came top in the sector in terms of net profit, with an annual net income of Hrn164 million. Aval Bank says it only made Hrn18 million, though some analysts doubt if this is realistic.
Privatbank has pushed ahead through aggressive marketing in the corporate loan market, to the chagrin of some of its competitors. But it has also succeeded in building up a large branch network and winning over the trust of retail customers. It will have a tough time competing with Aval Bank if the latter is bought by Raiffeisen International, however, as looks likely. The Privat financial group, which owns Privatbank, might have to clean the bank up and look for a foreign partner of its own if it wants to maintain dominance.